May. 30, 2016
Packers Week 13 Preview
Well, the drama can hold off for at least a little while. The mass population does not seem to realize that the Packers are still very much alive in the NFC North race, being 2-1 already, and having a game at home against Minnesota the second to last week and a road game in Detroit that may be for the division title. The Packers are only one game behind Minnesota, and a win over the Vikings week 16 will give the Packers the edge over the Vikings. A win over Detroit and one more loss by the Vikings will give the Packers the edge over the Lions, as they would be 2-0. Detroit has games left at New Orleans, at New York Giants, and at Dallas, so they are more than likely to lose once in that threesome. Also, the Packers have the wild card edge over the New York Giants.
So, it's not over, and it's not close anymore. Had the Packers lost and become three games behind Detroit and two behind Minnesota, it would be, but they didn't, and now they have a home game against the offensively challenged Houston Texans. Luckily for the Packers, the rest of the schedule, outside of (somewhat) Detroit and Seattle, is offensively challenged. The Packers lose games because of bad defense, not the offense. According to the numbers, Aaron Rodgers' stats the last seven games put him on pace (over 16 games) for a 68% completion percentage, a 103.5 QBR, 5,000 yards, 41TD and only 8 or 9 interceptions. The Packers lost five of those games, therefore the defense needs a lot of work and needs to play with a lead to have a better chance.
Against Philadelphia, the Packers looked like their old selves, playing with an early lead, getting pressure on the opposing quarterback, and having a lead throughout the game. It reminded me of the old days. Against Houston's anemic offense, and with the benefit of Lambeau Field, the defense should be able to repeat that performance. However, Houston's defense is their strength, and the game will be decided when the Packers have the ball. There are a lot of banged up players on Houston's defense, plus star JJ Watt is out for the year, but Houston's defense is filled with talent. Houston's defensive injuries are included but not limited to DE Jadaveon Clowney, CB Jonathan Joseph, ILB Brian Cushing and NT Vince Wilfork. OLB Whitney Mercilus is the only healthy stud on this defense, so the Packers should have some help there. The offense is no better, since every running back on the roster is dealing with something, WR Jaelen Strong is out and TE CJ Fiedorowicz is questionable. Not that it matters, as this is one of the many teams in the NFL with a terrible passing game.
The Packers are also banged up, and C JC Tretter will be out again. G TJ Lang is questionable, but knowing how the Packers operate, he will be out too. So will CB Demetri Goodson, and probably both starting ILB's. Aaron Rodgers also has shown up on the injury list, but unless he is declared out already, he will be in there. So will OLB Clay Matthews, and CB Damarious Randall played last week and should play this week. CB LaDarius Gunter is also probably going to play.
I think this is the second most winnable game left on the schedule for the Packers, since Houston has been struggling lately and has shown no offensive life in the past three or so weeks. Plus, the offensive line for the Packers looked solid, the receiving corp now has a star in Davante Adams and a return of Jared Cook, and a newcomer in Christine Michael who should be ready to play more. I like the Packers over Houston in a similar score from Monday, so I'll go with: Green Bay 28, Houston 14