The Green Bay Packers loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday was not nearly as disappointing as the playoff loss to Arizona last year, but it did leave a similar pit in my stomach. The Packers had the game at 10-0, with the ball, under 4 minutes and failed to convert. Then they kicked the worst damn punt possible, a low, short, line drive to Hester, who returned it to midfield.
Up to this point the Bears had done nothing since their first drive, a decent punt could have put the Bears at their 20 or worse and ensured a 10-0 halftime lead. With the Packers getting the ball first in the second half they could have put the game away with either a first down on that possession or an average punt.
Instead, with good field position Cutler made a great throw, one of the only good throws he had in the first half, and the Bears were in business cutting the lead to 10-7. In the second half penalties mounted, coupled with freak plays. I repeat FREAK plays. Blocked field goals, punt returns, and a really odd bounce on James Jones fumble all contributed to the loss.
Give the Bears credit, they did enough to give themselves a chance at the end. But the Packers lost this game. The penalties were frustrating, but warranted. The fumble was a bad play by James Jones, get the ball into the sideline hand. The clock management/poor challenge added to the frustration.
All of this could be solved with one thing. AN AVERAGE NFL RUNNING BACK. With an average running back the pass rushers can not come full bore at the quarterback which would help out the offensive line and prevent the holding. A running back would take a lot off of Rodgers shoulders. A running back would take Chicago out of the cover 2 which should open it up for some big plays. A running back makes the spread, not the receivers.
The Packers have the worst running back group I have ever seen. Yes, they did lose Ryan Grant but the best RB left is John Kuhn who is a fullback that was once cut. Pathetic. Brandon Jackson sucks, when he runs the ball he finds tacklers. Whatever the opposite of elusiveness is, Brandon Jackson has it.
The Packers will still win 10-12 games but they will NOT win a Super Bowl without an upgrade. Everybody talks about getting Marshawn Lynch, and I would be in favor of that, but what about some other possibilities. Send out a feeler for Jonathan Stewart from Carolina, maybe James Jones and a 2nd or 3rd. The Packers need to be proactive and get something, NOW.
Another so-so week last week, 8-8, 27-17-4 for the year.
Denver @ Tennessee -6.5 – Not sure why but I think this will be a crazy week. Denver stuck around for a while with Indy. If Denver can get a lead this will be a good game.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh -1.5 – The Steelers cannot beat three playoff teams without their starting QB. It cannot happen. Nope.
Cincinnati -3 @ Cleveland - The Browns are feisty, not very good, but feisty. They do play hard for Mangini and almost upset the Ravens last week.
Detroit @ Green Bay -14 – I hate this pick, I could see Green Bay coming out flat. Also, it is a Milwaukee game and the Milwaukee fans can get really quiet if it is not a big game.
Carolina @ New Orleans -13.5 – Carolina really stinks.
San Francisco @ Atlanta -7 – The 49ers will still win that pathetic division and it will start here. They may not win this game but this will be a battle.
Seattle -1@ St Louis – This is a last second field goal game and I am not prepared to listen to how great Sam Bradford is if they win this game. Please win Seahawks.
NY Jets -5.5 @ Buffalo - Just a hunch that this will be close. The Jets have had three big games already, maybe the Bills can make this interesting.
Indianapolis -7 @ Jacksonville - The Jags are dead.
Houston -3@ Oakland
Arizona @ San Diego -8 – The Chargers do not get the benefit of having a team travel cross country here. Arizona is used to the time zone and climate.
Washington@ Philadelphia -6.5 – McNabb will play well and this will be tight.
Chicago@ NY Giants -4 – I do not get this at all. How are the Giants favored by more than 4? They have only beaten a bad Carolina team while the Bears have beaten the Cowboys and Packers.
New England -1 @ Miami – I have no feel for this one. I know the Pats struggle down in Miami but I am sick of picking the Dolphins in primetime, that offense is hard on the eyes.