Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Game 5, Packers - Cowboys

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Missed field goal: I was seriously re-living Seattle onside kick nightmares in my head as the Dallas field goal kicker lined up for a chip shot field goal. What a relief!

Making up for Davante: All during the week leading up to the Cowboys game I kept hearing how the other receivers would need to step up to compensate for Adam's offense. When someone would ask  how the Packers would deal with that issue, I would answer that I hope they are smart enough to throw to the running backs more. Luckily, they were - a total of 12 RB receptions for 102 yards. Keep those chains moving!

Tight Ends: The other way to help compensate for Adams' absence was to make better use of the tight ends. Jimmy Graham had a productive day and as usual in LaFleur's offense, they all had a busy day blocking, as well. One of the best things LaFleur has done is simply make use of the blocking weapon the team has in Marcedes Lewis, a player that Mike McCarthy inexplicably relegated to a spectator role. This game was chock full of tight-end blocking, and it's no coincidence that Aaron Jones had the day he had. Here's a play that is yet one more variation of their outside zone run, but in this case is actually play action. Lewis comes across the line as if to seal off the back side pursuit on the zone run, but instead, ends up in pass protection, picking up Demarcus Lawrence who Robert Tonyan chipped and then let go as he released into a pass pattern. Lewis fights him off and uses Lawrence's own momentum to guide him to the ground, letting Rodgers escape with just enough time to make a sick pass to Big Bob Tonyan. Beautiful all around.

Goal line offense: Things have been so bad from the one yard line for the Packers, I actually found myself wishing for a blast from the past from McCarthy's offense and something I had always railed against in the past - the fullback dive! Hey, at least now it wouldn't be expected.

Bounce backs: Huge bounce backs this week from the groups most responsible for the loss to the Eagles - the offensive line and the defensive front-seven. The Eagles game gave me some real concerns about those two units, so I'm thrilled to see how quickly they rebounded with outstanding performances against the Cowboys.

Bye-Bye: Is it just me or was anyone else shocked that a ref from the No Fun League didn't throw a flag for taunting on the play below? 

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (54)

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NickPerry's picture

October 09, 2019 at 05:21 am

Hey Al... This is Nick Perry... I CAN'T get logged in under the same user name (Nick Perry) and password I've been using for the last 10 years...Can you help me out here on what to do? I'm not even sure what the email address was when I set this up but I have an idea it's one of two..I hope.

Anyways can you PLEASE fix this?

It tells me "the name Nick Perry is not allowed"........OUCH!

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NickPerry's picture

October 09, 2019 at 05:35 am

AL... I also sent an email to you guys...Thanks.

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JerseyAl's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:20 am

Try it now. the email you used starts with hof....

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:35 am

Nick -

Maybe try clearing your cookies.
I was having issues with mine. I have struggled to post anything the last few days. I cleared my cookies an it has worked since.

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Spock's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:51 am

RC, The problem could be that Dobber has been hoarding all the cookies '61 has been giving him, lol.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:52 am

Nom! Nom! Nom!!!

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ricky's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:57 am

Apparently the name is on IR.

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Lphill's picture

October 09, 2019 at 05:33 am

I was surprised at Jones that he taunted at all , teams don’t forget , that’s not the Packer way. I think the goal line offense needs a heavy package , extra blocker and use Vitale more like the old John Kuhn days.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:55 am

You mean like 2014 when Kuhn & Lacy-behind Kuhn were unable to punch it in vs Seattle in the NFC Championship game, costing us 4 + 4 points early, settling for field goals?

We always suck on short yardage for various reasons. Lacy was s'posed to be the power back that helped cure it.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:40 pm

Attack the redzone faster and have a WR capable of catching the fade. Just short on talent on the offense. Try Shepherd. Allison gets extension from the 10 yard line scheme but he and MVS do not have the fast feet to turn a CB for the instant separation.

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Spock's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:00 am

I, too, was surprised that the refs didn't call it (although I thought it was hilarious). On Packers news.com they showed a video from Jones twin brother in the stands during that play. His bro not only videoed the play but caught the football (THAT'S why Aaron threw it into the stands) that Jones tossed to him in the stands after the TD. That was cool to know!

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rdent's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Those days are gone, get over it, lol.

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marpag1's picture

October 09, 2019 at 06:12 am

I was stunned that they didn't throw a taunting flag on Jones, and I'll be utterly flabbergasted if he doesn't get a fine from the NFL office during the week.

That said, I also laughed my ass off, and I did again now while looking at the replay.

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Turophile's picture

October 09, 2019 at 06:43 am

I didn't think the wave by Jones was that bad. If another team's player had done it to the Packers, which is often the litmus test, it wouldn't have been a big deal (not to me anyway). I save my anger for things like the Barnett hit on Jamaal last week.

The Packers O line (Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Linsley, Turner, Bulaga) and main backups (Patrick, Light, and maybe Taylor when fit) are a real high quality unit. Turner might be a slightly weak link, but even he is a solid run blocker. As a whole, it is a stellar group that costs a fraction of what some teams pay to get a good unit (I'm looking at you Cowboys). That is quite something to achieve when good O linemen are in such high demand. I've done a 180 degree turnabout on Bulaga - I was for letting him go when his contract expires after 2019, now I'm all for keeping him for another 3 years if they can come to a deal - his current play demands it.

As I posted elsewhere, when you can applaud guys like Sullivan, Redmond, Patrick (and maybe M.Adams too as the defense was much improved against the run), then your team has DEPTH, and given how often the Packers seem to have injury problems, that is a very good thing.

PS. If you can't get in from the 1yd line.................a direct snap to Vitale should do the job (credit the Nagler chat for this comment).

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PeteK's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:22 am

Bulaga is too injury prone to keep. We probably should of drafted his replacement this year.

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JerseyAl's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:25 am

No one is saying the wave was that bad, just that it's the type of stupid thing the league likes to worry about, instead of things like the Barnett hit on Williams. THAT was ok!!!

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murf7777's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:16 am

About stopping the run....I’d love to agree with you, but the reality is Dallas abandoned the run due to being down 28 points. They had over twice as many pass vs run plays. In addition, they averaged over 5yards per carry. Unfortunately, that won’t due it unless we keep winning the TO’s. I noticed we brought in 3 big boys this week for tryout, I think Gutey knows we need to fix it and hopefully finds the cure.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:08 am

Missed field goal:
I just laughed... And laughed and laughed. :)

Making up for Davante:
I felt Jones would have a bigger game as a receiver, but honestly I thought Kumerow or Shepherd or Lazard might have a bigger role in the offense.
Sometimes when an injury occurs to a star player it can become a good thing. As it sometimes allows other players to step up and it allows the coaches to find a new approach. This one was to use the RB's a lot more in the passing game. And they found out how good Jones can really be.

Tight Ends:
The past couple of games it really feels like they are finding a way to get the TE's more involved in the passing game. Especially in the short yardage areas. Graham seems to be getting a little more involved as well. Graham had 3 receptions the first 3 games. He has had 9 the last 2. Lewis had 3 receptions the first 3 games. He has had 4 the last 2. Had Tonyan not gotten hurt I feel like he would have been used more against the Cowboys.

Goal line offense:
In this last game I didn't like the play selection on the first and goal at the one. I think LaFleur got caught up in listening to the critics a bit. They ran the ball well getting down there. To get to the 1 they had 2 runs in a row. First down would have been a perfect spot to run play action pass. Instead they ran it got stuffed, and second down they tried running the 2 man route play action pass. 3rd down was the incomplete pass which it got deflected.
I just felt on first down, run the play action pass, and if it doesn't work come back to the run on 2nd down.

Bounce backs:
I was curious to see how a LaFleur led team would respond after their first loss on the season. Have to admit it was pretty good.

Bye-Bye:
Not going to lie, when I saw this topic I was assuming it was referring to the Packers next 2 opponents. Both of which are coming off of Bye's.
With how bad the refs were in this game, I'm surprised but not shocked that they missed this one.

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PeteK's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:50 am

I was biting my nails till they bleed during the last 20 min of this game.

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Spock's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:10 am

I was pleasantly surprised at how well T. Carson did at RB after being activated from the practice squad. He has some nice runs, too. A couple of times I didn't realize it was him and not Jones until the announcers said he was the runner. Good job by Gute to bring the right RB in (doesn't sound like Dexter "gets it" and is way behind in learning his assignments). Carson did some nice pass protection as well.

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Old School's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:51 am

I liked Carson in the pre-season. You can't just line up Jones on every play.....give the guy a breather, and put a fresh body in there to give the defense a different look.

I think Dexter's time will come, maybe this year. Remember, Aaron Jones didn't get time initially in part because they felt Williams was more reliable, especially in pass protection. No running back is going to see the field for Green Bay unless the coaches are confident they'll stop somebody from killing Aaron Rodgers. Priority#1.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:47 pm

Carson is a Pro.

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:25 am

Given the officiating in the game, I am not at all surprised the refs missed the "bye-bye wave". The most poorly officiated game I have watched in a while. Loved the wave though...…:)

Big props for the defense which held the Cowboy offense in check in the first half. You aren't going to keep that much talent bottled up for ever, but they did a great job for the first two quarters which allowed the Pack to jump out to a big lead. That lead took EE out of the game and made Dallas have to play catch-up. This was a balanced victory with both units contributing. Hopefully a sign of things to come.

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greengold's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:44 am

I have to say, the PHI game was as badly officiated, if not worse. I'll go with worse...

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PeteK's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:46 am

Great win ! However, it was a bit tarnished by our inability to prevent the big plays and our offense disappearing in the second half. We are slowly becoming well balanced, but so far we have not played a complete game. Both units are improving and it's time to put it all together and beat the Lions who have beaten us the last 4 times.

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Sure Shot's picture

October 09, 2019 at 07:51 am

Goal line offense is something MLF has to work on.
It's perfectly normal that in this new offense he is developing, some areas are still not perfect. But then you have to focus on it.
You can't leave points on the field every time you are facing 1st on goal from inside the 5.
It cost 4 points to settle to a FG and it gives the opposing team momentum to build a comeback.

But I am confident it is something fixable. Hope it will be fixed for January.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:50 pm

Players, not Plays

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packerbackerjim's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:15 am

Goal to go offense: Stick with what works,, I.e., Jones running the ball. As suggested earlier, play action on first down should be effective. My minor criticism of LaFleur is he apparently didn’t learn from the Eagles game.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:46 am

I'm very concerned that the Packers continue to ride Kenny Clark into the ground and opponents consistently double team him. They've got to find ways to get him rest or he'll be a shell of himself at the end of the year.

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Guam's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:54 am

I think we all feel that way Dobber. As murf7777 noted, Gute seems to be aware of it too as the Packers brought in three D-linemen for try outs this week. Hopefully we can find someone to help with the rotation. Right now we have Clark, Adams, a rookie (Keke) and some JAGs. Not sure we can find anyone other than a street free agent JAG right now, but maybe we will get lucky or maybe Lowery returns to form and starts playing better.

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dobber's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:12 am

You're right: for the commitment they made to Lowry this last off-season, we haven't seen much from him.

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GVPacker's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:59 am

I'm in total agreement with you on the Dean lowery isn't getting the job done statement. Would Gute be open to a Muhammad Wilkerson return?

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splitpea1's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Probably not. He got busted for DWI in his Roll-Royce in Manhattan a few months ago.

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murf7777's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:16 am

Lowry seemed. To start the year out good then disappeared. Wonder if he has some injury?

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:52 pm

Pad Level.

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greengold's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:47 am

Totally agree robber. I think they sign Mike Pennel this week to help ease some of the load. Thought Fitzpatrick would pick up more slack... wonder now if they just release him?

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Turophile's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:34 am

Yeah, too many snaps for a big guy. It needs someone better than Lancaster is at this time to sub Clark out more. It helps that Montravius Adams is back, but he is more of a DE substitute for Mike Daniels.

Over time it won't hurt if Kingsley Keke can step up. If he can handle 20+ snaps at Montravius's DE spot, then Montravius Adams can slide over to NT sometimes, as a better alternative to Lancaster backing up Clark. Lowry has to stay where he is, he cannot handle NT.

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PeteK's picture

October 09, 2019 at 01:17 pm

I fully agree. The defense as a whole is on the field too long, especially in the second half of games. We're 9 in the league in number of offensive plays.

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Red Right 49's picture

October 09, 2019 at 08:55 am

Blocking and chipping by the TEs and, Marcedes Lewis on field as a blocker / receiver pays yardage dividends.

Look forward to a short yardage and goal situation with a " jumbo / hippo package " opening a lane for a runner, particularly in the inclement weather games.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 09, 2019 at 09:48 am

One thing about A. Jones I haven’t seen people mentioning is his strength in the upper body. I think of his speed/vision/cutting ability, but I saw at least two major league stiff arms on linebackers that put them on their butts. These were not small men that he pushed aside. Also, I saw at least one or two goal line plays this weekend in other games where the back launched over the pile. This used to be a thing. I would think that AJ would be perfect for that call. Is there a reason that play has fallen out of favor?

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:02 am

I'd say the offensive unit absolutely learned from the Eagles game, to the point that they changed their blocking scheme and point if attack in the run game. That's not a small adjustment to make in season, especially when you have a new center coming in.

The goal line offense remains a work in progress, but after this last week, teams will definitely be forced to respect the threat of the run. Even if they have to try some different personnel groupings, if the Packers can figure out a way to consistently pound the ball in on the ground from goal to go it is going to pay huge dividends, as it is going to open up passing options and the occasional QB keeper

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splitpea1's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:58 am

I don't see a problem with sneaks, dives, or leaps at the goal line--you have to try something like that at least once, don't you? Anything is better than a low percentage or dangerous pass that involves AR scrambling around wildly to no avail.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:19 am

If you can get your OL blocking right, the QB "sneak" can be an extremely effective goal line or 3rd/4th and inches type play. There's a reason the Patriots have relied on it for so long - if you can get it right, it works even if the other team knows it's coming. It's a 100% execution and force of will type play.

I am not big on dives, given the higher injury risk and how easy it is to punch the ball out. The thought of Rodgers diving and then getting injured a la Wentz just makes my blood run cold. I think you could put a big TE in the backfield as a FB and then have them make the dive, though.

If GB can keep working on that inside/trap type blocking from the TE group, I think running at the goal line could become nearly automatic with either Jones or Vitale.

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packerbackerjim's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Rodgers is notoriously bad at the QB sneak with much better offensive lines than currently. I cannot remember anytime he converted to a first down or TD. This is a recipe for disaster.

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splitpea1's picture

October 09, 2019 at 01:47 pm

Maybe he needs to practice it more; provided the blocking is adequate, all he has to do is grasp the ball, secure it tightly, and burrow behind the best block. Are Brady and Patriots' linemen THAT much head and shoulders above the AR and the Packers that they can succeed where we can't even try?

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 09, 2019 at 10:00 pm

It's in his Contract--no sneaks. No concussions. No neck sprains or worse. Risk Averse. That's why they invented Fullbacks and powerbacks and triple TE y-stacks and guard play....

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splitpea1's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:24 pm

"Execution and force of will..."--keeps things simple, doesn't it?

No, we don't need to see AR doing any diving; but anybody else...hey, there's a risk of injury on every play.

Not that the Packers' coaching staff is listening to me, but I've been screaming for them to use some kind of jumbo package--or at least run a fake off of it-- if a good opportunity presents itself. There simply HAS to be an easier way to get that one yard.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:02 am

My favorite play of the day was the TE screen to Mercedes Lewis for 15 or so yards. He came across the formation as if to block just like on many other plays. The D-end rushes pass which leaves him wide open with 2 O -lineman coming to block. Easy pass and catch with plenty of open field. It was so f-ing beautiful.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:03 am

Players already coached up this week during film review:

1. Coach Sirmans to AJ: “Don’t ever do that again. You risked your TD with that taunt.”

2. Coach Whitted to Alexander: “Next time make the tackle, son. Tackle first...punch the ball second.”

3. Coach Smith to Z: “You are our leader, Z. Tough as shoe leather...but the hands to the face is going to end, right?”

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:16 pm

I actually hope Jones gets a fine for the waving stunt - the officials missed it last week, but they won't miss it next time, and he could have ended up giving Dallas great field position for their next drive.

Alexander is usually an island, but he needed more help than he was getting last week. Trying to force the splash play tells me he was getting desperate.

The hands to the face is unfortunate because it automatically extends drives. I get that the defense was getting gassed from being on the field so long, but execution has to improve, even if the defense is trying to play prevent and force the opposing team to burn clock.

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Packer Fan's picture

October 09, 2019 at 11:57 am

I see that the Pack is tops in the NFL for QB pressures. And the results are showing with turnovers and wins.

I see that LaFleur system is starting to work. Like the variations to the FB wheel route.

I see that Rodgers big game is the one we lost and the worse statistical games are the ones we won.

I sees that Rodgers starting to use the RB's as targets. And when Jones can make 16 missed tackles, it bodes well for the Pack.

I see a totally different atmosphere in the players. Especially with the two Smith's.

I see that different players step up and play a big role. And yes, some players have bad days and we still win.

I see that the offense moves well with Adams on the sidelines. Which is good, for there will be teams who will take Adams out of the game and we need to look at other players to step up.

I see the Packers at 4-1 and who would have that was possible? I like what is happening.

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Old School's picture

October 09, 2019 at 12:04 pm

4-1 is pretty good, especially with our next two games at home against teams we should be good enough to beat. We've beat three teams that have winning records already, including 2-0 on the road. This is good.

The offense started like a train leaving the station.....slowly.....but it looks like it's gathering steam. 100 yard rushing days, 400 yard passing days, ...we've scored 27, 27, and 34 in our last three games. This should be enough to win if you have a decent defense.

The defense is improved, but it's still not a Top 5 defense. Were 8th in scoring defense and 10th in yards, 9th in first downs allowed, 4th in opposing QB rating, really good at takeaways.... the trouble is that the numbers don't really show our defense as better than the Bears or Vikings at this point. This is going to be a tough division race....I don't see many weaklings on our schedule.

If this defense can stay healthy, and if we can keep Rodgers healthy, we have a very good chance to win this division but we still have to hold at home against Chicago and win in Minnesota. I think it's more important to be healthy and win those games in December than it is to win now against the Raiduhs.

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Barazinho's picture

October 10, 2019 at 11:21 am

Hey Al,
Great addition with the links to the commenter posts on the profile page! (and opening those links in a new window) It's much easier to go back and see replies etc now.

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JerseyAl's picture

October 10, 2019 at 06:09 pm

Thanks - we're always looking to improve the user experience.

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