Packers Daily Links: Upcoming Giants Game Ultra-Important

The Packers can still make the playoffs without beating the Giants, but the path becomes more difficult. That and more in today's Daily Links...

The playoff picture is scrutinized by  Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He points out the importance of the upcoming game against the New York Giants. "Because Philadelphia and New York still have to play, the best one of them could finish is 11-5," writes Silverstein. "The only way the Packers could be held out of a wildcard spot with an 11-5 record is if they lose to the New York Giants. " Other scenarios are looked at as well, including what it would take to win the NFC North. If you're confused at all about the Packers' chances to make the playoffs, give it a read.

If you're not worried about simply qualifying for the playoffs and have your sights set on a bye, Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at a hypothetical situation. "If the Packers (8-4) win their final four games, including the season finale against the first-place Chicago Bears (9-3) at Lambeau Field, they will capture the NFC North championship," writes Vandermause. "In addition, the Packers would claim the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye because they own a head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Philadelphia (8-4)." After watching last night's Monday Night Football game, it doesn't appear as if it's going to be easy to go into New England and come away with a win.

Running back James Starks played 23 snaps counted Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "But only four of his snaps were pass plays, and he wasn’t tested in the ultra-important area of blitz pickup on any of them," writes Demovsky. "One other time he was in the backfield but another back, John Kuhn, got the ball on a fullback dive." It became obvious that when Starks was in the game, the Packers were running the ball. Now that other teams know that, Starks has to become more versatile and be able to play more on passing plays.

According to the coaches, Starks has the ability to be a more well-rounded running back. "Starks ran mostly out of two- and three-back sets, but [runnning backs coach Edgar] Bennett said he could play in any of the Packers' formations. [Head coach Mike] McCarthy said Starks had receiving skills and could catch the ball coming out of the backfield." Only five days remain to get Starks ready for passing situations when the Packers travel to Detroit.

With Cullen Jenkins likely to miss the Lions game, the Packers are now left considering their options. “We’ve certainly had a lot of different combinations. We played there for a stretch with C.J. Wilson, who’s played a lot for us. Jarius Wynn is another option,” Capers told Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “And we’ve got three big guys with B.J. (Raji) and Ryan Pickett and Howard Green. Those I think will be our combinations.” Wilson has gotten the nod on the 45-man active gameday roster ahead of Wynn for several consecutive weeks, but Wynn is likely to be active on Sunday with Jenkins out.

The decline in production from Clay Matthews is noted by Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. "There has been a growing concern regarding linebacker Clay Matthews and the status of his sore shin. Matthews ranks No. 2 in the NFL with 11.5 sacks but has been shut out the last two games," writes Copeland. "He opened the season with 8.5 sacks in the first five games, including three sacks apiece in the first two." Head coach Mike McCarthy insisted he played well and graded out well, but when will the sacks come back?

An improvement in sacks given up is a positive. "[Aaron] Rodgers has been sacked 25 times in 12 games this season (2.08 per game) after being sacked 55 times in 17 games (3.23) in '09," writes Gary D'Amato. Huge difference from a year ago. Credit both the offensive line and Aaron Rodgers for getting rid of the ball a little better.

Film review is conducted by Cliff Christl and Eric Baranczyk for the Press-Gazette, and they take a look at the run blocking.
"The Packers got good blocking on the right side against what had been a good run defense," according to the article. "At times, Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga drove guys off the ball. They really took it to the 49ers. Scott Wells doesn’t overpower anyone, but he’s so good at turning his hips and shielding defenders from the play. What you have to wonder about with Chicago and the New York Giants coming up is whether the Packers are going to be able to run only to the right side. That could be a problem."

Game balls given away by the coaching staff are documented by Bill Huber of Packer Report. "Game balls went to Rodgers (offense), Jenkins (defense), Diyral Briggs (special teams) and Quinn Johnson (big hit)," writes Huber. "It also was a Victory Monday, meaning the players were given the day off." Briggs has not been active much this season. Perhaps his performance will change that.

You can buy the game-used throwback jerseys and helmets. Unlaundered!

A Ron Wolf story appears in the Press-Gazette.

The police blotter is checked by BrentFavre.com.

The Packers' draft strategy is looked at by Thomas Hobbes at JerseyAl.com.

The Packer Ranter checks in from Lambeau Field.

John Rehor of Green Bay Packer Nation shares an encounter with a Bears fan.

Bitter Border Battle was impressed  by the Packers' run game.

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Comments (44)

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Chad Toporski's picture

December 07, 2010 at 08:33 am

I actually think the Giants game will be more difficult than the Patriots game. One will be an offensive shoot-out, the other will be a defensive showdown.

Let's hope the Pack can get some revenge for the NFC Championship Game.

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PackersThad's picture

December 07, 2010 at 08:44 am

You'd think that Colledge would play better in a contract year and a season after Colledge felt "disrespected" with the offer he received. But he still is a liability. I would love for one of our 2nd or 3rd round picks to be a college LT that isn't agile enough to play LT at the pro level and moves inside to LG for next year.

I think if Wells is bracketed by two really good guards, his play will improve as well.

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jeremy's picture

December 07, 2010 at 09:04 am

Agreed, I think maybe the Packers are letting Spitz heal completely so he can take the LG spot next year and Colledge can go feel disrespected and play inconstantly somewhere else. Most of the times when it appears Colledge has made a good play to get to the second level, it's because Wells has done such a good job blocking the DT that he get's an early release. Only about half the time when he get's there does he make another block.

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jay's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:44 pm

This is why I'm looking very hard at someone like Orlando Franklin from Miami, a 6'6" 318 OL who's spent most of his time at guard. Apparently he's a really good run blocker.

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Jersey Al's picture

December 07, 2010 at 09:02 am

Giants match up well with the Packers, so they concern me a bit, too. They're a cold-weather-hardened version of the Falcons.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 10:53 am

You people are too close to the New York midia and the New York hype to see clearly.

The Giants are an average team, that we'll beat to death. Their running game is overhyped, their passing game is incredibly overhyped, and all they have on their D is the front 4. Their secondary is weak.

The Patriots, on the other hand... Their D isn't as solid as they showed last night, they're very beatable.

But Brady is playing at such a high level, and that OL is playing at such a good level, that their offense will score more than 25 points against any D.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

December 07, 2010 at 11:21 am

I know you're a fan, RS, but come on. You've heard of the term "Any Given Sunday," right? The Packers can't afford to assume they're going to "beat to death" the Lions let alone a team with twice as many wins as they have losses.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 11:36 am

Any given sunday is implied.
I'm calling as I see it. I honestly think that the Giants, despite all their wins, are extremely overhyped, as are the Jets, and the Bears.

Why discuss strenghts and weakness, matchups, if in the end all that is negated by "any given sunday"?

Of course the players can't take anything for granted.

But we're fans.

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WoodyG's picture

December 07, 2010 at 02:36 pm

NY teams have always been over-hyped ...... Both Eli M. & Sanchez are elevated as QBs only because of media over coverage & catering to their readers .....

Eli Manning has thrown 17 picks so far & has lost 5 fumbles & has a season QB rating of 88.6 ..... Yet the NY based media paint him as a top QB .....

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Andrew's picture

December 07, 2010 at 06:20 pm

I've had the great misfortune of being sick in bed today and have been studying the schedules of the teams we should be concerned about, both backward and forward. Here are some conclusions for you to laugh at:

there is no evidence that the Giants are a very good team. They have not beaten anybody good. They will lose at least two games over the next four.

The Eagles are better than the Giants, but will also lose two games.

I'm very happy to root for two teams I hate over the next few weeks: Minnesota and Dallas. They can and will do us great favors because we did them the favor of canning their coaches. To thank us they will defeat Philadelphia and NY.

Also, this weekend probably will be very delicious to all of us. Can Chicago beat NE? Sure. So can Cleveland. But will they? Doubt it.

Dallas will beat PH and MN will beat NY. We'll beat Detroit and have one game over both NY and PH.

We'll probably lose to NE and then, oh dear, either NY or Ph must lose. How very sad. One of them will have six losses, the other five. Ph will probably beat NY.

Then we'll finish them off the next week. All we'll have left to worry about is Ph and Ch. Chicago, meanwhile may well lose to MN on Monday night football. that would give them 5 losses, tying them with us.

When Chicago loses to the Jets, that will make six losses and when they lose to us they'll hit seven.

Now, Chicago could beat both MN and NY, which would be ok. It would mean they only have four coming into Lambeau and we would have five.

So we'd have to give them their fifth.

But by then the Giants will have at least six and Phil will have at least five (we beat them in head to head), so we'll be in as wild card.

Yes, I'm dismissing TB for this year. They'll lose at least one more game.

Worst case scenario for games we don't play: NY or Ph have to lose at least one more time because they play each other, so even losing to NE we'll beat them both because we'll have beat them both head t head.

Chicago could come into Lambeau on a head of steam with only 3 losses. (Yeah, right. Show me the evidence that they are that good). Fine, they take the division at 12-4 and we're the Wild card at 11-5 (along with NO).

Anyway, if we play Packer football, we're in.

Fear the Truth.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 07, 2010 at 10:27 am

I hate to sound like a coach, but the Detroit game is the most important game on the schedule for the Packers right now. The Packers can afford a loss to New England if they beat the Bears in the finale. Of the remaining games, the Patriot game is the most expendible. The rest are against Division (DET, CHI) and Conference (NYG) opponents. If you look at the tie-breakers below, division record is #2 (after head-to-head) and conference record is #4 (after common opponents). If the Packers drop a division or confernece game the tie-breakers become less favorable. If they look ahead and don't take care of business in Detroit, then their backs will truly be against the wall and they will need help to make the playoffs.

Two Clubs
1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in common games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 11:39 am

The most important game is the Bears'. Then it's the Giants, because of wildcard implications (head-to-head against them and the Eagles, as they play each other and can only end up 11-5. If we win against both, and even if we lose against the Lions, we'll still have the division record advantage, and the heat-to-head).

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 07, 2010 at 11:43 am

Chicago is undefeated in the Division. All other things being equal, if the Packers beat the Bears, but lose to the Lions, then they will lose the second tie-breaker.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:24 pm

That's another way to look at it.
Guess both games are equally important. One for the wildcard, the other for the division.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:54 pm

Probably the #2 seed, which means a week of rest. That would be awesome.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:51 pm

OH. I remember why I thought that that game wasn't as important. MN will beat Chicago.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:52 pm

That's the spirit!

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Tarynfor 12's picture

December 07, 2010 at 11:04 am

We have had trouble with big(size) WR's and NE hasn't any so we should match up well,but what will hurt is the two TE's they have and we have bigger trouble covering them.Man to man on Branch and Welker to be able to contain the damage of Gronc and Hernandez.Downside to man cover,PI's on us as we are in NE and the "can't touch this" Brady.

The Giants NEED to run to get Eli in the game,I'm sure we can do much better than Redskins in that area.

Detroit is more the trap game for us,if we can get by without over using CM3 and Jenkins out,two weeks of rest will make a big difference for the last three for both.

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Tarynfor 12's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Thank God the Packers aren't(I can only hope)sitting around and deciding who to play to win and who not to based on play-off senarios.

Bottom line is every one of these games may be the one that can be looked back at, as the one that kept us out.The Packers control their destiny as does every other team by their play.This is the time in the season where there should never be heard,"we can lose this one as it won't matter"because somebody else can't win their games.

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JerseyCheese's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Lions are no pushover, that's for sure. Their major problem is putting together a complete fourth quarter -- if they've done that they would have a lot more wins. Let's focus on the Lions first, than we'll talk about upcoming teams. Week by week my friends!

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djbonney138's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:26 pm

+1

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Jayme's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:37 pm

We're fans, not players. Yes, the players better be focusing on the Lions, but as fans, who the hell cares? Our preparation for the next game consists of deciding the menu, which jersey we'll wear, and, if we have tickets, how much money we need for beer. Except for cheering loudly and at the proper times, we do next to nothing to impact the game. There is no reason we can't look at whatever game we want.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 02:08 pm

+1

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Franklin Hillside's picture

December 07, 2010 at 03:27 pm

{clapping loudly} Right on, Jayme.

My menu consists of chili this week, and I will grill brats next week...oops, as a fan I can't look ahead to next week's menu. Or can I?

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 02:07 pm

"Their major problem is putting together a complete fourth quarter"

That is the problem of all bad teams in the nfl. They don't play for 60 minutes. The good teams do. That's why the good teams win.

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keeley2's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Don't forgot the Giants are headed to the Humpty Dome this weekend to play the suddenly rejuvenated Viqueens. Whether #4 starts or not, T. Jackson is bound to see considerable playing time and no one has any meaningful tape on him, save for pre-season action. I guess I'm saying you can assume the Giants win that game, but it's far from a lock in my opinion.

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Mike's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:15 pm

No matter how bad statistically NE defense is, we play them in NE. Brady is on another planet right now and that will be tough to go into Foxboro and get a W. NYG on the other hand I agree are a little overhyped, Eli does give alot of opportunities to a defense to make plays, that being said they can run the ball and they are difficult to beat anytime, we will not "beat to death" either of those teams, just too solid of squads they have their. Big game for us in Detriot, I look to see the Pack put together a better effort than last time as they just held on and afterwards everyone in our locker room felt it was a loss with a W at the end. Bigger games though on the horizon for Chicago, with NE and the Jets, still to play, and Chicago has got to be running out of lucky "calls" at the end of games, ie' Suh's hit on Cutler late. Go Pack

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Ryeguy812's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Wasn't Cliff Christl bitching a couple weeks ago about how the Packers couldn't run the ball at all? Now we can only run successfully to the right side and he's bitching again. I know he's paid to make observations, but at some point you have to acknowledge that they are at least making progress.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 02:08 pm

Just taking over Bedard's duties.

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NoWayJose's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Those game-worn throw-backs are BAD ASS! The Driver jersey from that game would look handsome as hell hanging on my rec room wall.

I have never wanted to spend a few thousand dollars so frivolously in my life.

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Andrew's picture

December 07, 2010 at 06:26 pm

+1

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Cole's picture

December 07, 2010 at 12:31 pm

So if the Giants win the division over Philadelphia and we end up tied with Philly for a wild-card spot then we would be in correct?

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pittpackers's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:13 pm

yes, because the packers beat the eagles in week one, therefore holding the tie breaker.

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PkrNboro's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:18 pm

After reading a couple of CHTV articles and posts about future drafts and possible Packer selections, I started thinking about this year's draft and the buzz about who to select in the first round.

At the time it was believed that an OLB, to pair with CM3, was a need of the highest order. The guy thought to be available when the Packers selected was Jerry Hughes. I'd not heard much about him this season and did some digging -- when I checked last week, he had 3 tackles for the season. I'm glad the Packers didn't pick him in hindsight...

There's link here to PFT...
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/07/bill-polian-admits-makin...

...but, and an important "but", take the article with a grain of salt, because it's written by Gregg Rosenthal.

Gregg really doesn't address why Hughes has been a disappointment, other than he has 3 tackles -- has he been injured? no effort? attitude ? smarts/learning the system? over-rated?

Additionally, Gregg states: "He’s usually inactive." Gregg hasn't done his research well, if at all -- I checked the NFL gamebooks and Hughes has been on the game-day roster nine of twelve games this year. How that translates to "usually" inactive is beyond me. More like "seldom" inactive, or "rarely" inactive.

But if you follow PFT, you may have noticed Gregg's journalistic misadventures before. After all, he wrote the article about the backup running back that averaged 600 yards per 100 carries PER GAME...

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PackerAaron's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:26 pm

I actually like Gregg's work for the most part. And I can let something like the "usually inactive" thing slide. He's blogging in real time about a quote on a radio show. He knows that he's seen headlines about Hughes being inactive, so he goes with it. It's not journalism, its blogging. There's a huge difference.

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PkrNboro's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:36 pm

I disagree. Once you've become an offshoot of NBC, you've hit the "big-time" and need to show it...

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PackerAaron's picture

December 07, 2010 at 01:39 pm

When they were bought, PFT had specific language in the contract that stated they would continue exactly as they had before, which they have done. It's a blog. Not a news service.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 02:10 pm

Still better than Florio.

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Ruppert's picture

December 07, 2010 at 04:05 pm

I don't mind Florio. You just have to remember he's a lawyer first, and anything he writes or says gets ground up in his brain and squeezed through his "lawyer" filter before it hits the air or the interweb.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 04:22 pm

I'm a lawyer too, so what's your point?

Just messing with you... But I am... At least I have the degree to show...

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Ruppert's picture

December 07, 2010 at 05:21 pm

No offense to you, but I think you know what I mean. Florio has some rather inflammatory, shall we say, opinions from time to time. IMO, he doesn't say or write anything without first anticipating every possible comeback. He has already rehearsed a defense for whatever he says.

And that's fine. Like I said, I don't mind reading his stuff.

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PackersRS's picture

December 07, 2010 at 08:40 pm

IMHO,

That's not Florio thinking like a lawyer.

That's Florio thinking like an asshole.

And, no, that's not the same thing.

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jeremy's picture

December 07, 2010 at 03:42 pm

Tom Crabtree made Jerry Hughes look real soft on an outside zone run in the Packers preseason game against the Colts.

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glorious80s's picture

December 07, 2010 at 04:05 pm

Why slow starts are bad. Now the Packers have to win all their remaining games and hope others lose. Not a good position to be in. Who figured Chicago would sustain their winning streak this long and maybe longer?
Yes, Detroit is the most important game. The Lions are waiting for a chance to beat a team they think they have a shot at, in their house - blood in the water. Lions have a lot of talent.

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