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Packers Must Be Prepared for a Dog Fight in Cleveland

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Packers Must Be Prepared for a Dog Fight in Cleveland

Following an overtime win over the Tampa Bay Bucs last week, the Packers are still alive in the NFC playoff race, but can stay that way, only by defeating the 0-12 Cleveland Browns.

Obviously, it’s easy to look at the Browns and think this will be an easy win for the Packers. After all, Green Bay has plenty to play for. Win this game, and Aaron Rodgers could be back. Then suddenly, running the table again, won’t seem so impossible.

Effectively, the Packers are playing to make it to next week. The Browns, on the other hand, are playing to avoid an embarrassment, to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions, as the only 0-16 team in NFL history. 

Green Bay knows a thing or two about sending a team to 0-16. That’s because the Packers, in Rodgers first season as a starter, cemented that mark, beating Detroit in the final game of the 2008 season.

Well this week, the Packers need to remain focused. Otherwise, they could find themselves on the wrong side of history. This Cleveland team is bad, but it hasn’t quit and with Green Bay playing its backup quarterback, you can bet the Browns can smell blood in the water.

In fact, the Packers, sans Rodgers, might represent the best chance Cleveland has of avoiding 0-16. The Browns will play the Ravens at home in Week 15, followed by back-to-back road games against Chicago and Pittsburgh to end the season.

That Week 16 game against the Bears is another good chance at getting a win, but bad teams always play better at home and with the Packers less than full strength, Cleveland could easily view it as a golden opportunity to find the winner’s circle.

That means the Packers can’t be complacent. It also means they can’t hold anything back. If it takes running Brett Hundley in the zone read to win, then so be it, that’s what Mike McCarthy needs to do.

It doesn’t matter if Green Bay wins this game 30-0 or 3-0. The objective is to leave Cleveland with a 7-6 record. No matter what it takes or how ugly it might be, the Packers just need to survive until next week. 

But they also need to expect the Browns best effort. And with a quarterback that didn’t even throw for 100 yards last week, still in the lineup, the Packers have to be prepared to win ugly.

Green Bay is a three-point favorite, on the road, which says something. But the margin also means that experts expect a tight game. Certainly, the Packers could exceed expectations and dominate on the road.

However, with Hundley, there has been zero evidence that’s remotely possible.

The wins the Packers got with Hundley, both came with narrow margins over two teams, Chicago and Tampa Bay, who are well out of the playoff mix.

Sunday in Cleveland, Green Bay will try to get a third win with Hundley, a win that can realistically put them back into playoff contention. But if the Packers aren’t ready and don’t have their best, they could easily leave the Dawg Pound, will egg all over their face.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (43) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

I'm more torn than I ever have been as a fan. This team is not Lombardi material. Even with ARod, the defense is just not good enough. There's no consistent pass rush and our CBs are a joke. Communication errors abound.

I don't want to lose to an 0-12 team. But I also don't want to see ARod back this year either.

cuervo's picture

Agree 100%. There has to be a wholesale change with the entire coaching staff, starting with MM. As long a MM is the head coach, nothing will change...I'm more convinced of that each week. A 4-10-1 record without Arod says it all folks.

RCPackerFan's picture

Lets not forget with Rodgers and a beat up team they were 4-1. Beating Seattle and Dallas. That was without a decent OL, and no running game. Also Perry had a huge club on his hand, Brooks didn't play much.

While things look not very good, lets not forget that QB1 changes a lot for the team.

And if/when 12 comes back, he will now have a better OL and a really good running game to help rely on. And that run game likely will be even better because teams will have to try and focus on Rodgers.

Why don't you want to see Rodgers back? If he is 100% ready to go, why would you not want to take a chance to go for the Super Bowl? Anything can happen in the playoffs. You get in, you have a chance. Most people talk about wasting Rodgers years. Well if Rodgers were ready to go and they have a chance, sitting him would be wasting another opportunity.

fastmoving's picture

Just right, let him play. No harm from that.
the screws acutally help to heal faster. The only downside is the need of another op to get them out again. but no big deal....
If they can get somehow a W out of Cleveland and the Vikes beat Carolina they play already for the 6th seat next week. Could be a big momentum changer.......with 12 back and some new life.
I think if we can beat Cleveland there is a lot possible, at least it gets exciting.......

sorry that I just can not be so negative, like the endoftheworldgurus here.
There are solid reasons to keep the faith.......

RCPackerFan's picture

From my understanding the screws will never come out. They will always be in there. I believe Rodgers told someone that. I can't remember who.

If they can get a win in Cleveland which if Hundley plays like he did in other road games, and they get the run game going with the 2 young RB's, I think the offense will be effective. In all honesty if Hundley does more read option type of stuff I think that might be a confidence boost to him.

But then next week, if Rodgers is cleared to play, we play him. We win we are still in the hunt for a wild card spot. Making the playoffs is better then not. If anyone thinks its better to sit at home, ask the Browns fans how they like sitting home.

stockholder's picture

Your Right RC. Were giving the Browns way to much respect. So what if they don't have a win. This game will be over by 1/2 Time. The Browns Suck.

cuervo's picture

I wouldn't be so sure. Browns have the number 1 rated defense against the run. If we can't run, you really believe Hundley is going to win the game for us?

Reasons not to play Rodgers is that his bone won't have completely healed for another 4-6 months. You want to risk further and more serious injury so MM can win a couple more games? If I had any confidence this team could go anywhere in the playoffs I would risk it. With this defense there is not a chance.

RCPackerFan's picture

Stockholder, I wouldn't necessarily say it will be over by half time. I mean Hundley will have to play a lot better for that to happen. But I think they should be able to win.

Cuervo. The Browns have the 6th best defense against the run in yards per game. They are the number 1 in average yards per attempt.

Where did you hear his bone won't completely heal for 4-6 months?

cuervo's picture

"Where did you hear his bone won't completely heal for 4-6 months?"

My wife is a Doctor and I heard a specialist talking about it on the radio. It takes that long for the bone to COMPLETELY heal. If he gets hit the wrong way in 2 weeks that thing will snap like a dry twig.

There is no way I would play Rodgers this year. MM will, because it's all he has in grab bag of inferior coaching tactics to try and cover his substantial ass.

Finwiz's picture

RC, that's been reported all over the place about the bone healing.
He won't be completely healed this year, that's for sure.
One hit and he could have a big set-back. Remember what happened to Romo with his broken collarbone. He got hit in his first game back and that was it. Re-injured.

They might not even clear 12 to play, knowing the conservative Packer docs.

fastmoving's picture

If they put some metall and screws in there it wont break again. At least not at that spot. the bone is not completly healt, but the plate give him more stability than the healthy parts of the bone ever will have.
And all the other parts of the collarbone have the same risk as they had before the injury.
No extended risk from that site at all, thats for sure.

cuervo's picture

That is not correct. The plate and screws helps it heal faster, it does not prevent it form breaking again or make it any stronger at that point.

Finwiz's picture

Right...that's a good question, but I thought the plate was for the healing, but would have to be removed. Plate and screws not intended to be permanent.
Whether they have to remove the hardware before or after he plays is what I would like to know. My guess is AFTER. That just seems weird that he would play with the healing plate and screws still in place.

Bearmeat's picture

It's simple, RC.

I don't think the defense is anywhere near good enough to win one playoff game. I don't think our CBs, our mental errors, and our lack of pressure will allow us to beat anyone with a decent QB - and the NFC is stacked with them. I don't think that scoring 35 in a playoff game, on the road, will be enough, and against a good defense, I don't think even ARod can score 35 with regularity.

And I'd rather have the higher draft picks and fired coaches/GMs that come with a 6-10 record than making the first round, picking in the 20s, and everything is the same next year.

To me, THAT is wasting Rodgers prime. Not a hope and a prayer with Damarious Freaking Randall as your #1 CB and post-roids-Clay as your #1OLB.

To me, although that may be dark, it's more hopeful than keeping-everything-as-its-been-since-2011.

flackcatcher's picture

Rodgers is going to play, no matter what happens at Cleveland. The Browns may be a mess, but they are an NFL team. And the line between winner and loser in this league is usually one or two players. (Boy, don't we know that :) If, IF the Packers back end holds up, the Packers should win. But don't kid yourself, this will be a close game, but the Packers want to win to play on. The Browns are playing for pride, do not underestimate what that means to them. Unless Hundley has the game of his life as a pro, this one is going to be close, very very close.

Nick Perry's picture

You may not see him after last night.With Atlanta beating the Saints it just made it even tougher for GB to get in, even if they "Win Out".

HankScorpio's picture

They can still make the playoffs if they lose this weekend. I wouldn't exactly call it likely but the same was said after they lost to NE in 2010.

Duke Divine's picture

Why not play Rodgers if healthy no matter what happens??? Beat the Vikings with Arodge! Pad Career stats! Sell more tickets! More viewership with number 12! If he happens to maybe get hurt he has all off season. Personally I want to see number 12 sling the pigskin as much as possible before his career is over!

The TKstinator's picture

Sorry Chris, but way too many commas.

Tarynfor12's picture

The Packers are playing the role of mailmen trying to make a delivery. These dogs will bite to much leaving the package un-deliverable.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Tarynfor12, I don't disagree with you, but I don't think this is a game where I want my $$$. I'll probably take it on a 1/2 Pt card. What I want to know is, Do you like the Vikes -3 1/2 on Carolina, & do you think there is any chance the Vikes Tank this game to keep GB out of it?
LVT

Tarynfor12's picture

The Vikings have a shot at home field throughout,so no tanking. The Panthers are coming off a loss and need a win so I'd take anything on Carolina that starts with 3 to secure the push.

I think the Packers fall in Cleveland but as the same the last few weeks I won't bet the game unless on a 6 pt swing teaser but it's only Thursday. Need to see who else can't practice and won't play possibles.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Tarynfor12, Thanks!!
LVT

The TKstinator's picture

Please don’t put “bite” and “package” in the same sentence. ;)

The TKstinator's picture

Is that a metaphor relating to the ferocity of the GB defense?

ShanghaiKid's picture

I honestly don’t think the Packers win. It’s been noted before, but the Chargers led by Philip Rivers on 10 days rest barely put 19 on this D. They have weapons like Gordon, Allen, and Henry so it’s not like they’re trotting slouches out there. Hundley will struggle to move the ball and our corners aren’t healthy. Hard to project a win.

Fordham Ram's picture

If we can establish a running game, it will rest our defense and maybe our bend but don't break best will show up..maybe even better than last week.

cuervo's picture

As I mentioned above, the Browns have the number 1 rated defense against the run. If the Packers win, it will be on Hundley's arm.... see the problem?

al bundy's picture

Sorry but i picked the browns in family pool. Need to give them a break they are way behind now.
We all know you can lose to anyone any time. The browns have many low round quality people. Hell if would have drafted watson. They would be formitable.
Their achiles heel is qb. The missing link. If pack lose you can forget relax and run the table talk.

The TKstinator's picture

When I see brown in the pool I think of Bill Murray in Caddyshack.

Since '61's picture

The keys to this game will be the Packers ability to run the ball against a solid Browns run defense. The second key will be who can actually dress and play CB for the Packers.

Neither Goodson or House have practiced yet this week and could miss Sunday's game. In that case we will probably go with Hawkins and Pipkins on the boundaries. I would keep Randall at the "star" position since we know he can play there and that he is not good on the boundary. We might see Donatello Brown get some reps in this game as well.

It would be great if we can get another 7 sack performance from the pass rush plus a turnover or two.

Hopefully Hundley has another decent game on the road in Cleveland because the Browns will probably play to stop the run and make Hundley try to beat them with his arm.

Weather could be a factor in this game. The forecast is for a windy day in Cleveland which could impact the passing game for both teams in which case the run game becomes even more critical.

Normally we should blow this team away. But without Rodgers and with our CBs very questionable it could end being a closer game than it should. Thanks, Since '61

CAG123's picture

I’m sorry but I just don’t want to see the Packers in the playoffs this year nor do I wanna to see Rodgers back. This team just isn’t playoff material let alone championship material they are banged up BADLY and just not that good. This team needs a change and not making the playoffs and potential landing and higher draft pick is the start of that change. Even though the circumstances would be different do we really want to be like last years Lions and make the playoffs just for the sake of making it only to get slapped around in the first round or risk injuring Rodgers again? We had SB aspirations this year and anything short of that is a failure. I’m more so enjoying seeing the different pieces the Packers do have pop up like Martinez, Williams, Jones, Randall (yeah that’s right Randall) and King.

rdent's picture

Breaking News; John Dorsey hired by Browns as GM. I really thought it would be the Giants that would make that move. Anyway I knew Dorsey wouldn't be out there for long and this means one candidate GB can cross off their list when TT leaves.

croatpackfan's picture

I thought most of fans here (at least 90%) wants Elliott Wolf to take TT job...

Otherwise "we" might lose him to another team...

I expect Brett Hundley to play good (with QBR over or around 100) and that OL with 2 RB produce another good game and spoil Browns 3.3 yards per carry record (the best in NFL) on D.

Thank you!

HankScorpio's picture

If what Peter King wrote about Dorsey's departure from KC is remotely true, Dorsey is everything TT's critics hate most about TT.

https://www.si.com/mmqb/2017/06/29/kansas-city-chiefs-john-dorsey-fired-...

swampthing69's picture

Yeah, sounds like he’s a carbon copy of TT

Lphill's picture

By letting Hundley start it almost Guarantees a loss , we are playing for a top ten draft pick , I was going to lobby for Callahan but I would be afraid of him having a good game . Let Aaron heal up for next year and hopefully we get a change in coaching as well . This is the reality .

swampthing69's picture

Says a lot about how bad Callahan must be that they apparently haven’t even considered him after how god awful Hundley has been.

nostradanus's picture

I agree this is going to be a tough, grind it out game. The winless Browns will be at home and playing for the first time in front of new GM (and former Packer) John Dorsey, they will want to impress. The Packers are undermanned again in the secondary and the Browns know the Packers will be "bringing it" in the run game.
This should be entertaining and hopefully McCarthy will come up with a gameplay to get the damn ball out of Hundley's hands quickly, screens, quick slants, while taking advantage of his legs with the read option.
Time to let "mini-Cam" do his thang man.
Go Pack!

swampthing69's picture

I hope there’s a game plan for our embarrassing receivers to get open

swampthing69's picture

I have a strong feeling we lose this game.

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