Hey folks, welcome to our Monday afternoon live chat. I'm not qualified to analyze Al Harris' game, because I never covered him. With that said, Panama Jeff, he's exactly who came to my mind watching LaDarius Gunter last night. Like Harris, Gunter is a tough, physical, gritty corner. A good guy to have in your secondary, for sure.
That's a good question, Justin. The wild-card game was always going to be about DBs. The Packers had five DBs play 100 percent of the snaps yesterday. Which means they were always in nickel. This would be a good week for an extra defensive lineman. So if Mike Pennel is going to be activated again this season without injuries on the D line playing a factor, I would expect it to be this week. Even though the Cowboys have Dez Bryant, it's definitely a different task this week gearing up against the Cowboys talented offensive line and rookie running back.
Well it definitely doesn't make things easy. Even if the Packers are without Jordy Nelson this week (which is certainly possible), their depth of weapons makes them difficult to defend. They have two guys in Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb who can play anywhere. Even Davante Adams lined up in the backfield some this season, though that's way back in the playbook. Give a guy like Aaron Rodgers that much versatility around him, and it should work well.
I'm still sort of leaning toward "no," but it's just a guess for anyone right now. I don't think anybody knows. Maybe not even Mark Murphy.
It was a really bad decision, and McCarthy sorta admitted that after the game. I think he knew. The worst part, to me, was even if you get the fourth down, you're still far from scoring position. The reward simply did not match the risk. What's funny is this is a coach that's been branded as "conservative" in the playoffs, a tag I've never thought accurately fit. Think we saw that last night. Every coach makes mistakes. Doubt McCarthy repeats it again in these playoffs.
I still go back to, simply, the quarterback is playing better. Even when the Packers receivers aren't getting open, Aaron Rodgers is throwing them open. Perfect example was Rodgers' first touchdown pass to Davante Adams yesterday. Go back and look at that play. Adams is not open. It's a touchdown anyway. That's the type of throw we simply did not see from Rodgers for basically a calendar year, a throw only he and maybe one or two other quarterbacks can make. It's why it never made sense to me that the receivers were a huge problem. A great quarterback makes average receivers good, good receivers great. I think we're seeing that now with Rodgers.
Well, other than the biggest key you mentioned, I'm curious to see if this secondary can cover Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams. I also wonder if the Packers might be able to jump on them early. Remember, not only are the Cowboys inexperienced at key positions, but they're coming off three weeks of rest and might have some rust. If the Packers can take advantage of that, it could help them control the game. Ultimately, there's a real chance this game develops into a shootout, and you have to like red-hot Aaron Rodgers over a rookie quarterback in a game like that. So there are a few reasons to like the Packers. Now, to see why the Cowboys will still be favored, go take a look at this year's All-Pro and Pro Bowl lists.
Don't know about Morgan Burnett as a linebacker, but certainly I could see the Packers play him more in the box and go with a one-high safety, shading Ha Ha Clinton-Dix toward Dez Bryant's side to help with LaDarius Gunter. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Clay Matthews play inside linebacker this week against the run? I'm just spit balling there, but the Cowboys are an ideal opponent to force that change. Key will be beefing up the box, while not forfeiting pass rush and getting beat deep.
I generally think cold weather helps the team that runs better, which is the Cowboys. This Packers passing game on a fast track indoors should help them continue their roll. Of course, that goes both ways, and the Cowboys are obviously capable of making plays with their passing game as well. Still, I think the Packers would prefer to make Dak Prescott beat them.
Trevor Davis seems to be buried deep on the depth chart right now. Could he be activated if Nelson can't play? Sure. But I think that decision would be based on special teams, not offense. So it could be someone else too.
Don't forget Ty Montgomery. He's an ideal third-down running back, a real matchup problem. Yes, I think a stable of Lacy (on the right deal), Michael and Montgomery makes for a good backfield.
The Packers profile exactly like a team that gets hot at the right time and can't be stopped in the playoffs. We've seen it happen many years. Heck, the Packers have seen it happen to them in the past. Doesn't mean they will make a run to the Super Bowl, but they're the team nobody wants to play right now. That should give you some hope.
Why do you assume they move Montgomery back to receiver? There's been no official word for next season, but that would surprise me. He's a good running back, and the Packers (as you noted) have plenty of receivers. Wouldn't be surprised if they keep six next year, with Montgomery as a tailback. But there's a long, long, long way until next year.
Well, they're 1st in rushing defense, 26th vs. the pass. So I'd start there. The good thing about what Aaron Rodgers did to the Giants secondary yesterday is the Cowboys secondary isn't nearly as good. You would think his hot play will continue.
I'm not adverse to going for it on fourth down. Again, the issue was there wasn't much reward. Even if you convert, you still haven't even crossed midfield. Your defense is controlling the game, you have an 8-point lead in the second half, and you can pin a bad Giants defense deep. That's what needs to be done.
Well, yeah. Welcome to the playoffs. That's how it goes. I seem to remember an onside kick recovery in Seattle two years ago. Luck is a real part of any playoff run.
I'm leaning toward it being unlikely Julius Peppers is back, but it can't be ruled out. He had 7.5 sacks this year, and he's clearly a prominent leader in the locker room. Doubt he'd agree to the right deal, but who knows. As for limiting the snaps, he played almost 3/4 of them yesterday and, as Letroy Guion said, he looked in his mid-20s. Would have to think the plan worked.
I think you'll see Morgan Burnett on Jason Witten, and that could be a good matchup both ways. Remember, Burnett had that interception against Jimmy Graham against Seattle. And Witten, of course, is a future Hall of Famer. It'll be fun to watch.
All of the above? Hard to tell, but I'd lean toward it being a combination of factors. As for the significance, the key to the game might be the Giants only holding a 6-0 lead. The Packers were thoroughly outplayed in the first quarter, but still in the game. When they lead 14-6 at halftime after being dominated much of the first half, I was pretty sure the Giants had blown it.
Yes, it's realistic. Any team with a quarterback playing like Aaron Rodgers can make a run. That's obviously not a prediction. Nobody knows what's going to happen, but the Packers have a real shot.
Truth is, the offensive line has had a great season. Worthy of more than one Pro Bowler. Especially with left tackle David Bakhtiari a second-team All-Pro. As far as stopping the Cowboys, think the Packers are hoping for a mistake from their rookie quarterback. Could happen, but Dak Prescott has been solid much of the year.
The thing that stuck with me this morning was the Packers just scored 38 points in a blowout to win a playoff game in which they once trailed 194-7 in yardage, and they did it without Jordy Nelson against perhaps the best secondary in the NFC. That, to me, is a testament to how explosive this team is right now. The first half was bad, and sure there's reason to concern. If the Packers can't cover better this week, it'll be a problem. But yesterday was impressive.
None yet. We'll be speaking with Mike McCarthy in 15 minutes, so you can be sure he'll be asked about Nelson then. With that said, it's time for me to run. Thanks to everyone who participated in today's live chat. Make sure to get all your Packers coverage at PackersNews.com. Until next time, take care.