The 8-4 Green Bay Packers are a touchdown favorite this Sunday night as the 4-8 Detroit Lions invade legendary Lambeau Field in an attempt to salvage their season. Conditions have certainly been worse at Lambeau in past battles, but the Lions will definitely face an uphill battle on what is expected to be a cold night in Green Bay.
The Packers of course have a very rich history, with the great Vince Lombardi standing at the top of the heap with his incredible teams from the 60s. The video above relives the story of the legendary “Ice Bowl” championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys from New Year’s Eve in 1967 at a frozen Lambeau Field with windchill taking the temperature down to −70°F. We’ve all heard the “frozen tundra” line a million times and this is where it all started. The Packers has plenty of down years after that, but then returned to greatness with Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre in the 90s and then again several years ago with Aaron Rodgers.
So the Lions will have to deal with much more than their own problems Sunday night. They’ll be on the road in cold weather facing a tough Packer team and all the mystique of Lambeau Field as well. Perhaps that doesn’t mean to much to the players on the field, but this stadium has its reputation for a reason. It’s hard to win there. There’s also this nugget – the Lions have lost 20 consecutive games in Green Bay. You can bet they’ll be hearing about that all week. It can either motivate them or contribute to another loss.
The Packers have their own problems, as they can’t seem to generate a running game. Their once-dominant passing game can get derailed when the opposing defense can key on the pass rush, and with Ndamukong Suh leading the charge, the Packers need to make sure Rodgers stays on his feet. He has been sacked a league-leading 39 times and the offensive line is banged up. They’re hoping that the signing of running back Ryan Grant can help.
Suh has also had some issues, as usual, and some argue he’s becoming a distraction for a Lions team that has had a very disappointing season with only four wins. The Lions had big expectations this season, and Matthew Stafford is piling up huge yardage again, but the defense keeps killing them. Nothing will change for the Lions until they can stop someone, and even with their issues the Packers are still very dangerous. We could see another shootout.
If you’re heading to the game, dress warm and keep a look out for Prilosec OTC as they are doing an on-location event at the Lambeau tailgate in connection with the new Prilosec OTC Wildberry.
From now until January 7, 2013, you can enter at WildberryFlavor.com for a chance to win trips to three of America’s most flavorful cities, including tickets to some of the country’s biggest sporting events courtesy of new Prilosec OTC Wildberry. One winner will be chosen at random to receive the prize pack, including tickets to the big football game in New Orleans (February 3, 2013), the first big auto race of the year in Daytona Beach (February 24, 2013) and the basketball championship game in Atlanta (April 8, 2013), travel and accommodations (a two-night hotel stay and air transportation for each destination), and one $5,000 check to be used in any of these flavorful cities.
Mike Tomlin channeled his inner Bill Belichick on Sunday but taking a huge, and incredibly unnecessary gamble which could have cost his team a win.
I’ll set the scene:
Pittsburgh took a two-point lead on Green Bay with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but instead of kicking the ball deep and forcing the Packers to drive the length of the field to score, Tomlin decided to attempt an onside kick. The play failed because one of the Steelers players touched the ball before it went 10 yards and the Packers took over in prime field position. They wound up scoring on a 24-yard James Jones run and after a successful two-point conversation they took a 36-30 lead with just over two minutes to play.
Why did Tomlin attempt the onside kick? Maybe because his team is out of playoff contention and he figured it was a good risk to take. Maybe the Steelers had practiced the play throughout the week and he thought that was the best time to break it out. Or maybe the answer is simple: He didn’t trust his defense.
Unless you’re a Packer slappy, you couldn’t possibly have expected that outcome today; there’s just no way. Dallas had won four in a row, was coming off an impressive road win at Philadelphia and was playing with a ton of confidence. Green Bay, on the other hand, had not beaten a team with a winning record all season and had lost to the previously winless Buccaneers last week in one of the ugliest losses for any team this season.
Granted, some could say that this was a letdown game for the Cowboys after beating the Eagles last week, but it’s not like the Packers are the Browns or Rams; Dallas shouldn’t have had any problem getting up for this game today.
Nevertheless, the Packers’ defense played one hell of a game by completely shutting down a Dallas offense that had been firing on all cylinders entering the game. Green Bay forced three turnovers, held the Cowboys to only 61 rushing yards and sacked Tony Romo five times. It was a dominating effort by Dom Capers’ defense tonight that was embarrassed last week in Tampa. The Packers’ O-line still tried their best to get Aaron Rodgers killed, but Green Bay will certainly take a win, especially after the team held a players-only meeting earlier this week in an effort to try and clear the air.
Since the Eagles also lost today, this won’t set the Cowboys back in the standings but it is alarming that Green Bay was able to shut down Dallas’ offense so easily. I mean, this was the same Packers defense that gave up 38 points last week to the Buccaneers, who were starting a rookie quarterback in Josh Freeman.
Maybe this was just an off day for Wade Phillips’ team. They better hope so anyway.
I’m setting the over/under on the number of sacks Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen will have on Aaron Rodgers tonight at 2.5.
Allen is due for a monster night as Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton is expected to miss his second game tonight following an ankle injury he suffered in a Week 2 loss to the Bengals.
The Packers’ offensive line has resembled a revolving door this season, allowing 12 sacks in the first three games. In their loss to Cincinnati, Green Bay made defensive end Antwan Odom look like a cross between Reggie White and Kevin Greene as he brought down Rodgers five times.
Rodgers is a fine quarterback, but his offensive line is going to get him killed if they don’t start protecting him. Considering Ryan Grant won’t find much running room against the Williams Wall tonight, it would be in Green Bay’s best interest to max-protect Rodgers the entire night. The Giants use a similar method on a weekly basis with Eli Manning and he seems to do just fine.
The Packers need to help Daryn Colledge out, because he’ll see the brunt of the work against Allen. Lining up a tight end to Allen’s side would make sense, although Green Bay might also need to set up a military-based obstacle course in between him and Rodgers just to be safe.
I’m taking the over tonight. I think Allen will eventually take this game over, especially if the Packers can’t get Grant going early. It could be a very long night for Rodgers.
The moment Brett Favre has been waiting for since Ted Thompson crapped in his cereal over 12 months ago is vastly approaching.
The Vikings host the Packers tonight at the Metrodome and Brett will no doubt be fired up to try to stick it to Thompson, as he so amply put it when the GM traded him to the Jets last year. (The fact that Favre put Thompson in a bad position with his fickle changing of the mind is still lost on Brett, but that’s a story for another time.)
The question becomes, will Brett beat Thompson’s Packers tonight?
Like most weeks, the Vikings will try to establish the run with Adrian Peterson in hopes of opening things up in the passing game. The Packers have a solid secondary, so Brad Childress would be foolish to take the ball out of Peterson’s hands early in the game and start forcing the action with Favre in the passing game. It would behoove Childress not to get wrapped up in the Favre-vs-Green Bay death match and just keep things simple with AP.