Reporting Paul Gallant
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The Texans get their second straight prime time date against the Packers Sunday. Here’s what you should expect from the Cheese heads.
Time To Wake Up
It’s tough to comprehend the way the Packers – a team many picked as a Super Bowl favorite – have stumbled their way through the first few weeks. Still, Green Bay is stuck at third place in the NFC North. A loss to the Texans would make them 2-4, and in a big game hole behind the Bears and surprising Vikings.
If you look back, you’d see the Pack should easily be at least 4-1. Last week, they had a 21-3 lead over the hapless Colts – and some how blew it. And we all remember the idiotic decision by the replacement zebras against the Seahawks.
Looking for a culprit? Look at penalties to start. Green Bay has been penalized for a whopping 390 yards – leading the league – and have seen the fourth most flags. Last year the Packers were only penalized just 76 times for 591 yards.
I read a piece this week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where an unnamed Packer said “the refs are out to get us”. That’s an asinine statement – especially with two sets of referees being used this year. But Green Bay seems to genuinely believe they’re playing two teams at once.
The “Bulls on Parade” could put on quite the show with the Cheeseheads’ Swiss cheese O-Line. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 21 times this year – the second highest total in the league – and hit 29 times. That’s just awful.
Part of that is on Rodgers, who likes to roll out of the pocket and tends to hold onto the ball longer than most other QBs. Still, Green Bay’s bodyguards need to get its act together and stop pooing their pants. J.J. Watt been an absolute monster thus far, and Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin, and Brooks Reed are overdue for big performances.
No Need To Run
The Packers can’t run the football. And that was before Cedric Benson was likely lost for the season with a lisfranc foot injury. With Benson down, Rodgers is actually Green Bay’s leading rusher. Alex Green, John Kuhn, and potentially James Starks will get ground touches for the Pack. But they won’t get a lot.
And they won’t need them. Green Bay can air the ball out.
It all starts with Aaron Rodgers, arguably the league’s best quarterback. He has TOO MANY weapons.
Green Bay’s defense was an abomination last season – giving up the most yards in the league. They’ve gotten better this year in keeping the yardage down.
A lot of that has to do with outside linebacker Clay Matthews. The outside linebacker has a league high 8 sacks. The Packers like to move him around, so both Texans tackles Duane Brown and Derek Newton will be plenty busy.
In the middle of their 3-4, Green Bay typically sets behemoth nose tackle B.J. Raji. Unfortunately for the Pack, he’s questionable for Sunday. If he’s out, the Texans should run Arian Foster down Green Bay’s throat.
Tramon Williams – a Texan for his first preseason – has become Green Bay’s number one corner. But he’s been very inconsistent. One week he stuffs Brandon Marshall. But last Sunday, he got completely abused by Reggie Wayne. Tough to say how he’ll fare against Andre Johnson.