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Packers vs. Texans: What to Watch For

The Green Bay Packers (2-3) travel to face the Houston Texans (5-0) at Reliant Stadium on Sunday night.

Some people are calling the game a must-win for the Packers. We don’t exactly see it as that… unless the Packers have any designs on winning the NFC North. If the Packers lose, there’s not a very good chance they’ll be catching the Bears or Vikings (who are both 4-1 this season) and they’d probably have to finish 8-2 to have a good shot at the playoffs.

Could the Packers be out of the playoff picture by the end of October? They could, but the reason we say this game isn’t necessarily a must-win is because the schedule gets a lot easier after this week.

Who’s not going to play?
Greg Jennings, as if that’s a surprise. Jermichael Finley and his hands of stone and B.J. Raji and his little girl ankles are both questionable. While we’d be happy to go without Finley, backup D.J. Williams is also questionable. The Texans are pretty much totally healthy. Safety Quintin Demps is the only player that’s been ruled out. Of course, linebacker Brian Cushing tore his ACL last week and is gone for the season, which doesn’t show up on the injury report.

Who should I bet on?
Look, the Packers are a nightmare to bet on this season. Save your money. Houston is only a 3.5-point favorite at home. You get three points just for playing at home, so, for some reason, oddsmakers think these teams are pretty evenly matched. We’re gonna take a flyer and take the Packers, but that’s just based on a gut feeling. They seem to perform better when their backs are against the wall and their backs are damn well against the wall right now.

What to Watch For

These aren’t your father’s Green Bay Packers. Guys have been pointing fingers, complaining and more or less denying they’ve played any role in the team’s terrible start all week. No one is accountable, other than Aaron Rodgers. That’s right, one of the few guys who’s actually playing well was the only guy to say he’s not playing well enough this week. Apparently, everyone else is playing at a Pro Bowl level, which make the losses all the more inexplicable. If the Packers lose again this week, all the discord and “wasn’t me” attitude is going to be magnified even more and the locker room is going to implode. At that point, the season is essentially over.

Jermichael Finley

Jermichael Finley’s homecoming
Yeah, we said we really don’t care if that jerk plays, but we should point this out. If Finley doesn’t have a big game on Sunday, he isn’t going to have a big game all season. Finley grew up near Houston. He went to Texas. He’s been pissing and moaning about his lack of chemistry with Rodgers and not getting enough balls this week. If Rodgers still cares to throw this idiot the ball, all this extra motivation should help him put up some huge numbers.

What Cushing’s absence means
You think of the Texans as an offensive juggernaut — Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, etc. They actually win by playing defense. They’re the third-ranked unit in the NFL. They’re third against the pass and ninth against the run. They’ve also had Cushing up until this point. The linebacker is one of the Texans’ best defenders. Will his absence make that big of a difference? Maybe if the Packers actually try to run the ball.

J.J. Watt and Clay Matthews

Wisconsin’s own J.J. Watt
He’s from Pewaukee. He went to Wisconsin. He’s also one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL in only his second season. Watt has 7.5 sacks and 26 tackles on the season. His sack total puts him a half sack behind Clay Matthews for the league lead. Clearly, Watt is going to dominate whichever crappy Packers offensive lineman he lines up across from. So, if the Texans are kicking the Packers ass all over the field, at least you can point out Watt is from Wisconsin while he’s tossing Bryan Bulaga aside line a rag doll.

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Richard October 13, 2012

    3.5 point line is a travesty. This should be around 7, but I guess nobody wants to bet against Rodgers giving up that many points. For what it’s worth, the last game they were an underdog in was the Atlanta playoff game and they obviously covered that one impressively.

  2. Richard October 13, 2012

    I think these guys could use another double digit underdog game like the New England Flynn game. Maybe that is the only way to humble these guys and fire them up. Either that, or maybe just a good old fashioned ass-kicking to straighten them out so they stop with the ridiculous excuses.

    1. TyKoSteamboat October 13, 2012

      Yea, Richard…A good old fashioned ass whooping is what you want??? Rewatch week one vs. the 40 Whiners…

  3. iltarion October 13, 2012

    I see it getting worse before it gets better. No Raji against one of the best running teams in the league. Not a good recipe.

    It definitely helps that Demps is out. That guy is a good player.

    Somehow, the Packer defense needs to slow down the run enough to get some stops.

    The Packer offense needs to be efficient because they might not be getting that many possessions.

    Excepting crazy fantasy scenarios where the Packer defense actually controls the game or Alex Green breaks out, I realistically only see one way for the Packers to win this game: Aaron Rodgers plays like the best player on the field. There is always that possibility.

  4. iltarion October 13, 2012

    Oh, and not sure what JJ Watt being from Wisconsin does for anybody.

    That means absolutely nothing to me.

  5. ay hombre October 14, 2012

    I have always said…Bet with your head and cheer with your heart. I love my Packers and I’ll be cheering for them to cost me a lot of money today as I believe the Texans -3.5 is a true gift.

    Earlier in the week, when the hope of Jennings and Raji playing was still possible, I was actually optimistic about Green Bay’s chances against the undefeated Texans. But Raji is a loss we have no answer for. I’ve actually been pretty hard on Raji over the years, but I think tonight we’re going to understand his value a lot more by him simply not being there.

    Here’s to me being way off base, but don’t be surprised if Arian Foster breaks a record or two tonight. Adrian Peterson owns the NFL record for most rushing yards in a game with 296. That one could seriously have a shot of falling tonight unless our front seven play out of their freaking minds.

    Texans 34 Packers 23

  6. Richard October 14, 2012

    Not what I want, but it might help in the long run. The Packers were still making lame excuses after the 49er game. It wasn’t enough.

  7. Buddy October 14, 2012

    GB 34
    HOU 27

    Wishful thinking or prediction?

  8. Richard October 14, 2012

    As a side note, it looks like Andrew Luck and the Colts stopped caring about their coaches leukemia and lost all motivation after winning their Super Bowl last week. Stupid Colts…

  9. Buddy October 14, 2012

    Lol. Funny Richard :-)

  10. Buddy October 14, 2012

    The only upset thay surprised me was the 9ers loss. The Patriots, Cardinals and Viking losses weren’t a shocker at all.

  11. iltarion October 14, 2012

    What to watch for?

    Aaron Rodgers TD passes lighting up the sky.

    Jordy Nelson terrorizing the Houston secondary.

    James Jones making ridiculous catches.

    Alex Green looking like a younger version of Cedric Benson.

    Jerrel Worthy and CJ Wilson playing well against the run.

    Casey Hayward continuing to be a guy you just are better off not throwing at.

    And Packer beatdown of the Texans. THAT is what to watch for.