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Aaron Rodgers

Well, the Green Bay Packers are in first place after scraping by the Minnesota Vikings on the road.

The road is obviously the Packers kryptonite. We’ll seriously learn something about this team when they play the New England Patriots, who are currently the AFC’s No. 1 seed, at home next Sunday.

But that’s nearly a week away. Here are five more thoughts on the win at Minnesota.

Clay Matthews — back to being a non-factor
You, the Packers and Matthews himself can blame whatever you/they choose for Matthews no show on Sunday. Yeah, there’s the recurring groin injury, which has taken the place of the annual hamstring injury. Maybe that slowed Matthews down. There was Nick Perry’s absence. Perry was out with an injury of his own — also an annual occurrence — and that made the Packers move Matthews back to outside linebacker. As you’re well aware, Matthews has been about a million times more effective playing inside linebacker. Whatever it was, Matthews had just two tackles on Sunday and no sacks. In the process, one thing became pretty clear. The Packers defense, which I think we would all agree was nothing more than average, goes as Matthews goes. If the Packers can’t put him in position to make plays, then their defense isn’t going to play very well.

Speaking of that position switch…
Did Mike Neal get caught boning Mike McCarthy’s wife? With Perry out, the logical thing to do would be to start Neal at outside linebacker and leave Matthews inside. Instead, the Packers moved Matthews back outside and started the underwhelming Sam Barrington next to the underwhelming A.J. Hawk. For those of you who have forgotten, Neal outplayed Perry last season. Starting him would have allowed Matthews to remain inside where he’s been more effective. It’s a moot point, but it’s also a move that didn’t make much sense.

Feed the beast
The Packers gave Eddie Lacy 25 carries on Sunday. That’s the first time all season he’s had more than 17 carries in a game. Sunday also marks just the second time Lacy has gone over 100 yards this season. I know everyone wants to see Aaron air it out — and let’s face it, Aaron will pout if he doesn’t get to air it out — but Eddie Lacy is being wasted if he doesn’t get 20 carries a game.

That guy
Remember Greg Jennings? He had a few good years with the Green Bay Packers. Then he went and signed with the Minnesota Vikings because… let’s not sugarcoat it. He’s a greedy, selfish fuck. Well, he may as well have retired. Did you notice all the plays Jennings made on Sunday? No? Then you must have heard about all the plays he’s made this year and last? No? Oh, right. That’s because he doesn’t make plays. A product of playing with Favre and Rodgers. Remove Favre and Rodgers? Garbage.

There’s the game plan
I’m talking about the one to beat the Packers. The Vikings had it on Sunday, they’re just the Vikings. They’re not good enough to beat the Packers. Still, other teams should take note. Take away the outside receivers as priority No. 1, which will keep Aaron Rodgers in check. That opens up the middle of the field, but we all know the Packers often like to pretend that part of the field doesn’t exist. Surprisingly, they did a good job of taking those openings on Sunday, but that’s neither here nor there. The Vikings took away the big play, which forced the Packers to be much more methodical in their offensive approach. It also kept scoring down and forced the Packers to play some defense. That’s exactly what you want to do against this Green Bay team. Keep it close and force them to play defense.

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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.

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17 Comments

  1. UncleGravySword November 24, 2014

    Let’s clarify why Packers fans turned on Jennings. It isn’t just because he wanted more money… the Super Bowl victory went to his head. He couldn’t stand that Aaron Rodgers became a bigger star than him and that’s when all the back handed compliments and criticism started coming out of his camp. He also thought he was better than Nelson and Cobb and he quite obviously never was as good as those two are now. He saw the writing on the wall.

    1. Savage57 November 24, 2014

      Packer fans turned on Jennings because he’s an asshole.

  2. john smith November 24, 2014

    The Detroit lions played the same kind of defense agaisnt the packers. 2 safety high and force the packers to run the ball. For some reason, when teams does this to the packers offense, the packers don’t throw short plays, they still try to go 15 plus yards.

  3. David November 24, 2014

    Jennings did get a touchdown when he ran a rub route thru traffic and nobody covered him (Williams 10 yards behind effort doesn’t count).

    Then I blew my stack when they ran the same play with someone else for the 2 point conversion… and nobody covered that guy.

    Back to Jennings… he caught 4 passes and was targetted 6 times. One of those I remember was a pass in the middle to get a 1st down to keep a drive alive.

  4. Fred November 24, 2014

    I saw clay at ILB a lot and Neal couldn’t get any pash rush when he was in

  5. Shawn Neuser November 24, 2014

    Love Greg Jennings. Always will. We don’t win a Super Bowl without him. Period. The Vikings overpaid him and he did what was best for his family and took the last big contract he was going to get. It doesn’t change anything. Rodgers and Favre “made” him? Bullshit.

    Mike Neal started at OLB. Matthews started at ILB, next to Hawk. Barrington got two snaps on the 2nd series because Matthews was off the field. The Packers limited Matthews’ snaps due to his injury, especially in the first half.

    The Cover 2 is STILL the formula to beat the Packers, as it has been since the end of 2011. Besides handing it to Lacy, Rodgers can dump it to him to help crack that defense.

    1. Neder November 24, 2014

      Shawn, the rub with Jennings is that he was taking shots at our QB and our organization. You simply don’t do that scorned ex-girlfriend stuff. Of course you go where the money is biggest. Pretty funny that he turned down a larger contract from the Pack the prior year. But that’s right, the writing was on the wall and his big mouth sister encouraged him to go be the big star not named AP with the Vikings. Classic.

    2. Savage57 November 24, 2014

      I knew Jennings was a dick as soon as I saw him doing that ‘size the ring’ bullshit when the SB game was still very much a toss up. Period.

      Color me not surprised that you ‘love’ him.

      1. Shawn Neuser November 25, 2014

        You mean the Super Bowl he scored two TDs in and caught the most important pass in the game?

        Yeah, that was an all time great pass from Rodgers, but the ball was still tipped and Jennings caught it anyway. On one of his touchdowns, Jennings took a hell of a shot from The Hair and held on. On his other, he ran the route that he begged Joe Philbin to give him, and it worked.

        I tend to have some loyalty for guys that help the Packers win a Super Bowl. That’s just how I roll.

  6. Howard November 24, 2014

    The first ILB in not named Matthews or Hawk was Jones. What the hell is going on out there? I guess Jones is better in coverage. What the hell is going on out there? I guess Jones is a better spy. WTF?

    1. Shawn Neuser November 25, 2014

      Jones was the ILB in the dime defense, which the Packers actually played a fair amount of. I think the point was to get Casey Hayward AND Micah Hyde on the field as much as possible.

      I thought Barrington was alright as a cover linebacker, but they probably likes Jones’ length for that spot.

  7. Phatgzus November 24, 2014

    I’m now convinced you don’t actually watch any more than half of every game (which was fine the previous 3 weeks).

    1) Matthews made a number of plays, including a batted ball that easily could have been a TD, a number of rushes that forced Teddy Bridge-Over-Troubled-Water to get rid of the ball early or step up into the pocket where, if we had consistent pressure inside, he would have likely been sacked more. He was also good in coverage. He missed a play or 2 in the run game again, D still did pretty well vs. a gang of nobody RBs and he gets at least 9% of the credit for that.

    2) Mike Neal did play, and he didn’t have a good day. That dumbass RTP penalty could have cost the Pack the game, maybe even the season. Neal’s likely deeper in MM’s dog house for that than he could ever be for boinkin’ his ball-n’chain (who if you’ve seen her, he very likely would never even think of doing).

    4) Jennings had a TD and a nice catch over the mid for a first down-not a lot of plays, but more than any other Viking receiving option not named Charles Johnson (yet another Packer castoff now playing for the Queens).

    5) Yep, most teams have been doing that since the Chiefs in ’11, that’s older news than “Dewey Defeats Truman”. Only thing is, we have a run game now (see the last drive of the game-5 straight runs for about 30 total yards). Pack would have likely had more if not for penalties/officials (including the Bak-T and Jordy BS holds).

    1. bob November 26, 2014

      yeah… if Matthews didn’t block that pass it could have been a TD for us. Not saying he made a mistake, but… Didn’t you watch this weeks edition of “what you might have missed”? What kind of packers fan ARE you anyway?

  8. MMK November 24, 2014

    Says a lot about this season and fan’s perception of this team that they can win and everybody still gets in a finger pointing hissy fit. Pack didn’t play a good time but I’m starting to doubt that they planned to play them the way they’re going to play the Patriots.

    That said, hawk and jones should not be on the field and #27 should be getting the same number of carries as any premier back when the chips are down.

  9. Don Q November 24, 2014

    The Packers went out there with a vanilla game plan against the queens. We’ll see a more robust execution come next weekend.

  10. Kozak November 25, 2014

    This was EXACTLY the situation the Packers would fail in time after in the past. Close game, have a thin lead, 3-4 minutes left, just need a couple of rushing first downs to win, and they couldn’t do it. This year they can, and that will be huge come January and the playoffs….

  11. Pack November 25, 2014

    I agree. They usually lose these trap games. And that is just what this one was. You can see the lack of intensity from team. They were all thinking ahead to the Pats- which should be some hell of a game. Will definitely need R Rodgers & Davante Adams to step up.