They took their time in getting around to dispatching the Detroit Lions, but the Green Bay Packers did what we expected. They beat the Lions, who they’ve owned in games like these over the years, 31-24.
And now we’re on to the New York Giants. That might be an even tougher test than the NFC North championship game was, but at least it will be at home.
Let’s get on with this. Happy new year and here are five more items from the big win.
Quite the Rushing Attack
I may think he’s a Buffoon, but I will say that Mike McCarthy certainly keeps mixing it up. On Sunday night, instead of a heavy dose of Ty Montgomery in the rushing game, we got a heavy dose of fullback Aaron Ripkowski. Who saw that coming? Not the Lions, apparently. Ripkowski ran nine times for 51 yards, a hearty 6.8 yards per carry. Montgomery did just fine himself, toting the ball eight times for 44 yards, a 5.5 yard average. McCarthy even threw in the good old two fullbacks in the backfield play, with Ripkowski and Joe Kerridge. Just keeping the defense off balance!
Allison Continues to Come On
The Vikings game was clearly no flash in the pan for Geronimo Allison. The undrafted rookie was the Packers leading receiver against Detroit, at least in terms of yards. Allison caught four for 91 and a touchdown. He looks like he could be a big play, downfield threat the Packers need. The question now becomes what happens when Randall Cobb returns? Will there still be a role for Allison? There should be.
Down the Middle
I about crapped myself when it happened. Many times, we’ve pointed it out. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw the ball down the middle of the field. He almost exclusively throws to the outside, which is a less dangerous pass. However, Rodgers hit tight Jared Cook right down the middle on Sunday night. Shortly thereafter, he tried the middle again. Probing the middle of the field can only make the Packers’ offense better. They just need to do it. Maybe this is a sign that Rodgers is confident enough in his accuracy and his receivers that he will start taking shots down the middle.
If it Isn’t Randall, It’s Rollins
Getting burned, that is. Both Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have been unmitigated disappointments in their second seasons. Randall was on the bench with a knee injury for part of Sunday night, but he did play and wasn’t completely awful. Rollins, on the other hand, was until he got injured. He repeatedly got beat deep. The Packers secondary is what’s going to keep them from making a playoff run this year. It’s as simple as that. The main reason they’re so bad is because these two guys are so bad. As it is, the offense is going to need to put up a lot of points and outscore everyone for the Packers to win going forward.
Blake is Back
Or at least it sure seemed like it. Linebacker Blake Martinez has been battling a knee injury that has limited him. He didn’t seem limited on Sunday night. Martinez had just three tackles, but two were for a loss and one was a sack. On a night when Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers weren’t doing anything, the Packers badly needed a spark from somewhere else on defense and Martinez provided it.