Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Week 3 Preview
In this issue:
The Vikings take on the 49ers
The Bears host St. Louis
The Lions head to Tennessee
The Packers head to Seattle
Two one-sided looking games this week as the 49ers have an easy one in Minnesota, the Lions play a struggling team in Tennessee. Two dangerous games with the Bears taking on the Rams and the Seahawks hosting the Pack.
The San Francisco 49ers continue their swing through the NFC North when they head to Minnesota. From a talent standpoint, there is no comparison. The Niners are legitimate Super Bowl contenders (barring a key injury). The Vikings don’t look like a playoff team. The Niners played two good teams in Green Bay at Lambeau and the Lions in San Francisco and won both games. The Vikings played two weak teams in Jacksonville (a win) and at Indy (a loss). Sure, things can change as the season goes on, but right now, it’s a big gap. The only thing that closes it to some extent is another trip across the county for San Francisco and a potential letdown after taking on two better teams. Potential being the key, as it’s hard to imagine Jim Harbaugh letting his team show up flat. The won’t. The Niners are 7 point favorites. Unless they stop the game in the first half, Niners by at least 10.
The Bears have had extra time to get ready after getting pummeled by the Packers Thursday night in Week 2. The Rams stayed close in Detroit week 1 and beat Washington (actually Washington beat Washington) week 2. Things went well for Jay Cutler in Week 1 and they won easily over the Colts. However, Indy managed to get close to Cutler and sacked him twice. The Packers laughed at 2 sacks and took Cutler down with the ball 7 times, picked him off 4 times, and generally made his life miserable. When the going gets tough, Cutler calls out his teammates. On national TV.
The Rams look like a competitive team this season. Jeff Fisher is a good coach and Sam Bradford is playing like he did 2 years ago. They have played against good offenses and both games were close and came down to the last possession. This is not an easy game for the Bears. They are the home team, they are a good team, and they are favored by 7 and a half. Expect a close game, unless the Rams get heat on Cutler early and often. I like the Rams to stay close if they don’t get many sacks, and to win easy if they get 4 or more. The Bears win easy if the Rams don’t touch Cutler. The Bears will try to run Matt Forte and Michael Bush and keep the pressure off Cutler, but it still comes down to Cutler. I’ll say Chicago by 3.
The Lions are coming off a loss Sunday night in San Francisco. Now they head to Tennessee to play the Titans. The Titans were lit up by the Patriots in week 1 and crushed by the Chargers last week. That’s really the only thing that gives the Titans hope—back to back road games, coming off a loss where they didn’t look too good. Detroit has a big play offense, the Titans have no offense or defense. It’s really hard to see Tennessee stay within 10. The line is only 7. OK, let’s go with the Lions.
The Seahawks are one of the easier teams to figure out in recent years. They are very good at home, not so much on the road. That could be changing—not the good at home, but the bad on the road. This week, the game is in Seattle as the Packers come in for Monday Night Football. The Packers defense was incredible against Chicago last Thursday after struggling against the Niners week 1. The Seahawks came close in Arizona week 1, then ran away from Dallas by 20 last week at home.
The buzz is about rookie quarterback Russell Wilson beating out Matt Flynn. Fans of the Wisconsin Badgers know Wilson came in, learned the playbook, worked hard and led the team to a great season. If not for a few defensive meltdowns they could have been undefeated in the regular season, but Wilson gave them a chance in every game. In two games with the Seahawks, he’s done the same thing. They had a chance in Arizona but couldn’t score a late TD, even with several potential game winning throws in the end zone. No problem getting by Dallas.
The Packers, meanwhile, were overmatched in week 1 against the 49ers, then turned the tables and dominated the Bears in week 2. Aaron Rodgers and the passing game still aren’t where they were last week, but the defense is showing signs of improvement early in the season. The Packers are facing an under-rated defense and an offense that at this point relies on Marshawn Lynch more than the passing game. The Packers are 3 and a half point favorites. Hard to pick against Seattle at home. But the Packers have had extra time to get ready, playing on Thursday in Week 2 and Monday in Week 3. It doesn’t seem likely the Packers passing game will look better against a good Seahawk defense, but I don’t think Aaron Rodgers will have another game below his standards. Pack by 4.