Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Week 7 Preview
In this issue:
The Vikings host Arizona
The Bears host the Lions
The Packers head to St. Louis
The Vikings are off to a 4-2 start and look to improve to 4-0 at home when they host Arizona on Sunday. Minnesota has lost at Indy and at Washington, not exactly great teams. But they are undefeated at home, including a win over San Francisco. Christian Ponder has started to turn the ball over, but he got away with it against Tennessee at home. He didn’t against the Redskins, but that was on the road.
Arizona looked strong at the beginning of the season, but hasn’t looked as good lately. They are 1-1 on the road, beating New England in Week 2, and losing to St. Louis 17-3 two weeks ago. Two bad games two weeks in a row (losing to Buffalo on Sunday after the St. Louis loss) isn’t looking like a desirable trend. John Skelton starts this week at quarterback after Kevin Kolb was knocked out of the game last week. Skelton was the starter in week 1, but lost his job to Kolb. So not a huge dropoff from starter to backup. William Powell is now getting most of the carries for the Cardinals. Adrian Peterson has that job in Minnesota. Advantage Vikings.
The line is Minnesota by 6. It sounds like a lot, but Arizona is stumbling, and it’s tough to get it back on the road. They might be OK next week, but this has a Minnesota win written all over it. Vikings by 9.
The Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. The Lions had one win going into their bye week in week 5. They should have one win going into Monday night, but the Eagles were gracious hosts and gave away a 10 point 4th quarter lead. The Bears have one loss, to the Green Bay Packers in a game that was thoroughly dominated by the Packers—7 sacks, 4 picks, the Bears had no yards at the end of the first quarter, I could go on and on and on with happy memories, but I digress.
Chicago has played well in their other games, and are coming off a bye. The Lions are 1-2 on the road, the Bears are 2-0 at home. The line is Chicago by 5. The Lions were one of the favorites to win the division before the season but have looked like anything but a playoff team. Maybe the odds makers think the division rivalry will keep it close. Maybe they think Chicago will be rusty coming off the bye. Maybe pigs will fly. Yes, the Lions have a shot with Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. But Detroit’s iffy running game and marginal secondary make the Bears job a lot easier. Bears by 10 or more.
The Green Bay Packers head to St. Louis to take on the Rams. The Packers have played two complete games this season and won them both, beating the Bears and coming off a dominating win over the Houston Texans. The Rams haven’t been flashy, but they’ve kept games low scoring and have hung around. They’ve scored 110 points and given up 111 in the first 6 games. They score under 20 points a game, and give up under 20 points a game. . They’re 3-0 at home, and 0-3 on the road. That’s pretty consistent.
The Packers finally looked like the 2010 and 2011 versions, racking up 427 yards and putting up 42 points in Houston. The defense only gave up 17 points, special teams gave up a blocked punt that the Texans scored on. Aaron Rodgers numbers look good and keep getting better. This is Green Bay’s third of three straight road games. The tour of the Midwest ends Sunday after previous stops in Indy and Houston.
The injury toll climbed, losing linebacker DJ Smith for the season. BJ Raji and Greg Jennings didn’t play against the Texans, and might not against the Rams, although Raji should be back. Sam Shields and Ken Perry were also injured and it looks like they won’t play this week, along with Jennings.
The line is Green Bay by 6. The Rams play in close games, and the Packers haven’t shown enough consistency yet this season to be confident they’ll put dominant back to back games together. The Rams don’t score much but they don’t give up much, especially at home. Green Bay by 4.