GPA Week 13 Preview

Gregor’s Packer Analysis

Week 13 Preview

In this issue:

The Lions are home against the Colts
The Bears get the Seahawks in Chicago
The Packers host the Vikings

The Lions have had extra time to think about their Thanksgiving Day overtime loss to the Texans. One reason they came up short was coach Jim Schwartz not knowing the rules about challenging a play that is automatically reviewed (scoring plays and turnovers). That turned a gain of about 8 yards into an 81 yard touchdown run. Obviously the Texans could have scored on that drive, but if there would have been a replay it wouldn’t have been on that play. They’ve been in close games, but find a way to lose. Players are held accountable for making mistakes, this was a big one, especially when it just happened a week earlier.

This week they get the Colts in Detroit. Indy is a good home team, but have had some problems on the road. Andrew Luck can keep them in the game, but the defense gives up almost 25 points a game on the road, and only 19 at home. The Lions score about 24 points a game at home, but give up 25.

The line is Detroit by 6. Indy doesn’t have an answer for Calvin Johnson. But they can probably do enough to keep it close. Detroit by 4.

It just makes you want to puke. The Bears play the Seahawks in Chicago. Talk about getting every break. Chicago plays Andrew Luck in Chicago in Luck’s first NFL start. The Packers play at Indy after their coach is diagnosed with cancer and the team is winning one for Chuck. Green Bay gets a prime time game at Houston, the Texans play in prime time in Chicago. The Packers play the Giants and the Saints as their extra games (plus the AFC South, the NFC West, and each divisional opponent twice). The Bears get Dallas and Carolina. All the sweeter when the Pack wins the North.

The Seahawks are tough to beat at home (especially with replacement refs blowing call after call, but I digress). They aren’t that special on the road. They score over 24 points a game at home, but just 16 without the 12th man. They give up 19 on the road compared to just over 13 at home. And the most important stat in a Chicago game, the number of sacks, is about three and a half at home and two if it’s a road game. That’s not enough to rattle Cutler.

The line is Chicago by 3.5. In Seattle the Seahawks win the game. Here, the lucky Bears get a win by 4.

The Packers host the Vikings to start a run of 4 division games out of 5 to end the regular season. The Vikings thought Percy Harvin might be back this week, but he was held out of practice on Thursday. Greg Jennings, meanwhile, was a full participant and will play. Which means the Green Bay offense just got better, and the Vikings offense is Adrian Peterson and 10 other guys. While the Pack isn’t the best defense in the NFL, it’s not hard to stop a one dimensional offense, or at least slow it down. Christian Ponder can complete short passes, but with no receiving threat to get deep, it will be hard to get big chunks. And keep drives going.

But while the news on Jennings is good, Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson won’t be back this week. And Cedric Benson and Derek Sherrod won’t be back this season. So no help on the way at running back or the O line. Not good news.

After getting dominated by the Detroit and New York Giant defensive lines, it gets a little easier this week for the Pack’s O line. Yes, Jared Allen can get to Aaron Rodgers, but protecting Rodgers is an emphasis this week. Glad they got around to emphasizing that. And Minnesota’s pass rush isn’t the same on the road as it is at home. If they could only get to Cutler once last week in Chicago, Rodgers will probably have a little more time this week.

If the Packers are going to win the division, it starts by beating the Vikings on Sunday. The line is Green Bay by 7. Packers by 10.

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