So with that, here’s my take on each of the remaining games.
Sun., Oct. 25 @ Cleveland Browns – Clearly a game Green Bay should win. Cleveland is atrocious. They lost their last talented receiver with the departure of Braylon Edwards. Their offense ranks 30th in total points and 31st in yards/game. Their defense has given up the 5th most points in the league and more yards/game (407) than any other team. They are probably the worst team in the league. Losing to them would be a colossal setback. I don’t expect it to happen.
Prediction: Win – Record: 4-2
Sun., Nov. 1 Minnesota Vikings – The NFL moved this to a 3:15 start time “due to logistical issues in Philadelphia should the Philadelphia Phillies be in the World Series.” Yeah, whatever – what difference to a Packers-Vikings game does a Philadelphia World Series have??? They know this will be a ratings boom. Their Monday night game was the most-watched program in cable history, with 21.8 million viewers. Favre’s return to Lambeau will have even more drama. This could be the Packers best/last shot at winning the NFC North. But I think they will just fall short of pulling it off. Vikings pass rush will be too much.
Prediction: Loss – Record: 4-3
Sun., Nov. 8 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Another awful team, that the Packers should beat. Tampa’s defense has given up the 4th most points in the league, and the 6th most yards. Their offense is equally inept – 26th in points and 28th in yards/game – with an inexperienced quarterback in Josh Johnson that has a propensity to turn the ball over. Should be a win.
Prediction: Win – Record: 5-3
Sun., Nov. 15 Dallas Cowboys – This may be the second time since the Ice Bowl that Dallas has come to Lambeau. We lost to them at home last year, but we are better and they are worse than a season ago. Romo is struggling, and they have tough games against Atlanta and at Philadelphia in the next 3 weeks. If they lose those, they could spiral into the customary Cowboys finger-pointing, even without TO. I think we take advantage of that and send them packing.
Prediction: Win – Record 6-3
Sun., Nov. 22 San Francisco 49ers – I have a weird feeling that the Packers are going to go 1-1 between this game and the Cowboys game. Since I picked them to beat Dallas, I guess I need to pick them to lose to San Francisco at home. I went to a 49ers game out here, and they looked pretty darn good (this was before their surprising meltdown against the Falcons). If Gore is healthy, and they play disciplined defense, I think we could have our hands full and San Fran will eek out a tough win.
Prediction: Loss – Record 6-4
Thurs., Nov. 26 @ Detroit Lions – In spite of our “ugly” 26-0 shutout last week, this game scares me a little. If Stafford and Calvin Johnson are back, not to mention most of their defensive line, this will be a very different Lions team than the one we faced last week. They’ve shown some fight against good teams this year, and they will surprise someone -- hopefully, not us. We never play well in Detroit. Plus it’s the Thanksgiving game. I still think we pull it out, but I’m worried about this game giving me an extremely bad case of pumpkin pie indigestion.
Prediction: Win – Record 7-4
Mon., Dec. 7 Baltimore Ravens – Monday night in Lambeau in December. Should be electric. Baltimore is on a three-game skid, but they are a really good team. They put up 21 points in the last 10 minutes against Minnesota last week. All their losses have been extremely close. They could easily be undefeated at this point. They also match up really well against us – a bruising tandem of runners, an accurate athletic QB, and, of course, a stifling defense. Home field and the Monday night energy will give us an edge, but I think the Ravens upset us.
Prediction: Loss – Record 7-5
Sun., Dec. 13 @ Chicago Bears – This game is always a hard one to call. I can’t tell yet if Chicago is good, or if Cutler with no Urlacher is going to spell disaster for them. We’ll find out between now and then, as Chicago plays Cincinnati, Arizona, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Minnesota before they play us. I think Cutler’s inconsistency, Forte’s inability to get the running game going, and a defense that is good-not-great, will result in a mediocre team that we can beat.
Prediction: Win – Record 8-5
Sun., Dec. 20 @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Tough game, on the road, against the Super Bowl champs, in December. The Parker-Mendenhall duo scares me – so does Big Ben, and Hines Ward, and not to mention their defense. They showed some weakness for a few weeks, but that was mostly due to Polomalu being out. That’s the only reason Chicago was able to beat these guys. I just can’t see us being able to run against them, or protect Rodgers. And they will be in playoff mode by this time of the year.
Prediction: Loss – Record 8-6
Sun., Dec. 27 Seattle Seahawks – Very winnable game. Matt Hasselbeck, who is still being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder for his epic blunder “we want the ball and we’re going to score” comment in OT of the first-round playoff game in 2004, will struggle. Seattle isn’t very good, and they will be particularly bad at Lambeau in January, as they demonstrated last time they visited us.
Prediction: Win – Record 9-6
Sun., Jan. 3 @ Arizona Cardinals – If this game were in Green Bay, we’d win it easily. We dominated Arizona in the pre-season game, and they appear to be no better than an 8-8 team. This game could be a playoff game for both teams, though – a must win for the last wildcard spot. I just think we match up very well against them. Woodson and Harris can handle Fitzgerald and Boldin. That will let us get pressure on Warner and shut down their running game. Their defense is decent, but I think Rodgers can pick them apart.
Prediction: Win – Record 10-6
It is, unfortunately, difficult to see how Minnesota finishes any worse than 12-4 and most likely wins the division. Between Pittsburgh this week and us the following week, they need to get a loss or two. If they are 8-0 into their break (with two wins against us) it’s over – their only hard games after their bye are against New York, Arizona and Chicago (twice). Even if they lose all of those, they’d still be 12-4. What's depressing is that even if they lose both to both the Steelers this week and us the following week, they are still likely going to win 11+ games.
Here are my picks for the remainder of the Vikings season:
- @ Pittsburgh – Prediction: Loss – Record 6-1
- @ Green Bay – Prediction: Win – Record 7-1
- Detroit – Prediction: Win – Record 8-1
- Seattle – Prediction: Win – Record 9-1
- Chicago – Prediction: Win – Record 10-1
- @ Arizona – Prediction: Loss – Record 10-2
- Cincinnati – Prediction: Win – Record 11-2
- @ Carolina – Prediction: Win – Record 12-2
- @ Chicago – Prediction: Loss – Record 12-3
- New York Giants – Prediction: Loss – Record 12-4
Obviously, we’re all hoping for a Vikings meltdown, like the Jets had last year. But I don’t see that happening – Favre isn’t being asked to do as much, his shoulder is healthy, and he can rely on his running game and defense much more. Even if we beat them in two weeks, taking the Division title will be an uphill battle. We need something flukey, like Peterson going out for the season, to have a chance of catching them.
So that means we’re most likely playing for a wild card. I see the Falcons as a shoe-in for the other wild card, so that means we’re most likely competing against Dallas, Chicago, and either Arizona or San Francisco for the other spot – and we play all those teams. Those become close to must-win games for us, if we’re going to make it to the post-season. The NFC has a lot of bad teams this year, so the good teams will, therefore, have better records. I’m not sure a 9-7 record would get us in. But I like our chances of getting to 10-6 and I think that will do the trick. Just hope we don’t have to open up with an away game at the Metrodome!
So those are my prediction. Give me yours! I want comments!!!