The holiday season is here and, evidently, so are the Packers. Their five-game win streak has been largely ignored by everyone outside of Wisconsin—although, the Chargers have had the same treatment for the last eight—as the defense has been a terrible monster for opposing offenses.
Aaron Rodgers might actually have a legitimate running back behind him and a superstar tight end in the making. Charles Woodson is making his case for Defensive Player of the Year, and Clay Matthews is making offensive linemen look absolutely silly.
However, I am going to be greedy this holiday season. I want a Super Bowl, and this is what it's going to take for the Packers to make the trip to Miami.
So Santa, this is what I want for Christmas (or even by Jan. 3, when they end their regular season. No rush).
5. Do not let this team get complacent
The Packers are not in the playoffs.
Three games are left, and wild-card spots are still there for the taking. The Packers have hit their longest winning streak since 2007 and now is not the time to let off the gas. Green Bay has a tendency to slow things down once they're ahead, or play to the level of their opponent. Case in point—Tampa Bay.
Pittsburgh is the perfect trap game because: A) You can see the playoff light at the end of the tunnel, B) The Steelers have lost five straight games, and C) The Packers just got done from a brutal divisional game in which they beat the Bears on the road.
I do not want the Packers to lose close to the Steelers and then play half-heartedly at Lambeau against the Seahawks, because those two are really the games they have left. I think the Packers-Cardinals double-header is going to happen which shortens the season to 15 games and hurts the Packers, because I am sure there is more to Capers defense of which we have yet to have down pat.
This has kind of busted things out of the water now that Chillar got a contract—who saw that coming? I wish they would wait on this until after the season.
It won't necessarily affect play on the field, but you have to think Collins, who was already seeing dollar signs before the season, has to be thinking why he isn't getting one. Ted is not cheap—look at Jennings' and Grant's contracts—and players will be paid, but will he be put off by this and go somewhere else? Maybe.
Look at Walker, McKenzie, Sharper, and others who walked away because they did not get their paycheck when they wanted it. The Packers have a solid young nucleus to work with, and Collins is a part of that. Green Bay should retain him, and pay him well—he has played well for a second straight year to earn this paycheck.
3. Keep Pickett, Raji and Jenkins healthy. Oh, and keep Jolly out of jail
The most under-appreciated players on the team. I know plenty have pointed out their merits to the team from time to time, but they go unnoticed for the most part.
Last year, it was unbelievably frustrating watching the Packers collapse as they let every opposing running back mow them down in the fourth quarter. This year, it has become a strength—the Packers have the second best rush defense only allowing 85 yards a game.
They haven't taken on bad running backs either—they've taken on the second, third (twice), eighth, and ninth highest yardage gainers this year.
Although Pickett was out last week, he does look better , and there couldn't be better news for the Packers. Sure, Green Bay held Chicago down last week, but it is Chicago. And while Raji looked good, we need as many big men as possible for the playoffs.
Clay Matthews and Brad Jones have opened some eyes, but those big men are gobbling up the rest of the offensive linemen to give others better lanes to the quarterback.
Jolly is another situation. While I doubt he goes to jail—I mean come on, he is an NFL player—his trial is in Texas, which makes things a bit more dicey. Texas—at least the law enforcement part of it—does not take too kindly to druggies.
Jolly's sentence could be between two and 20 years if convicted, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and his defense will most likely be that the 200 grams of codeine wasn't his.
All I know is that these big guys need to stay healthy, because everything starts at the line of scrimmage. Woodson, Collins, and the rest of secondary can thank the line for forcing bad throws and freeing up lanes for a sack.
2. Fix Mason Crosby's leg
If there one problem so blindingly bright, it's this.
At the beginning of the season, we were looking for Mason to rebound after a dismal 2008. Fans were wondering, "What happened to 2007 Crosby that led the league in scoring?" Of course, with all that scoring made us overlook his 80 percent kicking percentage, putting him in the bottom half of kickers. He put up an encore of that in 2008 with 79 percent.
Now, McCarthy screwed with those stats because he had Mason jack up kicks from anywhere on the field, including the hilarious 69-yarder McCarthy gave him at Detroit last year.
But, the problem this year has creeped closer and closer to the yellow uprights, even into the 30-39 range. In the last three games, Crosby is 2-for-5 outside of 30(!) yards. He hasn't even made a 50-plus yarder since Week One, and Crosby has a cannon of a leg. Add all that together, and Crosby is 75 percent for the season. The worst part is, winter has barely touched down to affect his kicking.
Before the season, Crosby "figured out" what he was doing wrong as to pushing the ball. Now, for the last three games the last three misses have all been to the right and it appears the problem is still there.
Maybe Rodgers needs to stall more drives into the red zone in these upcoming weeks. Hell, since we're playing Arizona two weeks in a row, we can give Crosby plenty of practice. Don't even try to get a touchdown, just strategically place the ball to get practice from all distances.
Okay, this one is kind of weird, but let me explain. Since the Packers would have a very hard time winning the North, as of now, I want the Vikings to think they are God's team so the Packers can kick them off their throne. There would be nothing more satisfying than seeing the Packers exact revenge for what happened in the regular season in the playoffs.
I want to elaborate so much more on this, but it is for another time.
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