Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Playoff Bye Week

The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al.

Stress-Free:  Hey, what a week it was. I watched four football games without an ounce of stress involved. That was different!

Saints - Vikings: While I expected Minnesota to make it a game, I never expected the Saints to lose at home. There is zero doubt the Vikings offense is a different animal with Dalvin Cook at running back. That, in turn, makes Kirk Cousins a much better quarterback. Can they possibly pull off an upset of the 49ers?

Seahawks - Eagles:  My pick here was Eagles all the way and I'm still convinced that if Wentz doesn't go down, the Eagles would have prevailed. 

Packers Fandom: Face it, we all pretty much assumed the Saints would be our opponent at Lambeau. And we were all doing a great job of convincing ourselves that the Saints playing in the cold would be enough to swing the balance in our favor. And yet, with the Saints eliminated, you could almost feel a collective sigh of relief from Packers fans. As if maybe they were kidding themselves about the Packers chances and now suddenly they have an "easier" team to play. WARNING: That is a POLLUTED MINDSET. I consider the Seahawks as dangerous as the Saints. Russell Wilson is an X-factor that you just can't always account for. Watching the Seahawks the last two weeks, they pretty much invite you to come after Wilson and then use your over-aggressiveness against you. Plus, Wilson throws a helluva good deep ball - they will take their shots and try to exploit what has been the weakness of this Packers' defense - giving up explosive plays. I feel good about the Packers' offense in this game, especially if they stay committed to running the football with both Jones and Williams.

Running Game: Speaking of running the ball, the last time these two teams met, in November of 2018, the Seahawks beat the Packers in what was a all-too-familiar "abandon the run" performance from Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. This despite the Packers holding a lead for all but about 7 minutes in that game. Re-watching the game, things that stood out: Kyler Fackrell with 3 sacks. Rodgers with perfect deep ball accuracy. Third down futility by the Packers, highlighted by Rodgers holding onto the ball and taking sacks. But what was the worse part of that game? Aaron Jones with seven rushes, four catches and two TDs in the first half, becoming the forgotten man in the second half. Looking at the second half drive chart, it pretty much looks like this: Rodgers (shotgun), Rodgers (shotgun), Rodger (shotgun). And that's only a slight exaggeration. Meanwhile Seattle, despite being behind most of the game, ran the ball 30 times (35 if you count Wilson). If LaFleur/Rodgers don't pull a McCarthy/Rodgers, I feel really good about them advancing.

Speaking of Mike McCarthy: MM as a Cowboy? I see that getting off to a really good start. MM is re-energized and supposedly throwing himself into more modern-day coaching philosophies and embracing analytics. He takes over a team with a talented roaster that was a bit rudderless. McCarthy will get them on the right track and the Cowboys will win the NFC East next year. When they then get knocked out of the playoffs, things will start to unravel a bit. Mike McCarthy is no Jason Garrett, in that I don't see him putting up with a bully owner. Should be entertaining. For now though, it's a JJ - MM love fest - hey they even had a sleepover!

 

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Comments (45)

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murf7777's picture

January 08, 2020 at 06:32 am

“Stay in your lane bro”. We do that and contain Wilson from making crucial first downs with his legs, the Packers should win this game. Make Wilson be a pocket passer. Strong rushing fundamentals is needed and I believe we have the right people on the bus.

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dobber's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:25 am

Maybe, but Wilson is no Mitch Trubisky: he can play from the pocket, too. It's more than contain, they've got to get pressure up the gut and force him to play moving backward rather than giving him an opportunity to step up. Coverage needs to be able to hold up for an extra beat or two.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:54 am

Seattle had 7 games ...out of 16....where they scored 21 or less. Yes, they hit 30 or better 5 times, but this is an offense that gets contained quite a bit of the time.

Defensively, despite the fact that they get a lot of takeaways, they’re a below average bunch. I know that’s not easy to believe, but it is true. The Packer defense is better, especially in the red zone. We should be able to score on these guys as long as we don’t stop ourselves.

Wilson is really good, but he’s less good if we keep him in the pocket, and that should be our priority......not sacks, containment.

This is a winnable game, and if we play well, we should advance.

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murf7777's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:54 am

Totally agree, Z and Clark are Key to getting that done. What I meant by stay in your lane is not to get out of position, disciplined pressure is needed, but Wilson makes things happen much more outside of the pocket then in. If we get pressure, we can sack him or he will make a mistake on errant throws. I believe that is the way the game will go. We will win, by winning the TO battle.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Keep two safeties deep to prevent the Big Play. Make them earn their yards. The Pack Fans hopefully maintain their Energy throughout the contest. A.Jones, Williams and Ervin running the ball. The inconsistent players should stay on the bench.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:28 pm

IMO, this is where your big dollar vets, who’ve been in the playoffs before, have to set the tone. Rodgers, Adams, Graham, Bulaga, Etc have to be the guys that lead us this week. The younger guys will be fine if the older guys can do what they’re paid for.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:34 pm

The Pack D line has been getting better incrementally with the run stop. The O line should be in grinder mode. Bulaga and Bhak should keep Clowney in check. Tramon will have the D backs focused. Pettine has Martinez positioned better down the stretch. Go get'em.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 08, 2020 at 06:38 am

"Confessions of a Polluted Mindset - 2019 Playoff Bye Week
The weekly Packers Brain Drain from Jersey Al. "
The one column that I absolutely look forward to every week.

Stress-Free: It was awesome being able to watch games and not having to worry whether or not my team would win. Also it was nice being able to check out some of the other 'best of the best' teams. And I must say, that if these are the best of the best, people need to stop complaining about winning ugly. That was some ugly football that was played.

Saints - Vikings: I honestly thought the Saints would blow out the Vikings. But the Vikings won the way you need to win, in the trenches. Their DL stopped the Saints offense.

Seahawks - Eagles: I also thought the Eagles would have won. Now that we are playing the Seahawks, I'm really hoping that the travel time affects the Seahawks. They just played an East Coast game, had to travel back to the west coast and now have to come to the Midwest. That is a lot of traveling in a week.

Packers Fandom: I assumed the Saints were coming. I honestly liked that matchup to be honest. Drew Brees coming into a winter weather type of setting. Their 'fast' players on a slow track. I just liked that matchup. Now we have the Seahawks. I completely agree that this will not be an easy game. But I will say that I think we have the type of defense that can control Wilson. We can get pressure with our front 4. We have the flexible hybrid players that can come in and either Spy Wilson or can take care of the RB's coming out of the backfield. Russell Wilson is the magic man. Somehow someway he always gets his team in position to possibly win. The Packers need to get out to a good lead and control the game. The Seahawks defense is not the defense of old. But they do have good players. The offense needs to find some rhythm. Hopefully the bye week allowed them to reset themselves.

Running Game: Running is key to the offense. But not only running the ball, getting the RB's the ball in the passing game. All 3 of the RB's I expect to be used heavily in this game. I think Ervin is going to have a big play or a few of them. I wouldn't be surprised if they used multiple RB's on the field together. I also expect to see some trickery type of plays. The Jet motion I think will be used more, to try and get the eyes of Wagner and Wright off of the RB's.

Speaking of Mike McCarthy: I hate to say it really but I think that was a good move by the Cowboys. I think McCarthy will do well there. It looks like he is putting together a pretty good staff too. Cowboys have a lot of talent, and an owner that is willing to make bold moves. They may be a really tough team moving forward.

BTW, I laughed hard every time I saw that sleepover video.

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dobber's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:20 am

Bearmeat laughed at me, but I actually had the Vikings beating the Saints last week. Even before losing Alonso to a knee, they were beat up in the middle of their defense. I thought Cook would be the difference-maker, there. Maybe the game didn't play out as I thought it would, but my guess was right.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Cook is a dangerous runner. An ALL Pro and he proved it. Defense still wins championships.

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NickPerry's picture

January 08, 2020 at 06:42 am

FINALLY, a Packers Seahawks game at Lambeau. This is exactly the game I wanted for GB and I won't lie, I'm happy it's not the Saints. Though I do think the Packers in 20 degrees weather had an excellent chance against Drew Brees and the Saints, I like their chances better against the Seahawks.

The Seahawks are without Carson, a few O-Linemen, and whoever else they may have on the injury report. I DON'T GIVE A DAMN!!!! How many times have we watched the Packers limp into the playoffs the last 10 or 12 years? The Pack is healthy...DEAL with it.

I commented yesterday this is Aaron Jones team and today like Al I think this is an Aaron Jones game. I think Jones and Williams will both have big games. But who I'm really excited to watch is Za'Darius Smith. The voters SCREWED the man again and it will be Russell Wilson this week to feel the wrath of Smith's snub. It's going to be a GREAT Sunday at Lambeau.

Congrats to Coach McCarthy...I wish you and your family all the success in the world...Except on those Thursdays, Sundays, or Monday Nights against Green Bay!

GO PACK GO!

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Razer's picture

January 08, 2020 at 06:44 am

...There is zero doubt the Vikings offense is a different animal with Dalvin Cook at running back...

When we played the Vikes, they had a fullback and Daniel Boone in their backfield. We tee'd off on Cousins and beat them handily. Imagine Aaron Rodgers without Aaron Jones this year. Let's hope our offense comes at Seattle from all directions including RB and TE. Should be a good game. Go Packers

Good luck to Mike McCarthy. He deserved another shot - unfortunately he will have to contend with the Jones factor.

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CAG123's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:38 am

I think that’s a testament to the Packers game plan than any ineptitude by Mike Boone because then the very next week against the Bears he goes off for 148 yards on just 17 carries and the Bears were playing starters.

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murf7777's picture

January 08, 2020 at 10:03 am

CAG, that is very true, we also have to give credit where credit is due. MLF has really impressed me this year. Packer's made a great choice!

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Pack beat the queens fair and square @ Lambeau with Cook and Ham in the lineup that afternoon.

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PeteK's picture

January 08, 2020 at 07:39 am

Seattle's compromised running game will be a great advantage to our defense as it was our weakness on many occasions. We will probably be in a nickel D spying Wilson with my guess, Amos. Hilarious video! I was hoping that MM would be out of the NFC as I still have great respect for him as a coach and unfortunately Dallas is an ideal landing spot for him.

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Spock's picture

January 08, 2020 at 08:23 am

Always enjoy Al's column. I loved, loved, loved, the sleepover video! Hilarious. I wasn't as crazy about Drew Brees coming into Lambeau as others here; I actually prefer the Seahawks outside their stadium. I'm excited about this game! Go, Pack, Go!

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Johnblood27's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:44 am

Seattle is 8-1 outside of their stadium.

Not a gimmee although match-ups do seem to be in the Packers favor. I hope that doesn't go to their heads.

I would like to see a "pretty": win this week, meaning GBP win in the trenches and control the game with a nice comfortable lead throughout the game, not a nail-biter in the closing seconds.

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PackfanNY's picture

January 08, 2020 at 08:32 am

Great stuff Al. A couple of thoughts.

1- Yes Dalvin Cook is special and it certainly improves Kirk Cousins. However, the Vikings O-line hasn’t gotten any better. The SF pass rush can be special. If they get going downhill, especially if they grab a lead the Vikings will struggle enormously.

2- You mention the last time the Packers met the Seahawks but that game, if I recall correctly was played in Seattle. Big difference playing on offense when the noise kicks up a notch especially in Seattle. Let’s hope our fans are, shall we say, well oiled by the late start time. This is where we need to “hear” home field advantage.

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Handsback's picture

January 08, 2020 at 08:34 am

Green Bay has one game to worry about...the Seahawks. Take care of business and move on. I like what NickPerry said in regards to injuries, the Seahawks are banged up. Well, tough because for the past 10 years thee Packers have been short-handed in every play-off appearance. I remember a DT playing OG against the Falcons because they ran out of bodies. I remember a limping OLB , who was a UDFA rookie, running after Kapernick because there weren't any healthy LBs left. Every team left in the playoffs is dangerous and can win it all.
I hope the Packers play with a chip on their shoulder and prove to everyone they are capable of winning the SB. I think they have a better team, but also thought that in 2014 and we all remember that outcome.
My prediction on the game: Green Bay 23 Seahawks 17

Lastly, I have mentioned before I live in the North Dallas area. The Cowboys have a very, very talented roster. They do have issues with their CBs, and maybe LBs but the difference between Garrett and MM is so striking that Dallas fans will be happy with the change. MM has one thing in Dallas that he didn't have in Green Bay....someone willing to go after experienced players to fill in roster gaps verses depending on draft and develop. Also no state income tax that will appeal to FA s that want to make a move. I'm glad Green Bay doesn't play the Cowboys next year and hopefully the year after, but feel they will meet in the playoffs.

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LeotisHarris's picture

January 08, 2020 at 08:35 am

Sweet baby Jeebus, Al! That sleepover vid cannot be unseen.

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dobber's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:26 am

The word is 'unnerving'.

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PeteK's picture

January 08, 2020 at 10:15 am

Yes and the tapping of the nose was a total brain drain, hahahahaha!!!

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Lphill's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:01 am

This is a game the Packers should win no butts about it. As for the Vikings Saints if Brees doesn’t fumble that ball the Saints win that game.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 08, 2020 at 09:11 am

I'm ready for this game to start now!

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Tarynfor12's picture

January 08, 2020 at 10:29 am

"They pretty much invite you to come after Wilson and then use your over-aggressiveness against you. Plus, Wilson throws a helluva good deep ball - they will take their shots and try to exploit what has been the weakness of this Packers' defense - giving up explosive plays."

Cory Jennerjohn wrote an article about the Magic of Wilson. I was going to write this comment but figured it to late but Jersey Al gives me another chance.

Wilson's magic is like the magic of a magician which isn't real but a performance based on illusion which is successful depending on the 'willing participation' of the audience or in Wilson's case the Packers defense. The ability of the audience to decipher the how of the trick by the magician is far greater than that of a defense to do same with Wilson because of proximity to the magician. The Packers defense by virtue of having tape of Wilson in such detail should prevent getting fooled so easily and often as they do, and shouldn't be sucked into the illusion presented by Wilson as though seeing him as like an audience seeing the magician for the first time.

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murf7777's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:04 am

Taryn, Wilson has magician like qualities on the field, see me now, now you don't. As I stated above. You need to be disciplined, stay in your lane type pressure. If the front 6 or 7 plays like that and gets consistent pressure onto Wilson, the magician is minimalized and is prone to making mistakes under duress. Wilson takes a lot of sacks and throws errant passes when in those situations. It is up to the Packers front and Pettine's schemes to make that happen. If they do, I'm confident, our DB's will get some INT's and Packers will win this game.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Yes, the over-pursuit is not in order and when they close on him in the pocket his spin move or his backpedal are outstanding. Strong arm accuracy throwing on the move. The DBs have to stay with their man to the whistle.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 08, 2020 at 10:29 am

Don't let Rodgers off the hook for last year. The Seattle second half was a repeat of Detroit and New England. Rodgers throws away the game plan and McCarthy is forced to throw in the second half. With Rodgers checking out of the short game for most of the second half dooming any chance of comeback. Mike had to go, not only had he lost control of Rodgers, but it clear by the Lions game he was burned out. But do not give Rodgers a pass on this. We have seen Rodgers abandon MLF game plan one too many times this year. The Farvre-Rodgers parallels have been striking at times this year. While Rodgers talks a good game, his actions on the field at times told a different story. I don't know which Rodgers will show up on Sunday. The smart discipline QB who runs the system or the SOB slinging it down field playing hero ball. I just don't know...

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murf7777's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:08 am

Flack, how do you know Rodgers is abandoning MLF game plan frequently or "one too many times"? If you have some inside track to the Rodgers/MLF communication I'd love to understand it. Otherwise, it is an assumption.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:30 pm

LaFleur has clearly stated the Game plan in Detroit was to air it out. One healthy RB in Jones, so the air game takes
precedent. He missed some clean shots for TDs and his receivers dropped some nice tosses. When the Game Mattered he delivered. Some of these fans should read the article in the Athletic regarding year-to-year trends for AR and the last years of MM and the aerial circus. Last year in Seattle?--Jersey AL just explained that game in this article.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 08, 2020 at 03:34 pm

Check A. Jones stats in the first six games (I think) then ask again. Rodgers had two strikes going into this season, neither of his own making. He was working in a new scheme that went against what he did successfully in the west coast and McCarthy's successor scheme. And this team was changing key playmakers at the same time, all in a extremely short time frame. You try a change the habits of a football life and see where it gets you. Rodgers habits are to check out to a pass on a RPO and check out of pass to another deep route. He's done it under McCarthy, and he has done it under MLF. It is to Rodgers credit that he has fought his own instincts and in the last half of the season allowed the run game to work.

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CAG123's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:58 am

MLF and Rodgers both wanted to take shots against the Lions I mean they do have the 31st ranked pass def it wasn’t something that Rodgers was just doing this whole “Rodgers continually changing plays” thing has been completely overblown I can’t remember if it was Mercedes or not but a few Packers players already cleared that up according to them Rodgers changed plays at the line like 15-20% of the time he had the liberty to do it as he saw fit but majority of the time it was MM play as called.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 08, 2020 at 03:16 pm

MLF made it clear during his presser that deep shots were only a small part of pass route package. And he was not happy at all the deep shots first half. Packers shifted to the short slants and curl and wheel routes with great success in the second half. Rodgers went off script in the first half and the Packers almost paid for it. As for last year at Detroit, when Lewis was asked if Rodgers went off McCarthy's game plan, he refused to answer. Same with Cobb who talked about their second half comeback, but not about QB 1 play in the first. I do not blame either, after all they had to work with him. But that does not excuse Rodgers behavior in the slightest.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 08, 2020 at 10:44 am

Other than the Vikings, the SeaHawks are the team I hate the most and almost thankful that they are going to coming to Lambeau where we will kick their butts. I hope LeFleur keeps his foot on the gas and absolutely slaughters them for a partial payback for the terrible loss in Green Bay because of that blown call by Lance Easley in 2012 at Lambeau who I had the DISPLEASURE of sitting next to and talking to on the flight from LA to Wisconsin. Too bad I didn't see him on the return flight; I had a few chosen words for him.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:00 am

I say, look at 2014 NFCCG and take the D plan from the first half of that game.Throw away O plan from that game and make your own. Big win would come...

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CAG123's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Go back 5 years when they can just watch the tape of what the Rams, Ravens, and Cardinals did to them? All those teams ran the ball down the Hawks throats each going over 160 yards with the Cardinals going for 253 and the Rams and Cardinals sacked Russ 5 times each. The Packers have the personnel to replicate those game plans successfully with the Smiths, KC, Jones, and Williams. No need to view tape from two totally different teams from 5 years ago.

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fthisJack's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:32 am

The Green Bay Packers need to exact some revenge on a team that got very lucky with the "Fail Mary" and escaped with a big comeback win when MM decided to turtle in the 3rd quarter in 2014. GB 31 SS 17.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 08, 2020 at 03:08 pm

Now we're talking!

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splitpea1's picture

January 08, 2020 at 11:40 am

On paper, the Seahawks are nowhere near as dangerous as the Saints. Even with Wilson's late-game capabilities, I can't see the Packers losing this game unless they collectively decide not to show up like they did against the Chargers. And we all know that's NOT going to happen, right?

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CAG123's picture

January 08, 2020 at 12:55 pm

(Shuffles feet and looks down uncertainly) Hehehe yeah.....sure (forces an awkward smile and laughs uncomfortably)

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Minniman's picture

January 08, 2020 at 01:30 pm

In the photoshop, Jerry looks remarkably like a pale "Baby Yoda" from the show The Madalorian.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 08, 2020 at 02:44 pm

Sage advice. Hope we are all happy Sunday night!

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Qoojo's picture

January 08, 2020 at 03:11 pm

I thought the packers most likely route to the superbowl was beating the Saints then Seahawks/Eagles at home. I thought the Seahawks had the best chance of knocking off the 49ers. As I see it, the Vikings beating the saints almost guarantees that the 49ers make it to the superbowl. It's hard for me to even give the packers a slight chance vs the 49ers, until the packers demonstrate that they can handle the 49ers DL.

I see the packers beating the seahawks because I think the packers can handle their DL sufficiently. Given how every game has gone, it will probably be ugly. I do have reservations due to how bad the packers looked vs the 49ers after the bye.

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CAG123's picture

January 08, 2020 at 03:57 pm

Hey you never know if it was that easy then the Saints and Pats would still be in it hell it Wentz doesn't go down the Eagles probably win that game too because they were moving the ball well with McCown. I believe they capitalize on both redzone trips in the 4th with TDs if Wentz is in because Wentz definitely runs that touchdown that McCown took a sack on attempting to run.

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