Packers To Face Toughest Challenge Yet

The Green Bay Packers' bye week is over and it's time to get back to work.  They're on the road in week eight against the Denver Broncos, another team that is also undefeated and coming off their bye week.  The Packers have beaten some tough opponents thus far and get two of the toughest remaining teams in the league this week and next.  After Denver, the Packers stay on the road and face the Carolina Panthers, who improved to 6-0 after knocking off the visiting Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.

The Packers have historically been very good coming off the bye week under Mike McCarthy and this next game will certainly challenge that trend.  The Broncos have a very opportunistic secondary that will test the young receivers of the Packers.  Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib are two of the best corners in the game.  Denver has nine interceptions on the season and are tied with the Packers for takeaway margin at a +6.  The difference in that stat is that while the Broncos have 17 takeaways, they have given it up 11 times, including 10 interceptions.  It would seem as though the Packers can get pressure on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who they are facing for just the fourth time in his long career.  That was supposed to be the case last week against the San Diego Chargers and the Chargers came in with a good gameplan to protect quarterback Philip Rivers.  The Broncos will surely try to do the same for Manning, who has zero mobility.  If the Packers succeed in bringing heat, Manning can be had and will throw a few up for grabs.

A win in this game puts another emphatic statement on a Packers season that has already checked off some important to-do's:  beat Seattle & San Francisco and beat tough, physical defenses (Kanas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams).  Knocking off an undefeated team on the road is always a huge win.  

How about two undefeated teams on the road?  If the Panthers can beat the Indianapolis Colts next Monday night, they'll enter their home game against the Packers the following week at 7-0.  Last week, Carolina beat the Seahawks in Seattle, still a tall task.  Quarterback Cam Newton is playing some of his best football and the Panthers defense is as good as they come.  If Green Bay gets knocked back in Denver, they'll have a tough road ahead to get back on track in Carolina.

The biggest boost the Packers should get are some healthier players.  Among those who should be back at practice this week are B.J. Raji, Morgan Burnett, and Davante Adams.  Those to watch for are Ty Montgomery and Nick Perry.  Perry appears to be another few weeks before he's back.  We'll get the first update on Montgomery sometime mid week.  Injuries have already been an issue for the Packers and the continued winning streak will be much harder to maintain with guys continuously going down.  Running back Eddie Lacy hasn't missed any games this season, but he has also not been his usual self.  Hopefully the extra week off helped his ankle recovery and he can start to become a factor on offense.

This team has had a sense about them throughout the first six week.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as the ring leader, knows that this team can be special.  He'll have the troops rallied and with him under center, the Packers can beat anyone.  His rapport and chemistry with his young receivers will be tested these next two games with loud road atmospheres to battle.  

That's exactly what these games should be and exactly what the Packers need:  battle tests.  Following the games against Denver and Carolina, the Packers have four-straight divisional opponents.  While the games appear tough for the Packers, they could become much tougher for the opposition as they see a Packers team that week after week keeps thriving on the highest challenge and rising to the occasion.  The quest for January football begins now.

I'm just glad the bye week is behind us and it's football every week until the end now.  It truly is a happy Monday!

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (53)

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Chad Toporski's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:24 am

This is going to be a low-scoring game. With both defenses playing extremely well and both offenses struggling, let's hope Crosby's and Masthay's legs are in good shape.

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Evan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:32 am

I agree for the most part.

I said weeks ago that while the Broncos D is better than the Packers, it's not THAT much better. On the flip side, the Packers O is MUCH better than the Broncos' O.

This game will be tough, no doubt, but it's not nearly as daunting as it seemed 3-4 weeks ago.

I see something like 17-10 Packers, with Manning throwing at least 2 picks.

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Beep's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:19 am

Although it's cliche, whoever wins the turnover battle will win this game. I'll take 17-10 as long as the packers only have 1 turnover.

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toolkien's picture

October 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm

It's not a cliche if it's true.

http://pfref.com/tiny/fVPnF

Other than Denver and Kansas City as "exceptions that prove the rule" in opposite directions, there's a huge correlation, to the point of causation, in turnover margin. Teams are much too homogeneous to withstand losing the turnover margin.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:34 am

In a game that has Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers its kind of odd to think that this very well could be a low scoring defensive type of game.

Denver's defense is probably the best in the game right now, and the Packers defense has been very good.

The key to the Packers offense getting back on track is for players to get healthy. Hopefully this week at the very least we can get Adams back.

Also having the bye week will hopefully allow Lacy, Jones and Cobb get closer to 100%.

I would really like to see our offense with everyone healthy again.

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Since'61's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:46 am

Peyton may not have the arm strength he once had but he is still a very smart QB. He will probably use an approach similar to SD to attack our defense. If Raji is back and can get pressure up the middle he can disrupt Manning, especially since he has no mobility. Denver's OL and running game are not great so Packers D should be able to hold the fort. On offense the Packers will need to establish the run, keep Peyton off the field and get play action passing going. Packers OL will need to slow down Denver pass rush. Denver is a tough play to play. Of the next two games it is more important for the Packers to defeat Carolina than Denver. However, I want the Packers to win every game possible. These next 2 games will tell us a lot about how the Packers stack up with the undefeated and better teams in the league. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:54 am

Somehow I feel Broncos task will be much harder than Panthers task... Because, Peyton is elite QB who starts to rapidly fall, but can produce lot of problems to any defense... That game is winnable if Packers rush will reach Peyton... I do not see Panthers offense capable of producing something special - except Newton and Olsen. If you remove Olsen, Newton will be island! Peyton, on other hands has several offensive weapons, so, if Packers pass through Denver I may expect them 8-0 week later. I predict 14-2 or 13-3 season. Before Jordy. Still, that record may be achieved. I see one division loss and one conference loss... Also, I believe Packers team will make good strategy and game plan for both next road games... GO, PACK, GO!

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sonomaca's picture

October 26, 2015 at 09:03 am

I live at 7500 feet of elevation. People who visit us take at least two days to even begin to acclimate physically. It's probably 3 or 4 until they perform at anything close to a normal level. I would suggest the Packers be in Denver by Thursday, at the latest.

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WinUSA's picture

October 26, 2015 at 09:59 am

A very astute comment. I use to live in Colorado Springs and this is common knowledge among the greenies.... I never once heard any one mention that the Super Bowl 32 location (sea level) was in fact partially responsible for the Packers loss. The Broncos had a very distinct advantage coming down from their altitude... they sat on the sidelines laughing at Gilbert Brown who was sucking wind and hardly able to get up off the turf....

I really look forward to some payback...but the altitude will play a factor oxygen mask or not.

GO PACK!

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Evan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 10:25 am

To be fair, Gilbert Brown would have been sucking air and unable to get off the turf at any altitude.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:25 am

The altitude is a major factor for unconditioned general population. For someone is very good condition, its not that much of a factor.

I've been mtn biking and hiking starting from 7000 ft elevation and biked/hiked non stop uphill to as high as 13000 feet and felt minimal impact, due to being in great shape. It'll be a minor impediment being at mile high, but hardly a distinct advantage for a highly conditioned athlete. Packers D has to win on early downs and get off the field and that will negate whatever minimal advantage the altitude has.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 26, 2015 at 06:43 pm

That's b.s. Even very fit people can have problems at altitude.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 26, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Few, not all, not even most. And the effects of altitude only start when you're approaching a mile of elevation, below that the effects are negligible. Studied the effects of elevation and other acclimatization issues in college. Being at Mile High is not that much of a hindrance for highly conditioned athletes. There are a few exceptions, but for the majority of well conditioned people altitude isn't a big issue. Like I said, I didn't feel anything till over 10,000. Get yourself in top condition and find out. If it affects you much your one of the minority. I felt nothing at over 7,000 and minimal at 10,000 ft.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 27, 2015 at 06:28 pm

Yeah I had this discussion while riding from Washington D.C. to California with a guy who lives in Boulder and who had a valid pro cycling license four years ago. How many years since you been to college? Maybe your research is out of date.

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WKUPackFan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 04:00 pm

I assume the altitude will be tough on Eddie's asthma also?

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Chad Toporski's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:06 pm

I wonder how/if this will affect Rodgers' accuracy.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

October 26, 2015 at 09:26 am

"I'm just glad the bye week is behind us and it's football every week until the end now."

Amen. But now I'm starting to wonder what to do on that week between the NFC Championship game and SB.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:23 pm

Don't we want the Packers to get a first round bye as well? Shit. This whole "game every week until the end thing" isn't working out so hot.

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PaulRosik's picture

October 26, 2015 at 09:36 am

At first blush you feel that if the Packers don't give up the turnovers and short fields that they can stop the Denver offense. A punt will not be a bad thing in this game.

This game will test Rodgers ability to extend the play against a good rush and find the open guy against a tough secondary. This Bronco defense is tough against the run and the pass and will be a tough challenge.

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Bearmeat's picture

October 26, 2015 at 09:50 am

Tough games for sure. But GB will win one of the two. Maybe both. If Adams and Cobb and Lacy are full go they will win both.

Between us Carolina Atlanta and Aricona, homefireld advantage will be decided by Thanksgiving.

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porupack's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:02 am

Well, how about this?
Rivers faces a defense that pundits suggest is a top tier defense, and basically eschews the run game, airs it out and gets 500+ yards....which until then would guarantee a victory.
Brady ignored the run game, lights up his pass attack and handles another high quality defense with the most feared DBs in the league with average WRs and Hercules, the TE.
So, one would propose the best QB in the league forget the run game and light up the Broncos d with quick passes and wear out the Defense.....so what-who cares the altitude, they'll still suck air. Plus we supposedly have the far better oline and receivers....so why can't GB do it if Brady and Rivers could. Anyone doubt GBP stacks up? Rogers is better right? I think MM is too predictable, and he can be a slave to this striving to be a balanced offense. I'd like to see him shock Denver with an unbalanced strategy...you know, just for a change. Brady/Rivers proved it works and creates a momentum/rhythm that can wear out a D. The run game won't yield much anyway....so save it till mid Q3 for the most part.
That's my plan for the week, and hereby ready to get hammered by fellow CHTV. I want to know if you also think GBP Oline, QB and WR is as good or better than the both cases above.

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PaulRosik's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:12 pm

It's an idea. If the receivers are healthy the Packers always have the option to line up 4 wide in shotgun and hurry up and throw it like the 2 minute drill the entire game. The Packers did that in 2001 with Favre against the super bowl champion Ravens and that great D and Favre threw for 340 yards and 3 tds to a great win while they only ran the ball for 60 yards that day.

That is a strategy but this Bronco team has been surviving by their defense and a limited offense. They have won two games where they never scored an offensive TD. So there is also a thought that you can play conservative and just not make a big mistake and beat this team.

We've seen very little of the no huddle and fast tempo this season, so some of that may certainly be an idea against this team.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 26, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Totally agree. If you don't make mistakes and turn the ball over Denver is definitely beatable. They've had 2 defensive scores and 1 offensive TE each of the last 2 wks. If you don't give them the ball, they lose both of those games. Their D is legit and good at creating turnovers, but the Packers and Rodgers are great at limiting or eliminating them.

Packers play a clean game and they should win!

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:25 pm

"I think MM is too predictable..."

I seem to recall hearing that MM gave up the play calling this year.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

The idea of Adams JJ And Cobb on the field makes me not worry so much. Talib and Harris Are good, but they can't cover all 3. I see less than 75 yards rushing for either team as well. Low scoring game...evenly matched for the most part. But if I have to pick a difference maker between AR and PM .....AR all day long. Go pack go 7 and 0!

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4thand1's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

I've said this before, Manning had a week of rest too. His old body needed it, and he had extra time to study game film. Look for him to try and repeat what Rivers did. I fully expect GB to come out running, but what do I know?

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Evan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

I don't think a week off is going to make Manning's arm 10 years younger.

His decline isn't limited to this season. Look back over his past 16 games. He has something like 22 TDs and 26 INTs.

There will be opportunities for interceptions, the Packers just need to catch the ball - something they didn't do against Rivers.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:52 am

Um....true dat

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EdsLaces's picture

October 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

TTwins I can not tell u how much of a childish douche you are for disliking every one of my posts. If you actually are older than 12 you are a total idiot.

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PaulRosik's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:16 pm

I get that also. I can say Happy Holidays everyone and it will get one dislike on here every time. Just roll with it.

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Flow49's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:43 pm

At manning's age a week off could let those aches and pains set in as opposed to go away. Regardless we need a good push up the middle to make him uncomfortable.

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Mojo's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:46 am

Off topic, but I've yet to see an article or comment about the MJS story on Guion.

Seems Guion is quite a tool, that his transgressions go well beyond what happened last offseason.

Personally, I'd prefer he didn't play for GB.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

I don't seem to remember you being bent about his off-field transgressions last year when he was playing well at NT. McCarthy and Rodgers both say he's a great teammate. Now just because you read a recent article you don't want him, when you did before? Seems kinda "convenient" to me. Its not like his off-field transgressions were completely unknown before this year.

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Mojo's picture

October 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

How do you know I wanted him before? Never was a big fan of his. If you can find something I've said to the contrary, point it out to me. Now you Stroh, I could give two shits about.

And by the way, you can be a great teammate and a total a-hole elsewhere. They don't have to directly correlate.

Your use of the word "convenient" makes no sense. If I read that someone on the team did things that I was totally unaware of that bothered me, then yes, I might change my opinion of him. Were you aware of all that was brought-out? If so, you're OK with it? Hard to believe, but maybe you're a bigger asshole than I could have imagined.

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Evan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Really one of the weirder comments.

Like if news broke tomorrow that Aaron Rodgers murdered a bunch of people, are we not allowed to want him off the team because we had previously supported him?

And, yea, according to the Journal story, the domestic violence stuff had previous been unreported.

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John Galt III's picture

October 26, 2015 at 06:35 pm

depends who he got rid of - if he got rid of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the same time, well that's a public service in my book and I'd give a raise.

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PaulRosik's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:30 pm

He's been accused of hitting the mother of his child in the jaw and two other battery cases and a case of stalking. He was pulled over with a gun, 3/4 quarter pound of pot and $190,000 in cash in the truck, Charges dropped, people paid off - I mean restitution made - and plea deals and he's avoided being convicted . He still hasn't gotten the 190,00 grand back because the police believe the money was intended to bankroll drug dealers. So yeah, he is not a good dude.

At least if the Packers drop him we know he has a good career as a drug dealer to fall back on.

What about Quarless and his firing off a gun because the women didn't respond to his play? Just an idiot or someone to get rid of?

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Rossonero's picture

October 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Packers must exploit the rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo. I hope Peppers and Matthews torment him.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Is it crazy to think that this Defense has been carrying the Offense for a season? The Offense hasn't looked like the league leader in points in a while.

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toolkien's picture

October 27, 2015 at 01:09 pm

The Packers' offense is 5th in profootball references's SRS rating, 4th in footballoutsiders' DVOA (as of week 6), and 5th in points scored per game. The defense is carrying it's own weight instead of the offense carrying its own and 1/3rd of the defense's as in prior years. Not slamming the defense in the past per se, it was sort of designed that way. But the Packers have allocated potency to the defensive side of the ball the last few years and it's showing. The Packers are as balanced as they have been since 2010.

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Lphill's picture

October 26, 2015 at 01:30 pm

I feel it should be pass first against Denver then when they are playing deep for the pass then run at them with Lacy and Starks . Forget the first down runs or toss to Lacy , he is not getting outside , just run up the gut .

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sheppercheeser's picture

October 26, 2015 at 02:16 pm

Gettin' kinda tired of hearin' how we're gonna bring back healthier players. Ya think? Heck, every team that had a bye is gonna bring back healthier players, not just GB!

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 26, 2015 at 03:14 pm

So you would rather play with Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis, as opposed to healthy James Jones, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb?
You would rather play Guion and Pennel over Raji, and Hyde over Burnett?

Our offense hasn't looked the same because we have been missing our top players due to injury. In the last game we were down to our 5th and 6th WR's. Luckily our depth is great, but our starters are starters for a reason.

Of course other teams are going to bring back healthier players as well, but for me I could careless about other teams players. I personally feel that our team is better then everyone else's team when the players are healthy.

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D Ernesto's picture

October 26, 2015 at 03:03 pm

I just hope Eddie D worked hard and lost like 50 pounds this off week. He is huge. Without him and Starks its kind of lights out since our passing game has gone in the toilet as well.
Notice that the Vikes are again breathing down are necks and don't have to play two 6-0 teams away back to back. We could be tied with them in two weeks.

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D Ernesto's picture

October 26, 2015 at 03:03 pm

I just hope Eddie D worked hard and lost like 50 pounds this off week. He is huge. Without him and Starks its kind of lights out since our passing game has gone in the toilet as well.
Notice that the Vikes are again breathing down are necks and don't have to play two 6-0 teams away back to back. We could be tied with them in two weeks.

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John Galt III's picture

October 26, 2015 at 06:38 pm

The next (2) games will tell us a lot about our team. If are 1-1 in the next two games with no new injuries, I will be ecstatic.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

October 26, 2015 at 07:59 pm

Denver is an undefeated, home, dog.

PACK opened - 2.5. I was really curious to see the line.

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jh9's picture

October 26, 2015 at 08:58 pm

These next two games are the toughest because they're away games. I expect we'll beat Denver and lose to Carolina. However, if these games were played on a neutral field, the Packers would win both games.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm

I'd be happy w/ a split of the next 2 games. 7-1 going into a month long stretch of games against Division rivals. Would rather the win over Carolina obviously, but either works. Packers might have a sizable advantage in 6 wks if they go thru the division games unscathed.

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NickPerry's picture

October 27, 2015 at 07:44 am

The last time the Packers played a Gary Kubiak coached team with Wade Phillips as the DC was 2012 AND it was on a Sunday night. The Packers were 2-3 and the Texans were 5-0 playing in Houston. If you recall the Packers POUNDED the Texans 42-24 and it wasn't that close. Obviously Nelson will be missed, he caught 3 TD's but I feel good about the Packers this week.

Rodgers has played Phillips defense twice that I'm aware of. Once in 2010 when they trashed the Cowboys and in 2012 when the trashed the Texans. Phillips runs the same defense then as now. I get it different players, different time. But all in all I feel good about this week. If Raji is back and it sounds like he is, the Packers will be the defense that will stand out Sunday night. R-E-L-A-X!!!!!

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NickPerry's picture

October 27, 2015 at 07:44 am

The last time the Packers played a Gary Kubiak coached team with Wade Phillips as the DC was 2012 AND it was on a Sunday night. The Packers were 2-3 and the Texans were 5-0 playing in Houston. If you recall the Packers POUNDED the Texans 42-24 and it wasn't that close. Obviously Nelson will be missed, he caught 3 TD's but I feel good about the Packers this week.

Rodgers has played Phillips defense twice that I'm aware of. Once in 2010 when they trashed the Cowboys and in 2012 when the trashed the Texans. Phillips runs the same defense then as now. I get it different players, different time. But all in all I feel good about this week. If Raji is back and it sounds like he is, the Packers will be the defense that will stand out Sunday night. R-E-L-A-X!!!!!

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NickPerry's picture

October 27, 2015 at 07:44 am

The last time the Packers played a Gary Kubiak coached team with Wade Phillips as the DC was 2012 AND it was on a Sunday night. The Packers were 2-3 and the Texans were 5-0 playing in Houston. If you recall the Packers POUNDED the Texans 42-24 and it wasn't that close. Obviously Nelson will be missed, he caught 3 TD's but I feel good about the Packers this week.

Rodgers has played Phillips defense twice that I'm aware of. Once in 2010 when they trashed the Cowboys and in 2012 when the trashed the Texans. Phillips runs the same defense then as now. I get it different players, different time. But all in all I feel good about this week. If Raji is back and it sounds like he is, the Packers will be the defense that will stand out Sunday night. R-E-L-A-X!!!!!

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NickPerry's picture

October 27, 2015 at 07:44 am

The last time the Packers played a Gary Kubiak coached team with Wade Phillips as the DC was 2012 AND it was on a Sunday night. The Packers were 2-3 and the Texans were 5-0 playing in Houston. If you recall the Packers POUNDED the Texans 42-24 and it wasn't that close. Obviously Nelson will be missed, he caught 3 TD's but I feel good about the Packers this week.

Rodgers has played Phillips defense twice that I'm aware of. Once in 2010 when they trashed the Cowboys and in 2012 when the trashed the Texans. Phillips runs the same defense then as now. I get it different players, different time. But all in all I feel good about this week. If Raji is back and it sounds like he is, the Packers will be the defense that will stand out Sunday night. R-E-L-A-X!!!!!

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