Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 12/5/11

He made that look easy, didn’t he?  With the game tied and under a minute left to play, Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers easily marched down the field to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning 30-yard field goal in Green Bay’s 38-35 victory over a very game Giants team.

In the face of the Giants’ and their league-best pass rush (in my mind), Rodgers made it look easy throughout.  He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns and took less than a minute to carve up New York on the decisive drive—completing three passes of over 18 yards to Jordy Nelson, JerMichael Finley and Greg Jennings.

Now the debate rages on as to whether the Packers can run the table and become the NFL’s second team in the Super Bowl era to finish a season undefeated.  I’ll answer that question rather easily.

It’s obvious the Packers can easily run the table; they’re that good and there aren’t many teams that can top them when they’re on their game.  The real question to ask is whether or not the Packers should run the table.

Should Green Bay chase history or rest players in hopes of capturing a second straight Lombardi Trophy?  The 2007 Patriots chose to chase history, while the 2009 Colts opted for resting their starters after a 14-0 start. 

Interestingly enough, both of those teams ended up losing in the Super Bowl when it was all said and done.  With each victory, the attention towards Green Bay’s unbeaten quest will amplify even greater. 

The attention can become quite the monkey on one team’s back, as we witnessed firsthand when the aforementioned Pats were going for 19-0.  If I’m Mike McCarthy, I’m not sure I want that pressure on my team; give me one loss and another Super Bowl title.

Getting back to the Packers-Giants game, there will probably be some rumblings that the Giants have perhaps found the blueprint to stop Green Bay.  Of course there’s a blueprint:  outscore them.

It’s not really a blueprint, but it’s becoming apparent that the only way you can possibly beat Green Bay is by exploiting their defense, because you’re not stopping Rodgers and his offense.  Not while he continues to make it look this easy.

Quick slants

If you’re looking for a team to possibly beat the Packers come playoff time, look no further than the Saints.  New Orleans keeps rolling following its 31-17 win over Detroit on Sunday night.

It’s obvious that Drew Brees and his mates are one of the very few offenses out there that can match Green Bay point for point.

The problem for the Saints is the fact that they’re nearly unstoppable at home, while they’re a bit beatable on the road (all three of their losses this season have come away from the Superdome).  Chances are, the Packers will have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC, and I don’t believe New Orleans is capable of emerging from Lambeau Field victorious.  If the two teams were to tango in the Big Easy, then that would possibly be a different story…

Jason Garrett, you have some explaining to do.  Never mind the fact that with two timeouts and 24 seconds remaining in regulation, your offense didn’t use a timeout and instead let the clock tick down to about seven seconds before spiking the ball, leaving you with virtually no time left to move the ball.

That’s unfathomable enough.  But how do you instead use one of those timeouts to ice your own kicker in Dan Bailey?  That’s one of the biggest systematic breakdowns I’ve seen from a team in crunch time in quite awhile.

Dallas’ blunder in the Arizona desert—coupled with New York’s fourth straight loss—sets up for quite the interesting NFC East race down the stretch between the Giants and Cowboys, mainly because it seems like neither team wants to step up and grab the division by the horns.

Maybe next Sunday night’s Cowboys-Giants game will end in a tie…

It was fun while it lasted, Bengals fans.  As Cincinnati’s competition has gotten stiffer, the Bengals have not.  They were humiliated in Pittsburgh, losing to the Steelers 35-7, allowing the Steelers to complete the season sweep of their AFC North divisional rivals. 

At 7-5, the Bengals are clinging to a Wild Card spot at the moment, but I’m going to say right now that Cincinnati won’t make the playoffs.  They still have games against the Texans and Ravens looming and have already proven that they can’t hang with the AFC’s elite—they’re already 0-3 against both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

The Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green rookie connection has been impressive, but unfortunately veteran running back Cedric Benson has helped the Bengals offense very little in a season where he was expected to alleviate some pressure off of his rookie quarterback…

The Tim Tebow Show rolls on in Denver.  The Broncos quarterback led his team to another heart-pounding road victory—thanks largely to Christian Ponder’s ugly pick late in the fourth—in leading the Broncos to first place in the AFC West.

And quite frankly, it’s pretty amazing that the battle between the Broncos and Raiders will be the best divisional race down the stretch, something that nobody predicted coming into this season.  If I had to choose, I’m going to pick Denver to win the AFC West, although I will be a bit of a Debbie Downer in assessing Tebow at the moment.

It’s awesome that Tebow continues to win, but he’s doing it at the expense of some pretty average quarterbacks.  When he faced a quality passer in Matthew Stafford, his team didn’t fare very well in a blowout loss to the Lions.  I expect to see a similar result when Tom Brady rolls into Denver in two weeks and if the Broncos run into a solid opposing quarterback should they advance to the playoffs.

The only way I see the Broncos doing major damage in the playoffs is if Tebow can find some more magic.  Then again, considering what he’s overcome thus far in his pro career, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Tebow were to find some more of that Rocky Mountain magic…

What’s going on with the New England Patriots’ secondary?  It’s like they’ve turned into a high school team with the way they’re implementing two-way players in that unit.

New England wide receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater have seen significant playing time in the Patriots secondary thanks to injuries.  It’s nice that the Patriots keep winning with a no-name secondary, but if you’re a Pats fan, you better hope that Devin McCourty can stay healthy and Patrick Chung can get healthy if they want to see their team make a deep playoff run.

Because Bill Belichick’s revolving-door at secondary isn’t allowing them the opportunity to develop much-needed chemistry as a group, which could cost them dearly come playoff time…

We’ve seen this picture before from the New York Jets.  Under Rex Ryan, the Jets usually go on a roller coaster of a ride during the regular season, only to find themselves in the playoffs, where they do some major damage.

It looks like that formula is coming to fruition once again, as the Jets don’t face many formidable opponents for the remainder of the regular season.  I’m fully expecting the Jets to get into the playoffs on the back of their weak schedule.  And once they get there, we all what they’re capable of.

 

 

 

 

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