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Posts of category  "Packers"

Mike and Cory are back to break down the Falcons’ first loss of 2017 (well, second, technically…).

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The ailing Atlanta Falcons laid a goose egg in their second home stand of 2017 against the resurgent Buffalo Bills, and Mike Aprile and Cory Woodroof of Rise Up Reader are here to talk about it.

The fourth installment of The Falcoholic Postgame Podcast deals with this unfortunate blot on the otherwise-promising first four games of the Falcons season. Mike and Cory discuss what went right, what went wrong and how indicative this is (or … hint, hint … isn’t) of the team’s future fortunes.

On the roster for today’s podcast:

  • How the team continued to fare on offense despite sustaining key injuries
  • How Tevin Coleman and Wes Schweitzer were positives on offense from the loss
  • Why the defense isn’t doing half bad (even on an off day)
  • How Ricardo Allen’s loss was felt in the secondary
  • Why it’s not time to worry about the 2017 season (yes, seriously, we had to go there)

You can listen through the SoundCloud player below:

For more, you can find The Falcoholic podcast on iTunes, the Google Play store and Stitcher. You can find an RSS feed here.

You can also follow Mike on Twitter at @RiseUpReader and Cory on Twitter at @CoryWoodroof47.

Programming note: Mike and Cory will be taking a bye week along with the Falcons — look for The Falcoholic Postgame Podcast to be back after the team takes on the Miami Dolphins.

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The Packers’ best new face so far is the player selected with the 33rd pick in the draft.

Green Bay Press Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers have 21 players on the current 53-man roster who were not on it at the end of last season.

Of those 21, the Packers acquired them as follows:

  • Nine free agent signings
  • Six picks from the 2017 NFL Draft
  • Three undrafted rookies
  • One player claimed on waivers from another team (Chris Odom)
  • One player signed off another team’s practice squad (Ulrick JohnCardinals)
  • One player who spent 2016 on the Packers’ practice squad (Lucas Patrick)

Of those players, however, two stand out among all others as the best newcomers to the Packers’ roster so far in this early season. Those two are the Packers’ top two draft picks, cornerback Kevin King and safety/nitro linebacker Josh Jones.

However, while Jones has been a playmaker in the middle of the defense, playing primarily inside linebacker over the past two games, King’s early emergence as a boundary corner has been critical to the Packers’ success in defending the pass.

For some context, the Packers are currently 5th in passing yards allowed, though their ranking drops to 17th in opponents’ passer rating and they are 15th in pass DVOA. Last season in those three measures, the team ranked 31st, 26th, and 23rd, respectively.

Still, the Packers have faced significant issues at the cornerback position this season, with veteran free agent signing Davon House missing two-plus games with an injury and third-year players Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins effectively being benched over the past two weeks. Not coincidentally, King has stepped into the starting lineup and since doing so he has largely held his own against a few of the premier wide receivers in the NFL.

After Julio Jones was torching the Packers in the early going during their week two game in Atlanta, King entered the game and shadowed him for much of the rest of the game, keeping him largely in check and not allowing a reception into his coverage. King struggled a bit more when asked to shadow the Bengals’ A.J. Green in week three, but played well against a brutally weak Bears’ receiving corps in week four. Furthermore, APC’s Peter Bukowski found this little nugget which, small sample size aside, is certainly notable:

Packers rookie Kevin King has a better passer rating allowed in coverage than Patrick Peterson, Desmond Trufant, and Marcus Peters.

Meanwhile, the players lining up at the other corner spots have rotated heavily. Randall’s struggles led to his benching against the Bears, meaning Josh Hawkins played every snap in the second half last Thursday. Rollins, meanwhile, was removed from the lineup prior to week three’s game, being replaced as the primary slot cornerback by Morgan Burnett.

Of course, Josh Jones has provided some highlight-reel plays, including a pair of sacks in week three and some notable tackles for loss. However, the Packers’ defense would still be able to function without him lining up in the middle — in fact, they did so for much of the first half against Chicago, moving him around and giving him some rest when they lined up with a pair of more conventional inside linebackers.

Remove King from the equation and the Packers would be down to an injured veteran, two benched third-year pros, a second-year undrafted free agent, and an undrafted rookie who has yet to take a snap on defense in a regular season game.

For that reason, Kevin King earns our vote as the Packers’ best newcomer over the first quarter of the 2017 season.

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Looking for insight on who to pick in the Week 5 games? We’ve got the answers.

Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

This week the oddsmakers see a strong weekend for the home teams, as 10 of the 14 Week 5 games have the home teams as favorites. Our panel of BTB writers is not quite as optimistic for the home teams, only picking them in eight of the 14 games.

But all of the above ranks a distant second to the key question Cowboys fans are asking themselves this week: Will the Cowboys beat the Packers?

“Of course they will,” say 10 of 11 BTB writers. And without further ado, here are our picks for Week 5, 2017.

Cole Dave Danny Joseph Manik Michael OCC RJ Strawn Tom VaFan BTB Consensus
Season W/L 40-23 42-21 36-27 42-21 38-25 42-21 39-24 35-28 32-31 40-23 33-30 40-23
NE (-5.5) @ TB NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE
LAC @ NYG (-3.5) LAC NYG NYG NYG NYG NYG LAC NYG NYG NYG NYG NYG
BUF @ CIN (-3) BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF
NYJ @ CLE (-1) NYJ NYJ CLE NYJ CLE NYJ NYJ NYJ NYJ NYJ NYJ NYJ
JAC @ PIT (-8.5) PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
TEN (-3) @ MIA MIA TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN MIA TEN TEN TEN TEN TEN
SF @ IND (-1.5) IND IND IND IND IND SF IND IND SF IND IND IND
ARI @ PHI (-6.5) PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI ARI PHI PHI
CAR @ DET (-2.5) DET DET DET DET DET DET DET DET CAR DET DET DET
SEA @ LAR (-1.5) SEA LAR LAR LAR LAR SEA LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR LAR
BAL @ OAK (-2.5) BAL BAL OAK OAK OAK OAK BAL OAK OAK OAK BAL OAK
GB @ DAL (-2) DAL DAL DAL DAL GB DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL
KC (-1.5) @ HOU KC HOU KC KC KC KC KC KC KC HOU HOU KC
MIN (-3) @ CHI CHI CHI MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN

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Willie Minoga celebrates the winning try.
Willie Minoga celebrates the winning try.Source: FOX SPORTS

PNG Hunters have won an historic maiden Queensland Cup title, stealing victory from the hands of Sunshine Coast in an epic and emotional finish at Suncorp Stadium.

The Falcons scored two early tries and led 10-0 in the opening 10 minutes of the game.

But the Hunters lifted the intensity and grinded out an arm wrestle second half.

They trailed 10-6 with six minutes left on the clock when halfback Watson Boas was knocked out and had to be stretchered off the field.

Epic finish hands PNG history

Epic finish hands PNG history

1:23

But then, with 90 seconds left on the clock, Willie Minoga chased through a grubber and scored a try to level the scoreboard.

Then Watson’s brother, Ase Boas, knocked over the conversion to steal the lead 12-10 and steal the premiership.

Papua New Guinea players were crying on the field as they celebrated the stunning victory in front of a big Brisbane crowd.

More to come.

Dirty shot KO's teammate

Dirty shot KO’s teammate

1:04

PNG Hunters captain Ase Boas is the man of the moment, but the hero of Sunday’s Queensland Cup victory is more concerned about the future.

The five-eighth completed the perfect season when he picked up the Duncan Hall Medal for man of the match in a thrilling 12-10 defeat of Sunshine Coast at Suncorp Stadium.

His last-minute grubber found Willie Minoga under the posts and the captain’s conversion gave his side their first title since the club’s 2014 inception.

“I wasn’t panicked; you have to fight until the last second,” he said.

Boas was also Queensland Cup player of the season and led his side to their first minor premiership.

He expects epic scenes when they touch down in Port Moresby on Monday. But the 28-year-old is happy to palm off the accolades and focus on PNG’s next generation.

NRL expansion in PNG has been endorsed by the likes of James Graham and Matthew Johns in the last two weeks and Boas says it’s not a far-fetched concept.

“I think they’re working towards it and hopefully boys coming through the ranks can get in there, that’s the dream and we are setting the platform for it,” he said.

“A win will really inspire them to put in with their training to one day be a Hunter and one day have a team in NRL.”

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The Packers’ head official weighed in on Saturday.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday evening, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s comments from Friday night regarding demonstrations by NFL players during the national anthem prior to games.

Here is Murphy’s statement in its entirety:

It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”

Support for players who do not stand for the anthem appears to be shared through different levels of the Packers’ organization. In August, general manager Ted Thompson was asked about the anthem demonstrations during a press conference in training camp, and responded with the following (per Packersnews.com):

“I view this as something that you’re asking me from a personal standpoint, not what I would do but what I would feel about a particular player if he made such and such action or if he failed to make such and such action. This is a free country, in my opinion, and free people can do what they like.”

Head coach Mike McCarthy did not specifically weigh in on the demonstrations himself, but mentioned in August (per Madison.com) that he gives a presentation to the Packers’ players regarding the anthem.

“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means, and why it’s played before any National Football League game, particularly how it started after World War II. I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.”

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Key players for this week will be those taking on more responsibility while the Packers heal.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

We at Acme Packing Company know that last week was rough. We’ve discussed it ad nauseum and injuries seem to just be as continuous as ever. Let’s find some bright side here and talk about the potential impact that some key players can have to help secure the Packers a win against Cincinnati.

Quinton Dial

Dial is listed behind Mike Daniels on the depth chart and could be looking at some extra reps during the game Sunday. Daniels is listed as doubtful so Dial or Kenny Clark will have a spotlight on them to take over the defensive line. The Bengals haven’t been able to score a touchdown in the first 2 weeks and I anticipate that they will be desperate to find the endzone.

The Bengals have allowed 8 sacks so far on the season and their line play isn’t getting any stronger. Dial is a strong run defender and can help eat up blockers inside so the pass rushers can do some damage.

Kevin King

Sticking on defense, Kevin King could be in for a bigger role in this game and in the future. King was able to put in pretty good reps against Atlanta’s Julio Jones last week. Matt Ryan was 0-4 when targeting Jones with King covering him. The Packers may need Kevin King to use his large 6’3” frame to help put the clamp on the Bengals’ A.J. Green.

Like Jones, Green is another big wide receiver that commands a lot of targets and attention. New offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, may target A.J. in the offense early and often with redzone target, Tyler Eifert, and speedster, John Ross out.

Ahmad Brooks

Sticking on the defensive side of the ball, I’m looking at Ahmad Brooks. It’s unknown how long linebacker Nick Perry will be recovering from his recent hand surgery. Brooks, who missed the game against Atlanta with a concussion, is technically listed as Clay Matthews’ back up, but I don’t anticipate that keeping from Dom Capers sliding him over to the opposite side.

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Home games are always vital

Andrew from West Allis, WI

Sorry to hear about Perry’s hand, but I’m super-excited to see the cast-petting celebration as soon as he’s cleared to play. What’s your favorite player celebration and who did it?

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson with the funky chicken dance, followed by the splits and the behind-the-back fake throw. You can’t beat it.

Daniel from Copenhagen, Denmark

It seems like the Inbox is still lingering on the Atlanta game. Let’s really get on to Cincinnati. What is the key to winning this game? Is it just containing A.J. Green or is it something more?

It’s the Packers playing like the Packers. This game isn’t about the Bengals, it’s about the Packers. That means containing the run, winning the turnover battle, and making more big plays than the opponent. That’s McCarthy football.

Corey from Mooresville, NC

I know the Bengals offense hasn’t been clicking as of late and with the new offensive coordinator. Do you see them trying to run the ball more against the Packers?

Yes. I’ve had that feeling all week, and McCarthy confirmed it on Thursday. There’s no better way to rebuild a foundation for a struggling quarterback than to give him a running game, and the Bengals have three backs they can turn to.

Amanda from Villa Rica, GA

Every week I find myself getting more and more excited for game day as the days go by. This week is no exception. Now I know that it’s only Week 3 and we play our best football in December, but how important is a win against the Bengals?

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Ed West and Robert Brown to be featured alumni this week

Sunday’s Packers-Bengals matchup serves as the Packers annual alumni game, and will feature halftime introductions of several Packers Hall of Famers and more than 40 Packers alumni.

Among the alumni scheduled to attend are Donny Anderson, Zeke Bratkowski, John Brockington, LeRoy Butler, Paul Coffman, Najeh Davenport, Lynn Dickey, Boyd Dowler, Gerry Ellis, Marv Fleming, Jim Grabowski, Ron Hallstrom, Doug Hart, William Henderson, Paul Hornung, Eddie Lee Ivery, Chris Jacke, George Koonce, Jerry Kramer, Ryan Longwell, Don Majkowski, Dave Robinson, Bill Schroeder, Jim Taylor and David Whitehurst and Frank Winters.

In addition, the Packers are welcoming back featured alumni, Ed West and Robert Brown. Leading up to the game, West and Brown will be signing autographs and visiting with fans on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 to noon outside of the Lambeau Field Atrium near the Lambeau Leap statue.

The Johnsonville Tailgate Village will also feature West on gameday from 2 to 3 p.m., where he will be visiting with fans and signing autographs. More information on the Johnsonville Tailgate Village can be found online at http://www.packers.com/lambeau-field/johnsonville-tailgate-village.html.

Also on Sunday, Brown will be visiting with fans and signing autographs during that same time in the Legends Club on the Associated Bank Club Level, an area accessible to game attendees with suite or club seat tickets, as a guest of the ‘Alumni Meet and Greet.’

Ed West played tight end for the Green Bay Packers for 11 seasons (1984-94) after joining Green Bay as an undrafted rookie. His work ethic and versatility earned him the nickname “The Toolbox,” and he played in 167 games for the Packers, which is tied for eighth most all-time in franchise history. West is ranked fifth in franchise annals for touchdown receptions as a rookie (four) and he ended his Packers career with 202 receptions and 25 touchdowns.

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Can the Falcons deliver a better offensive performance than Week 1? We’re bullish.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back! Another week, another chance to put your randomly useful ability to project the statistical output of a football team to use.

Here we simply look at the projected team total for points and yardage (and points and yardage allowed) and break out the yardage and scoring outputs on offense, and the big plays on defense. Since we have the Falcons winning again this week, I hope we’re at least somewhatright here.

How’d I do last week? I was off by 8 points and 58 yards on offense, and 3 points and 14 yards on defense. My closest projects were Matt Ryan (who did not have 3 TDs, but did have 321 yards, just one above where I thought he’d be) and Vic Beasley (who did indeed have one sack), but I wasn’t close otherwise because I severely underrated the Bears.

Here’s my projections against the Packers. Share yours in the comments, if you would.

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The first-time NFL coordinators will be tested by a tough Packers teamBrett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have one win in the books, and the team’s two new coordinators acquitted themselves reasonably well in their first action. Nobody was thrilled with the way Atlanta won in Chicago, mind you, but it was a win, and those remain important.

As D. Orlando Ledbetter wrote yesterday, the Green Bay game provides a stiffer challenge for Marquand Manuel on the defensive side, but it’s not going to be a peachy keen walk in the park or whatever for Steve Sarkisian either.

For Manuel and the defense, the challenge will be stopping Aaron Rodgers, dynamic running back/converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery, and a cast of solid receiving options that includes Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb, and tight end Martellus Bennett.

For Sark and the offense, the challenge is working against the Packers’ so-called Nitro package, which features a lot of defensive backs, and a quietly stout run defense. It’s not likely to hold this potent attack entirely in check, but with questions swirling in the fanbase about Sark’s aggressiveness and creativity after just one week, it could still create some disquieting setbacks.

As it turns out, the Bears did challenge both coordinators, but not in the same way you’d expect the Packers to. Chicago was only able to put up 17 points and got by chiefly on the strength of a strong ground game, while defensively Chicago did an impressive job of shutting down the run but couldn’t quite hold Matt Ryan and company in check. Atlanta’s extremely likely to score more than they did in Chicago against the Packers, but there’s a more opportunistic secondary here and a much better offense to contend with. It doesn’t figure to be easy.

If the Falcons impress here, I expect we’ll all feel better about Sark in particular. May they do so.

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