It's Friday, that means we speak to the enemy. This week we exchanged a little Q&A with Acme Packing Company, home for Cheeseheads everywhere. Enjoy the knowledge.
Blogging The Boys: What happened last week with your defense? How did you guys pitch a shut-out which is pretty hard to do in today's NFL?
Acme Packing Company: It was team play, discipline, and turnovers. We had a few young guys step up in the place of injured starters, especially ILB Desmond Bishop and SS Charlie Peprah, and Clay Matthews was his usual self, wreaking havoc on the passing game. I thought Dom Capers' scheme kept the Jets a little off-balance. But when the Jets seemed to be putting some things together on offense, someone stepped up with a huge play. The three turnovers were crucial, coming at key points in the game and killing the Jets' momentum.
BTB: Has there been any credible running game since the injury to Ryan Grant?
APC: That's an easy one. NO. Brandon Jackson is a very good running back...in the passing game. He's got good hands and is a good blocker, but as a runner, he's not very powerful or instinctive. John Kuhn packs a punch and never keeps moving his legs and trying to push the pile, but he's not quick or fast. The run game is only used sparingly right now.
BTB: Donald Driver is out, Jermichael Finley has been out. What's the state of the Packers passing game? Does Aaron Rodgers have any other weapons besides Greg Jennings?
APC: Jennings is without a doubt the top weapon. However, backup WRs James Jones and Jordy Nelson have shown flashes of competence. We'll see this weekend if they can step up with Driver out. In addition to Finley, rookie TE Andrew Quarless is also out for this game, so veteran Donald Lee will need to step up his game on the receiving end. The passing game in general has suffered due to the lack of balance in the offense as well, and I expect we'll be relying on Rodgers' and his receivers' timing on hooks and slant routes to move the ball.
BTB: The Pack is sitting atop the NFC North standings. Do you expect them to win the division? How far can this team go this year?
APC: At the start of the year, this team was a Super Bowl contender. Despite a solid starting RB and budding star TE out for the year and all the other injuries on both sides of the ball, this team can still win the division. The Lions are still not ready to be contenders yet, the Vikings are in disarray, and I'm not believers in the Bears' early successes. I expect a division title, but I doubt that there will be much success once the playoffs arrive simply because of the talent on Injured Reserve. That said, if the defense continues to play like they did against the Jets, there may be hope yet for a deep playoff run.
BTB: If the Cowboys are going to pull off the upset at Lambeau, what is their best game plan to do that? Where is Green Bay vulnerable?
APC: One of the Cowboys strengths still appears to be the pass rush, and that will need to be effective for the Cowboys to win this game. As described before, the running game is only minimally effective, so Big D will need to force Rodgers to make faster reads and get the ball out of his hands before he's ready, forcing some turnovers. Takeaways will be a necessity, since the Packers defense is playing well.
One other area to identify would be special teams. Rookie punter Tim Masthay had a great game against the Jets, but has been inconsistent. The kick coverage has been somewhat better for the Packers this season, but that's an area where a talented returner like Dez Bryant could make a game-changing play.
Thanks to Acme Packing Company for the knowledge.