Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

AFC


Ravens Vs. Texans
The Texans managed to defeat the Bengals pretty convincingly to advance into the divisional round of the playoffs. Coming off of a bye week, the Ravens, need to play like they consistently have all season and they should be able to pull this one out. The Texans will need to establish a running game which will be tough against a stout Ravens' run defense. Both teams have been playing exceptional defense and if they both continue that trend, the team who wins will be the one that forces turnovers. The Texans have had a great season, but I don't see TJ Yates playing the same kind of football against Baltimore's defense. Ravens 24  Texans 14


Patriots Vs. Broncos
I was just as surprised as everyone else seeing Tim Tebow do what he did against the Steelers. For once, he wasn't running around the field like a chicken with it's head cut off. Things are only going to get easier for Tebow as he takes on one of the worst defenses in the league. The Patriots are looking for their first playoff victory since the AFC championship game in 2007 against the Chargers. The Patriots will be somewhat slowed down, however Ron Gronkowski will dominate as usual. Von Miller is playing and was very effective last game. Look for him to make a huge impact. I just don't see Tim Tebow being able to keep up with the Tom Brady. Patriots 27  Broncos 21


NFC


49ers Vs. Saints
The Saints have steamrolled their opponents for the last 10 weeks. They are pretty much unbeatable at home. This week they have to go on the road to face the 49ers. Most people are just expecting the Saints to keep winning and go straight to the Super Bowl. I expect the 49ers to put pressure on Drew Brees and slow his offense down. The Saints also have a terrible run defense, so Frank Gore should be able to get going early. The Saints will trouble on the road and against a tough defense. 49ers 31  Saints 27


Packers Vs. Giants
The Giants are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have, without question, the best pass rush in the NFL because of a breakout season from Jason Pierre-Paul. The Packers are returning some injured players, including left tackle Chad Clifton. If the Packers can hold down the fort and protect Rodgers, the game might not be very close. Victor Cruz is going to be as annoying as an immature toddler, however, between Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson,  the Packers should be able to create some turnovers. Expect an exciting game that could come down to the wire. Packers 38  Giants 34

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Justin Blackmon

Justin Blackmon
6"1'/211 
WR


Summary: Justin Blackmon has dominated collegiate play in both his sophomore and junior years. The two time Biletnikoff award winner has nothing else to prove and has decided to declare for the NFL Draft. His Junior year he proved why he is the best receiver in the nation. Blackmon recorded a mind boggling 121 receptions for 1522 yards and 18 touchdowns. His incredible season was capped off by an exciting 41-38 overtime win over Stanford. He led his team to victory with 8 receptions, 186 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Blackmon looks to be a sure fire top 7 pick.

Strengths
  • Body control
  • Lateral quickness
  • Upper body strength
  • Ball tracking
  • Hands
  • After catch ability
  • Willing to go over the middle
  • Catch in traffic ability
Weaknesses
  • Lacks elite speed
  • Not polished route runner

NFL Comparison: A young Terrell Owens/Anquan Boldin

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

This is my third mock for the 2012 NFL draft. These projections were made after the regular season ended.

1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
The question isn't whether the first overall selection is going to be Andrew Luck or not, but it is what they are going to do with Peyton Manning. Bill Polian has been fired, so I think this means that they are going to stick with Peyton. Andrew Luck could also pull a John Elway or Eli Manning and just say he doesn't want to play for the Colts. I do not think Peyton and Andrew will be playing on the same team next season.

2. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Matt Kalil could possibly be the best offensive lineman prospect since Joe Thomas. He has been flawless this year and has decided to declare for the NFL draft while his teammate, Matt Barkley, has decided to go back to USC. Kalil would work to protect Bradford's blindside and actually give him some time to work with. Kalil could theoretically solidify the entire offensive line because other young players could move to positions they are more comfortable playing.

3. Minnesota Vikings: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Justin Blackmon absolutely exploded in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against the Stanford Cardinal. He received the ball 8 times totaling 186 yards including 3 touchdowns in a 41-38 win. Justin Blackmon reminds me of a young Terrell Owens. He also has body control similar to AJ Green, the fourth pick in last year's draft. Justin Blackmon made Oklahoma State fans forget about Dez Bryant and he could remind Minnesota fans of Randy Moss.
Scouting Report: Justin Blackmon

4. Cleveland Browns: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Winning the Heisman is an incredible accomplishment. Does that mean he can be an NFL quarterback? I'm sick of mediocre Browns' quarterbacks so I'm just going to give them something they can finally be excited about. If Justin Blackmon falls to the Browns, look for them to snatch him up and give Colt McCoy another chance with an actual offensive weapon. The Browns picked a Baylor product last year in Phil Taylor, and it would be wise to do the same this year with RGIII.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
LeGarrette Blount seems to have no idea what he is doing unless he gets the ball in his hands. Trent Richardson absolutely tore it up this year and put on a highlight reel. At the combine he has a good chance of breaking the running back bench press record. Richardson is very hard to tackle and he would give the Buccaneers a building block to the future.

6. Washington Redskins: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Deangelo Hall sucks. Claiborne has performed very well and could lead his defense to an undefeated season. The Redskins' defense has performed well this year and could be scary with some help at corner. They could have used some offensive help, but since the first five picks were all used on offensive players they settle on the best defensive player.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Like the Redskins, the Jaguars could have also used some help offensively. Quinton Coples has fought off double teams all season long and could break onto the scene early next season. Coples is an athletic freak and dominates when he is blocked by one man. Coples would be a perfect fit for the Jaguars 4-3 system.

8. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Jake Long has been a great blindside protector for the plethora of quarterbacks the Dolphins have had. Jonathan Martin could move right in at right tackle and start. Marc Colombo has to be one of the worst offensive lineman in the NFL. Martin has been great all year in protecting Andrew Luck. The reason why I think Riley Reiff wouldn't be the ideal pick is that Reiff is a natural left tackle and it wouldn't be ideal for them to have Jake Long and Riley Reiff.

9. Carolina Panthers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
At 6'3" and 195 pounds with exceptional athleticism, Dre Kirkpatrick could be one of the only guys in the NFL to have a chance of shutting down Calvin Johnson. He is great at tackling and could be a great pair with Chris Gamble. This would provide support for Carolina's shallow secondary.

10. Buffalo Bills: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
The Buffalo Bills had a hot start to the 2011 season but fell off short for a couple of reasons. Injuries, inconsistent offensive play, and a lack of pass rush are what hurt the Bills down the stretch of 2011. Kyle Williams was playing injured this season so if he comes back healthy, that would be a huge help. Marcel Dareus had a great rookie campaign and bolstered the Bills' run defense and actually provided a decent pass rush at times. Upshaw would further improve their pass rush and rushing the QB will help the secondary make plays. Turnovers is what this team used for fuel early in the season.

11. Kansas City Chiefs: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Riley Reiff is a natural left tackle and played outstanding football all season long. He has faced some good competition with Devon Still and Whitney Mercilus, two first round draft prospects. Reiff will provide protection to the blindside for whoever the next quarterback is for Kansas City.

12. Seattle Seahawks: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
I'm predicting that Landry Jones will decide to return to school. However, until he declares, I'm considering him in play.  His stock has steadily declined over the last month of the season. The combination of him not playing well and other quarterbacks excelling was not good for Landry.  However, he is a talent and the Seahawks are desperate for a quarterback and are going to hope  Jones declares and falls to them. Starting Tarvaris jackson or Charlie Whitehurst is unacceptable for any NFL team.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald have been hurting since Anquan Boldin left for the Ravens. Alshon Jeffery caught the hail marry pass to win the bowl game at the end of the season.  Jeffery was incredibly under-used throughout the season and that has hurt his draft stock. Jeffery is a big, physical, talented receiver. He doesn't have the best speed, but makes up for it in size and physicality. I would compare Jeffery to a taller version of Dwayne Bowe or Anquan Boldin.

14. Dallas Cowboys: Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State
The Cowboys failed to make the playoffs again after a disappointing 8-8 season. There were plenty of games that could have gone either way, so I don't think they are too far from being a playoff team. The Cowboys could have taken JJ Watt last year, but instead they addressed right tackle. This year they take someone similar to Watt, a 3-4 end who had a breakthrough season. Still has been great this season and will make great contributions to whatever team that drafts him.

15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
For most of the season the Eagles were a disappointment. The late season surge was too little, too late. The Eagles simply had too many missing components. One of the largest pieces missing was a consistently producing linebacker.   Consistency and productivity are Luke Kuechly's middle names. During the 2011 campaign,  Kuechly recorded 193 tackles and his team didn't even get selected for a bowl game.  Kuechly could be the safest pick in the entire draft. That is saying something when Andrew Luck is in the class.

16. New York Jets: Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
Rex Ryan's prediction fell short yet again. Their usually sound defense struggled at times because there wasn't a pass rush. Even with the addition of Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets couldn't muster up anything that really ever got to the quarterback. This also caused a lot of stress on Revis and Cromartie. Cromartie had an awful season and Revis was below par on the Revis scale. If Curry is added to this team they could be as successful as the Gang Green days.

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama
The Bengals lost Jonathan Joseph over the offseason to the Texans. They added Nate Clements but he is only a temporary option. Jenkins is the type of guy the Bengals could gamble on and is definitely worth what they were getting out of with Carson Palmer. Jenkins has character issues and I expect Marvin Lewis to help keep him motivated.

18. San Diego Chargers: Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Much like the Jets, the Chargers couldn't generate a pass rush even with the addition of a first round defensive lineman. Whitney Mercilus reminds me a lot of Aldon Smith the year before. Mercilus showed why he is a beast as he led the nation in sacks with 16. Look for Whitney's stock to rise in the coming months before the draft like Aldon Smith's did in the previous year.

19. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Now that Jerry Angelo and Mike Martz have been fired,  the Bears' pick becomes a crapshoot. Before, they were known for taking short speedy receivers in the middle rounds of the draft and none of them ever seemed to pan out. Now that all of that is out the window, maybe they will take an early selection on someone who can actually catch the ball. Michael Floyd has been fantastic this year and has stayed out of trouble. If he stays this long he should be a considered a gift just as Gabe Carimi was last year.

20. Tennessee Titans: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The Titans offensive line situation could be in a bit of a jam this offseason if they are unable to resign Jake Scott. Either way they should draft DeCastro who is one of the best run blocking guards to come out in a while. He will help Chris Johnson find holes and give Jake Locker an easier time adjusting to the NFL level.

21. Denver Broncos: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Champ Bailey isn't going to be an all pro forever. They are going to need support and an eventual replacement when Champ decides to hang the cleats up. The Denver defense was great this year and needs to continue to be that way if they want to win with a quarterback that isn't spectacular.

22. Cincinnati Bengals: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
Lamar Miller is very fun to watch. Well, a lot more fun to watch than Cedric Benson anyway. Cedric Benson is old and going to be washed up very soon. The Bengals were surprisingly good this year, but they could use another playmaker on offense. Lamar has great quickness and would be great in the Bengals offense. Remember the name fantasy owners.

23. Cleveland Browns: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Kendall Wright was Robert Griffin III's top option this year. If this happens he will be his top option next year as well. Kendall Wright makes the spectacular catch when RG3 makes the spectacular throw. Wright reminds of Steve Smith for the Panthers, look for him to come on strong with whatever team he gets drafted to.

24. Detroit Lions: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Detroit's defensive line was great when Suh wasn't stomping on people. Stephen Tulloch was a great addition this year but they still need someone else that can consistently tackle. Zach Brown is a very versatile linebacker and could be used in a ton of different situations. He has maturity concerns, but who doesn't that went to North Carolina?

25. New York Giants: Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Giants really came on at the end of the year and they are looking to make a playoff push. The defensive line has been great, and so has Eli. Jerry Reese always drafts linebackers in middle rounds hoping that one of them will eventually pan out. It is time for them to make the jump and get someone they can depend on. Vontaze isn't dependable, but Dont'a is a lot like his old teammate, Rolondo McClain.

26. Houston Texans: Gordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia
The Texans have one of the best run blocking offensive lines I have ever seen. If you have two running backs that could consistently both get 100 yards a game, that is saying something. Wade Smith turns 30 over the offseason and hasn't exactly been the best offensive lineman for them. Gordy Glenn fits the scheme and could provide depth as he is a very versatile player.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Another rushing linebacker? Well last year the Steelers made a similar replacement pick when they chose Cameron Heyward. James Harrison has regressed this season and they can't afford to lose their pass rush. This would be a classic depth pick the Steelers usually make.

28. San Francisco 49ers: Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
Braylon Edwards is gone and didn't ever pan out. Dwight Jones is a lot like him, just better. He doesn't really have the attitude problems Braylon does and could be a target for Andrew Luck. I understand that there is an unusual amount of receivers mocked, but I consider this a pretty deep class.

29. Baltimore Ravens: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
Boom or bust. Vontaze Burfict has put together an incredible highlight tape, however this doesn't mean he is consistent. Some people slate Burfict as the next Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis. Burfict would be going to the perfect place if he lands in Baltimore. The Ravens like to draft guys with high upside but are brought back because of character concerns. Vontaze could start right away and when Ray Lewis decides to call it a career, make the transition much more smooth.

30. New England Patriots: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
There are two reasons why the Patriots have had a terrible defense this year. They didn't get a pass rush and  they couldn't even cover tupperware. They should address both of these issues in the first round. Melvin Ingram has been impressive this year. The entire South Carolina defense was impressive though. This could be a reason why Ingram was so effective, but he still has the size and athleticism you look for in a defensive end.

31. New England Patriots: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
New England's secondary has been ineffective for awhile now. The Patriots aren't afraid to draft defensive backs early in the draft. Mark Barron is the best safety in the nation and has been consistently hard hitting. He would start right away and give the Patriots a solid safety that could turn into a Pro Bowler.

32. Green Bay Packers: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
Jermichael Finley has been somewhat of a disappointment for the Packers. If the Packers decide not to resign Jermichael, Dwayne Allen would be a solid replacement. Dwayne has had a breakthrough season and has exploded, showing why he is ranked first among tight ends.

This concludes my third mock for the 2012 NFL draft. Please stay tuned as there will be scouting reports posted soon. Please leave a comment on what you thought of the picks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NFL Wild Card Playoff Predictions

AFC


Bengals Vs. Texans
After a loss to the Ravens, the young Bengals travel on the road to battle the injured Texans. Andy Dalton and AJ Green inexplicably led a team that was seemingly incompetent at the beginning of the year. Injuries all year have killed the Texans. Down the stretch the Texans played with third string rookie quarterback TJ Yates, who will likely return next week after leaving in the first quarter on Sunday. The Bengals match up well with the Texans because they have the right offensive weapons to cut through the tough Texans' defense. Jermaine Gresham could have a great game. Bengals 24  Texans 17


Steelers Vs. Broncos
Through what seemed like divine intervention, Tim Tebow led his team on a six game winning streak. Since then, the Broncos lost their final three games by a net 48 points. The Broncos defense has been the reason why they were successful earlier. However now their defense has been incredibly inconsistent and nobody knows which one will show up. The Steelers have had what looks like a very good season. However, they seem to have a habit of playing down to their opponent's level. Tim Tebow gets another final drive to advance his team, but comes up short. Steelers 17  Broncos 10




NFC


Lions Vs. Saints
Drew Brees set the record for the most passing yards in a season before the final game even took place. The Saints don't want this season to be remembered by just a record. They want to get their second  Super Bowl victory in the last three years.  The Lions clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999. Matthew Stafford recorded perhaps the best non Pro Bowl season of all time. The defense for New Orleans has been on the top of their game down the stretch of the season. The Detroit defense has struggled. During week 17 they gave up 45 points to the Packers that weren't starting several key players,  including Aaron Rodgers.  Drew Brees will give the butt hurt Saints fans another reason to complain about him not winning the MVP. Saints 42  Lions 31


Falcons Vs. Giants
The Falcons and Giants have been two of the hottest teams in the NFL. The Giants now have the most feared pass rush in the NFL with Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora all playing effectively. Matt Ryan seems to play poorly when he is pressured and tends to turn the ball over. With the game being in the Meadowlands, I see this game not being very close. Matt Ryan will start to get the "he can't win a playoff a game" talk. Giants 38 Falcons 20

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 7 Preview: Packers at Vikings

The Packers are headed to Minnesota after a 24-3 victory against the St. Louis Rams last week. The Vikings are going to take on the defending champions with a rookie quarterback at the helm after a crushing defeat against the Chicago Bears. The Vikings will play with everything they have for their new starting quarterback and the Packers want to go undefeated going into their bye week.

Offenses: The 12th overall selection, Christian Ponder, will get his first career start against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Ponder has great athleticism so he is able to outrun blitzes if his receivers don't get open. Adrian Peterson will be doing most of the work for this offense. If Peterson has a big game, this could mean trouble for the Packers. Running the ball takes time off the clock and taking time off the clock means keeping the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands.

There is no doubt that the Packers have an elite offense, however they could be under some pressure on Sunday. Jared Allen is on a defensive player of the year pace, so left tackle Marshall Newhouse will have a monumental task ahead of him. It will also be tough for the Packers to gain yardage on the ground because of a stout Minnesota run defense. Let's not give this Vikings team too much credit though, they are still 1-5. Rodgers will still predictably have a great game and so will his receivers.

Defenses: Defensive end Jared Allen and cornerback Antoine Winfield have both been having excellent years. Expect Jared Allen to pressure Rodgers, however, Winfield is ruled out. Chris Cook has been arrested so he is officially ruled out as well. The Vikings secondary depth is so weak, they might as well put dented cans out there for cornerbacks. Minnesota has been terribly inconsistent this year.  They have been fantastic in the first half and then they blow their leads in the next half. I don't think this trend will continue on Sunday. The Packers will have the lead the entire game.

The Packers' secondary looks improved from what it was in the beginning of the year, mostly because Tramon Williams has returned to his 2010 form. Sam Shields has been ruled out due to a concussion. I don't think it will effect the Packers too much because Christian Ponder isn't going to slice our defense apart. Jarius Wynn and Ryan Pickett are both expected to play on Sunday. Clay Matthews got his second sack last week, and I expect him to get another one. Clay leads the NFL in combined QB hurries, hits, and sacks.

Keys: The key for the Vikings will be to create holes for Adrian Peterson and make it a slow paced game. Christian Ponder needs to be a smart quarterback and not make rookie mistakes. The Packers, again, need to play mistake free football.

Impact Performer: Last week I predicted Greg Jennings to be the impact performer and he did not disappoint. This week, I am going back to Greg Jennings. Jennings will put the team on his back and have another impressive game. Don't expect him to have a 3 touchdown game like he did the last time the Packers played the Vikings, but expect at least 100 yards and a touchdown.

Final Prediction: Christian Ponder is not ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL yet. I expect Greg Jennings to have a great game, and I also expect Tramon Williams to have a great performance. The Packers shipwreck the Vikings. Packers: 31  Vikings: 10

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 6 Preview: Rams at Packers

The Packers come back home and are wearing their throwback uniforms while facing the Rams after a comeback win against Atlanta. The Rams are coming off of a bye week and are hungry to get their first win, however the Packers offense is pretty much unstoppable right now. With some injuries to the Packers, they will do whatever they can to stay on top of the division.

Offenses: Sam Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 NFL draft, has an enormous amount of talent. It's sad to see him get no help from his offensive line or receivers. He has had no time in the pocket, and when he can actually get the ball off, the pass is usually dropped by a young wideout. Josh McDaniels is the new offensive coordinator, but it's not his fault. This team needs more weapons. Steven Jackson could get a few receptions, but I don't see him getting a ton of yards on the ground against a defense that has given up only 3.7 yards per carry this season. The Rams have had a week off to prepare so I expect them to have some success early in the game with plays we haven't seen from them before.

If Aaron Rodgers continues to play the way he is playing, there is no way the Packers will lose this game. He has been by far, the best quarterback in the NFL. They have also provided a dual threat on the ground with James Starks and Ryan Grant. They haven't been very productive this year, but I expect a better ground game on Sunday against a struggling St. Louis defense. Rodgers will have production early due to a terrible Rams' secondary.

Defenses: The Rams have struggled so far defensively. The Rams probably have the worst secondary in the entire NFL. That doesn't shape up well going against a team who has the best passing game. The Rams do have two young defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Bryan Bulaga is back, so the Packers won't be going out there with two back up tackles like what was expected. Middle lienbacker James Laurinaitis has been one of the lone bright spots on this Rams team.

Last week, the Packers held the Falcons scoreless in the second half after letting the Falcons score two early touchdowns. The Packers secondary looked better against Julio Jones and Roddy White. This week their secondary will be going against one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Expect a strong showing from the Green Bay secondary this week. Clay Matthews is going against a terrible offensive line so I expect him to get at least one sack. The Packers will regain their 2010 form defensively, it will just take some time. I think this is where it's going to start.

Keys: The Rams will need a lot to go their way for them to win this game. They will need to play their best game, and force the Packers to make a lot of mistakes. Steven Jackson will need to have plenty of production for their offense to keep up with the Packers. The Packers will just need to play safe, and mistake free football.

Impact Performer: I have been 2-1 this season since predicting the impact performer. Last week I picked Clay Matthews, and he was contained. This week the impact performer is going to be Greg Jennings. It's not as bold as before, but I expect him to do great things against a terrible Rams' secondary. Expect a touchdown, at least 5 receptions, and a deep ball from Aaron Rodgers.

Final Prediction: Aaron Rodgers will have no trouble working his way against the Rams. I expect Greg Jennings to have a great game, and on the defensive side, Clay Matthews to get into the action. This game is a potential blowout, but we could see some revealing things from key players in this game. The Packers take down the Rams. Packers: 38  Rams: 13

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Final Score: Packers 25 Falcons 14

In a rematch of the NFC divisional playoff game, the Packers made mistakes early, but came back to win through injuries. The Packers were down early, overcoming a 14-0 deficit in the second quarter, and with Chad Clifton out this made things look bleak for the Super Bowl champions. Derek Sherrod stepped in at right tackle, and Marshall Newhouse moved over to the left side. Newhouse looked great and received praise from former star offensive lineman Mark Schlereth with this tweet, "Newhouse is gonna be a star in this league at tackle I can't tell you how hard it is to switch from RT to LT and not skip a beat!" Aaron Rodgers then proved why he is the leading contender for the MVP award. Rodgers completed 26 of 39 passes that totaled 396 yards and threw for 2 touchdowns.

Offense: Matty Ice and the Falcons looked good on their opening drive. They were then fortunate enough to have Ryan Grant fumble close to the red zone and were able to capitalize and go ahead of the champions 14-0. The offense seemed to slow down and Matt Ryan threw 2 interceptions down the stretch of the game. After Julio Jones left the game with a hamstring injury, the offense never looked the same. Michael Turner was steady and ran for 56 yards on only 16 carries with a rushing touchdown.

Unlike the Falcons, the Packers don't need to run the ball to have an effective offense. The Packers were unable to effectively run the ball against the stout Atlanta run defense. Rodgers had an incredible game, however it could have been even better if it wasn't for a few Jermichael Finley drops including one in the endzone. Ryan Grant also had a key fumble while the team was on their first drive. Rodgers tied a franchise record by throwing to 12 different receivers throughout the game. James Jones came out of his shell and notched 5 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod did a great job in filling in for Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga. This combination could continue into next week, so look for how they do against two formidable defensive ends against the Rams.

Defense: The Falcons were without their best defensive player, John Abraham. Ray Edwards played well in replacing him, however they will need Abraham to return to the lineup as soon as possible. In the first half, this Atlanta defense looked like it could stop the Packers. Their corners were playing exceptionally well, forcing Rodgers to roll out and throw the ball out of bounds. In the second half James Jones and Greg Jennings used double moves to get open for touchdowns. The Atlanta corners could not keep up as Jennings had one of the more exciting plays of the game when he outran defensive backs toward the sideline and ended up diving from the 4 yard line and scoring while he reached the ball toward the pylon. Holding the Packers to 25 points should be considered a job well done.

I predicted Clay Matthews to be this week's impact performer. He didn't record any sacks, but to my defense, he was playing with an injured quad. He also had several QB hurries and was held by Clabo multiple times. I was still wrong with my prediction. I was impressed the most by Sam Shields as he held Julio Jones in check for most of the game. Desmond Bishop also played very well and recorded a key sack. The Packers had 2 interceptions, one by Charlie Peprah, and the other was by Jarett Bush. Peprah's interception was very impressive because he tipped a ball to himself after it skid off the hands of Tony Gonzalez. The Packers defense looked very improved to what it was, and held Atlanta scoreless in the second half.

Ups and Downs:
+ Sam Shields
+ James Jones
+ Marshall Newhouse & Derek Sherrod
-  Chad Clifton injury

Another week, another win. This team has endured a lot over the first 5 weeks. If Rodgers continues to play the way he is playing I don't see this team losing more than 2 games. If James Jones can be that kind of weapon for the Packers every week, things could get ridiculous. Shields is looking more and more like he could turn into a great corner. Our offensive line showed their depth even when a Chad Clifton injury occurred. The offense has won every game for the Packers this year, and I expect the defense to improve as the season goes on. Thank you for reading my week 5 recap against the Falcons. Stay tuned for a preview next week against the Rams.