Green Bay Packers: Jordy Nelson

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Aaron Rodgers has been with Mike McCarthy from the start. He has seen or heard every one of the Green Bay Packers coach's motivational devices.

That includes McCarthy's memorable "we’re nobody's underdog" line late in the 2010 season when they were, indeed, decided underdogs going into a game at the New England Patriots with Matt Flynn as their quarterback because of Rodgers' concussion. And there was the act of getting sized for Super Bowl rings the night before the game, although Rodgers said he actually missed the ring-fitting process on the eve of Super Bowl XLV.

If this season's defining moment was Rodgers' R-E-L-A-X comment after the 1-2 start, then McCarthy's decision to have the team elect postseason captains this week before the team has even clinched a spot could be what carries the Packers forward.

"I don’t think it's anything other than a mindset for him," Rodgers said Wednesday. "He likes to ooze confidence out of himself. It's a toughness from his Pittsburgh roots, but it's a confidence that he trusts the guys that he's going to get it done."

Rodgers, of course, was picked as one of those captains, joining Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Morgan Burnett, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Bush.

"I don't think it was necessarily assuming we were going to make the playoffs," Peppers said. "It's just that time of the year. You want guys that's going to emphasize having that sense of urgency and leading that time of the year. It's the playoff time of the year. We're not assuming we've already made it."

The Packers need a victory on Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus some help from others to clinch a spot this weekend.

This move by McCarthy might not have been about playoff captains as much as it was to refocus the Packers after their five-game winning streak disappeared into the ether with Sunday's loss at the Buffalo Bills.

"Clearly, this is an opportunity to give people more credibility, more opportunities to take the platform," McCarthy said. "I think leadership is something every coach is focused on. I've always looked for ways to create opportunities for leadership. You can't assign it. Leadership has to come from the locker room. Credibility has to come from the locker room. That's why the locker room votes on it.

"This is clearly an opportunity identifying these are the six men we want to lead us down the stretch. And with that, those six men have accepted the responsibility."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at where some of the Green Bay Packers players rank in the major statistical categories heading into Sunday's game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Aaron Rodgers
Passer rating: First (111.2)
Completion percentage: 12th (64.0)
Passing yards: Seventh (3,837)
Yards per attempt: Tied for first (8.38)
Touchdown passes: Third (35)

Eddie Lacy
Rushing yards: Ninth (940)
Yards per carry: 12th (4.6)
Rushing touchdowns: Tied for fourth (eight)

Jordy Nelson
Catches: Eighth (83)
Receiving yards: Fifth (1,320)
Touchdown catches: Tied for second (12)

Randall Cobb
Catches: Tied for 16th (76)
Receiving yards: 12th (1,076)
Touchdown catches: Tied for eighth (10)

Casey Hayward
Interceptions: Tied for 16th (three)

Tramon Williams
Interceptions: Tied for 16th (three)

Clay Matthews
Sacks: Tied for 23rd (7.5)
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Mike McCarthy never spends any time comparing or ranking Aaron Rodgers' great performances. The list would be too long, the task too time consuming.

He doesn't spend much time contemplating Rodgers' duds, either, not that there are many of them for the Green Bay Packers quarterback.

This one, Sunday's 21-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where no Packers' team has ever won, might be at the top of the dud list.

Just don't ask McCarthy.

[+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
AP Photo/Bill WippertEverything that could go wrong pretty much did for Aaron Rodgers in Buffalo on Sunday.
"I couldn't tell you," McCarthy said Sunday when asked whether it was Rodgers' worst game.

Then let's allow the stat sheet to decide.

His campaign for a second MVP award won't be trumpeting this: He set career records for his most incompletions (25) and lowest passer rating (34.3). He finished 17-of-42 passing for 185 yards and didn't have a touchdown pass. It was just the ninth time in 101 starts that he failed to throw a touchdown pass. Plus, he threw a pair of interceptions.

But McCarthy was right about one thing.

"I don't think this is all about Aaron's performance," he said.

Just don't blame the defense for this one. Shawn Slocum's special-teams unit gave up the only touchdown on a 75-yard first-quarter punt return by Marcus Thigpen and had a field goal blocked.

It was apparent early that Rodgers was either off the mark or out of sync -- or perhaps both -- with his receivers. He threw back-shoulder fades when Davante Adams and Randall Cobb ran go routes. Jordy Nelson ran a crossing pattern, and Rodgers missed behind him.

It not only was stunning to see Rodgers throw an interception in the third quarter because he was late and behind with a deep out for Cobb -- mistakes he rarely makes -- but it was equally shocking that on the other side of the field, Nelson was wide open and waving his arm to try to get his quarterback's attention, and Rodgers missed him.

The Bills, with their fifth-ranked pass defense and their physical corners, caused their share of disruption. But dropped passes -- oh, the dropped passes -- can't be blamed on that. Or on Rodgers.

Seven times, passes went off the hands of Rodgers' intended targets. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, no team has dropped that many in a game since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had eight in a 2008 game against the Carolina Panthers. Just about everyone was culpable -- Adams, Cobb, Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Andrew Quarless, Richard Rodgers and James Starks all had drops, and you could've perhaps charged Cobb with a second. Eddie Lacy was the only Packers player with a target who didn't drop a pass.

The worst one looked like it could have gone for a 94-yard touchdown in the third quarter that would have given the Packers a 17-16 lead. Nelson had three steps on cornerback Corey Graham and Rodgers led him in stride. It clanked off his hands.

"Missed opportunities," Nelson lamented. "We had all sorts of chances and just didn't make them, for whatever reason. Obviously, my drop could have won the game for us. We've got to make those no matter how easy or hard they are."

That very same drive ended with Rodgers' second interception, this one on Boykin's drop. Unheralded Bills cornerback Bacarri Rambo had both of the picks. Four of Rodgers' five interceptions this season are on balls that bounced off his receivers' hands.

The takeaway from it all might be this: The Packers aren't the same team away from Lambeau Field, where they haven't lost this season. They need a win Sunday at Tampa Bay just to salvage a 4-4 road record this season.

This loss might have cost the Packers (10-4) home-field advantage or even a home game at all in the playoffs. They began the day as the No. 2 seed and by the time their plane landed in Green Bay on Sunday evening, they were clinging to the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC.

"I felt like this loss was definitely on us," right guard T.J. Lang said, speaking for the offense.

Cobb concurred.

"This loss is on us," Cobb said.
A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last year, the Packers did not have a single player elected to the Pro Bowl. Only Eddie Lacy, an alternate in the voting at running back, played in the game.

That's not likely to be the case this season.

With less than a week remaining in the fan portion of the voting, the Packers have four players among the leading selections at their respective positions.

They are:
  • Aaron Rodgers, who is second in the overall voting (also second among quarterbacks) behind Peyton Manning.
  • John Kuhn, the leading vote-getter at fullback.
  • Jordy Nelson, second at receiver behind Antonio Brown and eighth overall regardless of position.
  • Josh Sitton, the top vote-getter at guard.

Fan voting, which can be done here, concludes on Monday, and the Pro Bowl selections will be announced on Dec. 23. The selections will be determined by a consensus vote of the fans, players and coaches with each counting for one-third. Players and coaches will vote next week.

In all, 88 players will be selected. It's the second straight year they will be picked regardless of conference affiliation, and players will be divided via a draft shortly before the Jan. 25 game in Glendale, Arizona, which is also the site of the Super Bowl.

In case you missed it from ESPN.com: Best of the rest:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at where some of the Green Bay Packers players rank in the major statistical categories heading into Sunday's game at the Buffalo Bills:

Aaron Rodgers
Passer rating: First (119.0)
Completion percentage: Eighth (66.3)
Passing yards: Sixth (3,652)
Yards per attempt: First (8.78)
Touchdown passes: Third (35)

Eddie Lacy
Rushing yards: 10th (843)
Yards per carry: Tied for 14th (4.5)
Rushing touchdowns: Tied for seventh (seven)

Jordy Nelson
Catches: Tied for eighth (78)
Receiving yards: Fifth (1,265)
Touchdown catches: Tied for first (12)

Randall Cobb
Catches: Tied for 19th (69)
Receiving yards: 12th (980)
Touchdown catches: Tied for fourth (10)

Casey Hayward
Interceptions: Tied for 14th (three)

Clay Matthews
Sacks: Tied for 39th (5.5)
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jordy Nelson has experienced quite the season already.

From the four-year, $39 million contract extension he signed on the morning that training camp opened to his second straight 1,000-yard season to a Sports Illustrated cover and now a nomination for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award.

Nelson on Tuesday was named the Packers' nominee, the league announced. One representative from each team was selected.

"Jordy Nelson, as everybody knows, is a great receiver and is having a phenomenal year," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "But I think off the field is probably his biggest strength. He's a class act. He's the same guy every day: very consistent, great teammate, hard worker, excellent work ethic, big-time family man. He has his priorities in order. It's a joy to coach Jordy Nelson."

From the 32 nominees, eight finalists will be selected (four from the AFC and four from the NFC) by a panel of former players that includes Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler. The winner then will be determined by a vote of current NFL players.

The full list of nominees can be found here.

In case you missed it from ESPN.com: Best of the rest:

QB snapshot: Aaron Rodgers

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
1:00
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A quick observation of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and how he played in the Packers' 43-37 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night:

Rodgers
 How much does a running game mean to the Green Bay Packers' passing game? On a night when they rushed for a season-best 179 yards, Rodgers was at his best when using play-action.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rodgers completed 8 of 9 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown on play-action passes Monday night, including five completions for 126 yards and a touchdown when targeting receiver Jordy Nelson on such plays.

The Rodgers-Nelson combination on play-action passes has been fruitful all season. Nelson has 26 catches for 495 yards and five touchdowns on play-action this season. Those yardage and touchdown totals trail only those of the Eagles' Jeremy Maclin.

Also against the Falcons, Rodgers scrambled twice for first downs. He has 16 first-down runs this season, second in the NFL behind Seattle's Russell Wilson (19).

It's one thing to do what the Packers did against the Falcons, who rank last in the NFL in total defense, but it will be another to do it this Sunday at the Buffalo Bills, who rank fifth in total defense (and ninth against the run and fifth against the pass).
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- So now we know what happens when a team tries to defend the Green Bay Packers with both safeties deep and barely any blitzes.

That was the Atlanta Falcons' method on Monday night at Lambeau Field, and Aaron Rodgers, like he has done against virtually all defensive approaches this season, picked that apart, too.

[+] EnlargeEddie Lacy
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsEddie Lacy had 73 of the Packers' 179 rushing yards in a win against Atlanta on Monday night.
For much of the Packers' 43-37 victory, Rodgers used an array of checkdowns to his running backs and underneath throws to his tight ends and receivers.

It was no coincidence that running backs Eddie Lacy (five catches for 33 yards), James Starks (two catches for 26 yards) and John Kuhn (one catch for 6 yards) were heavily involved in the passing game. And so was tight end Andrew Quarless, who caught three passes for 52 yards.

"We talked about before the game, and [QBs coach] Alex [Van Pelt] reminded me just to go through the progressions, but look to get it to the checkdowns," said Rodgers, who completed 24-of-36 passes for 327 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. "I don't know how many catches Eddie finished with and James and John but if you add all those up, I would expect it to be near 10, which is probably more than we've had in a game all season.

"That was just the way they were playing."

Rodgers almost never faced the blitz. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he was 23-of-31 for 317 yards and three touchdowns when the Falcons rushed four or fewer defenders. On the rare times when they blitzed, Rodgers was just 1-for-5 for 10 yards.

And then there was the damage that Lacy and Starks did in their usual domain, the running game. Together, they rushed for 148 yards. Individually, Lacy had 13 carries for 73 yards before a hip injury prevented him from finishing the game, and Starks carried 10 times for 75 yards. Both scored on touchdown runs, and Lacy added a touchdown catch.

As a team, the Packers rushed for a season-high 179 yards.

"We're definitely doing good as far as running and passing the ball, depending on how the defense plays us," Lacy said. "It's something we're going to have to continue to do and continue to get better on throughout the rest of the season."

As he almost always does, Rodgers still managed to take a shot -- and connect on it -- down the field to Nelson. On a play-action shot play in the fourth quarter, Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 60-yard touchdown. It was Nelson's seventh touchdown catch of 40-plus yards this season, which tied a team record.

"It was executed perfectly, I think," said Nelson, who caught eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. "Aaron put up a great ball on it I think. We got the perfect coverage that we wanted. We were able to connect and make a big play. It's fun to make those. It's something we've connected on quite a bit, and it's always good to get them."
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – When the calendar turns to December, NFL teams start opening up their record books.

It's the time of the year when season milestones are reached and records are set.

Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field will provide several members of the Packers the chance to enter their names into the books.

Consider the following:
  • Aaron Rodgers, making his 100th career start, needs one more three-touchdown/zero-interception game to tie the NFL record for most of those in one season. Tom Brady, with eight, set the mark in 2007.
  • Nelson
    If Jordy Nelson, who has four games this season with at least nine catches, has one more such game, it would be the most in a single season in team history.
  • Randall Cobb needs just 78 yards receiving to give the Packers their first 1,000-yard receiving duo in a season since 2009 (Greg Jennings had 1,113 and Donald Driver had 1,061). Nelson went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark last Sunday against the Patriots.
  • A victory would tie coach Mike McCarthy with Vince Lombardi for the second-most overall wins (98, including regular season and playoffs) in team history.

The last item on that list might get the most publicity, given the gravity of the Lombardi name in Green Bay and the NFL, but don't expect McCarthy to spend any time thinking about it.

"Last I checked, it's December," McCarthy said this past week. "I'm just thinking about today."

In case you missed it from ESPN.com: Best of the rest:
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Packers' first and only appearance on Monday Night Football this season coincides with quarterback Aaron Rodgers' 100th NFL start.

Rodgers
 But don't expect him to spend much time pondering it in advance of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.

"I just turned 31 [on Tuesday]; I'm getting kind of old in this league here," Rodgers said. "A hundred starts, that's kind of all it means. I'm not too excited either way about it. Hopefully get another hundred."

Maybe it shouldn't be the feat itself that's celebrated but rather the player Rodgers has become along the way.

Coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Tom Clements have made reference to it at various points this season, that Rodgers is in complete control of the offense in his seventh season as the starter. That's where Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who was a rookie when Rodgers took over as the starter in 2008, sees the biggest difference in his quarterback today.

"What he does every play for us now from an offensive standing point -- [we] used to huddle every play to now we're no-huddle every play, and he's got full control over anything and everything he wants to check to, developing with his receivers, as a leader over the years stepping into that role -- he's the best player in the game," Nelson said. "I don't know if you could say that seven years ago, but there's no doubt about it now."

When asked what has impressed him the most about Rodgers, Nelson mentioned the very thing that Rodgers is perhaps most proud of -- his touchdown-to-interception ratio (219 to 54 as a starter).

"The way he takes care of the ball compared to any quarterback in the league, in the history of the league, he values the ball," Nelson said. "And he'll do whatever he has to do in order to keep us with the ball. He tells us every game, 'If we don’t turn it over, we're going to win the game.' And that’s usually the case, so the way he takes care of it and the way he can make plays with his feet, it's amazing."

In case you missed it from ESPN.com: Best of the rest:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Here's a look at where some of the Green Bay Packers players rank in the major statistical categories heading into Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons:

Aaron Rodgers
Passer rating: First (118.6)
Completion percentage: Eighth (66.3)
Passing yards: Seventh (3,325)
Yards per attempt: First (8.75)
Touchdown passes: Third (32)

Eddie Lacy
Rushing yards: 10th (770)
Yards per carry: Tied for 17th (4.4)
Rushing touchdowns: Tied for eighth (six)

Jordy Nelson
Catches: 10th (70)
Receiving yards: Seventh (1,119)
Touchdown catches: Tied for third (10)

Randall Cobb
Catches: Tied for 15th (65)
Receiving yards: 12th (922)
Touchdown catches: Tied for third (10)

Casey Hayward
Interceptions: Tied for 12th (three)

Julius Peppers
Sacks: Tied for 36th (5.0)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- R-E-L-A-X seems like eons ago.

Yet if you listened closely to Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday, there was a hint of it in his voice again, even if he didn't spell anything out.

Rodgers
Just like he did to those who were panicked over the Green Bay Packers' 1-2 start, the quarterback had something for everyone who was ready to proclaim them the Super Bowl favorites after Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots.

"I think it's too early to talk about that," Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "It's too early to say that."

He might as well have said it like this: "T-O-O E-A-R-L-Y."

When asked what will change for the Packers now that all eyes are on them, Rodgers said: "Not much, I don't think."

It's that even-keeled approach, which Rodgers embodies, that coach Mike McCarthy talked about Monday, when he called this his "most consistent team."

If Rodgers is not ready to say it's the best team he's been on since he became the starter in 2008, he was ready to say it's "our most mature team."

"We're not having a lot of fines and stuff and guys being late or not being where they're supposed to be,” Rodgers said on his show. "It's a very focused team. It's a combination of the young guys we brought in, but also the veteran guys and the urgency that kind of we're trying to portray how important this opportunity is and how they don't come along like this all the time. We've won eight of out nine; we've got a good thing going. We've got to keep it rolling."

Perhaps more than any team Rodgers has been on in Green Bay, the Packers (9-3) have gotten major contributions from their rookies. From rock-solid center Corey Linsley to newest 100-yard receiver Davante Adams to emerging tight end Richard Rodgers on offense and hard-hitting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on defense, it's a draft class that has impressed him and the other veterans both on and off the field.

"You talk about young guys being leaders, often the best thing you can get out of young guys is not knowing how good they are, that desire to be a part of something special and not really realizing how good they can be," Rodgers said. "It's that hunger and approach that can really start to permeate through the entire team, especially the veterans, as you see these guys who are really starting to get it -- Richard Rodgers, Davante, Ha Ha on defense -- these guys who are playing big roles for us and doing a great job.

"That's inspiring as much as a play by Jordy [Nelson] or a play by Julius [Peppers] or Clay [Matthews] can be."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- How relieved was rookie receiver Davante Adams that the Green Bay Packers' defense came up with one final stop in Sunday's 26-21 win over the New England Patriots?

"That I didn't lose the game for us, is that what you're trying to say, in other words?" Adams said.

If Adams is going to put it that way, then, sure.

Adams
Adams put together the best game of his young career with six catches and 121 yards, but he was almost the goat for dropping what would have been a 10-yard touchdown pass on third-and-5 with 8:45 remaining. The extra point would have given the Packers a 30-21 lead. Instead, the ball bounced off his hands, and the Packers had to settle for a field goal and just a five-point lead.

"I feel like as a player in this league you can't let things like that get to you, especially this early on in your career," said Adams, the second-round pick from Fresno State. "You've got to make sure you do what you can to move past it, and we've got great teammates that keep me up. Things are going to happen -- hopefully it doesn't happen again -- but things do happen, so you've just got to come back and catch that next one."

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he didn't say anything to Adams after the drop.

Asked if he said anything to himself after the play, Rodgers said: "No, not that I want to share."

But Adams caught just about everything early on, when the Packers needed him.

The Patriots opened the game defensively with Brandon Browner on Jordy Nelson, Darrelle Revis on Randall Cobb and Kyle Arrington on Adams, who caught passes of 33 and 45 yards in the first quarter.

Shortly after that, they moved Browner on Adams and put Revis on Nelson, who then beat the All-Pro cornerback for a 45-yard touchdown on a catch-and-run play in the second quarter.

"They're a matchup defense so if they want to try to take away Jordy and Randall – it was basically Revis one-on-one with Randall and Browner with a little bit of help on Jordy -- so we tried to get Davante involved," Rodgers said. "And he made some big plays for us."

Rodgers and Packers coach Mike McCarthy seemingly had a counter for whatever Patriots coach Bill Belichick tried. McCarthy used Cobb out of the backfield at times and on one such play, Cobb caught a 33-yard pass on a wheel route in which he was matched up against linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

Although the Packers went 0-for-4 on touchdowns in the red zone, Rodgers still threw two touchdown passes -- the 45-yarder to Nelson and a 32-yarder to tight end Richard Rodgers -- and piled up 368 yards against what might be the game's best secondary. Rodgers completed passes to eight players. Cobb had seven catches for 85 yards, while Nelson was limited to just two for 53 yards.

Still, it was Adams who started things off, even if he couldn't finish it.

"It didn't surprise me," Nelson said. "They're going to make adjustments throughout the game. They just can't continue to let things happen, especially when you have a great coach like coach Belichick. He's going to work his magic to try to slow us down, and Davante and Aaron were on the [same] page and making big plays. It was huge for us."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Of all the receiving duos the Green Bay Packers have fielded in their history, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are the first to post 10 touchdown catches apiece in the same season.

Cobb
Nelson
Cobb entered Sunday's game against the New England Patriots already on that number, and Nelson joined him with a 45-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left in the second quarter that gave the Packers a 23-14 lead at halftime.

Before the final drive of the half, Nelson did not have a single catch. He was in danger of failing to catch a ball in a first half for the first time since Week 9 of the 2012 season against the Carolina Panthers. But Nelson caught an 8-yarder early in the drive. Two plays later, he beat cornerback Darrelle Revis on a slant and ran 35 yards after the catch for the score.

Nelson has six touchdown catches of at least 40 yards this season, most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Patriots opened the game with Brandon Browner covering Nelson, while Revis was on Cobb, who had five catches for 55 yards. However, the Patriots moved Browner to rookie Davante Adams, who caught three passes for a career-best 90 yards.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who sustained a cut on his left hand in the first half, threw for 282 yards, the third most in any half of his career.

Mailbag: Packers-Patriots matchups

November, 29, 2014
Nov 29
8:00
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Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. As the Packers finish preparations for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field, here's our last chance to address some of this week's key topics:
Demovsky: Exclusively? No. As good as Micah Hyde can be in coverage, it would be a surprise if he were asked to cover Rob Gronkowski play in and play out. In fact, it would be a surprise if defensive coordinator Dom Capers asked any single player to do that. For one, it's probably too taxing a chore to do that for 70 plays. Two, that's rarely, if ever, the way Capers operates. His defense is predicated on variety and using different players to blitz and cover. Hyde will get his share of chances to match Gronkowski, but so will a variety of other defensive backs and linebackers. You can read more about that here. What will be more interesting is whether Capers plays more man or zone coverage.

Demovsky: It depends on who Bill Belichick wants to double team. If it's Jordy Nelson he feels needs double coverage, which is probably the better bet, then expect Brandon Browner to get Nelson with some help. That would leave Darrelle Revis to cover Randall Cobb. That's the way they played the Lions last week, with Browner plus help on Calvin Johnson and Revis on Golden Tate. Aaron Rodgers said it this week, that the Patriots are a matchup defense. We'll find out right away how they game-planned, and how the Packers adjust to it.

Demovsky: Interesting question. With help from the ESPN Stats & Information database, here's what I discovered about Eddie Lacy's production this season: On runs between the tackles, he has 117 carries for 560 yards. That's an average of 4.79 yards per carry. On runs outside the tackles, he has 37 carries for 112 yards. That's an average of 3.03 yards per carry. There was an even bigger contrast last season, when Lacy averaged 4.57 yards per carry between the tackles and 2.96 yards per carry outside the tackles. For comparative purposes, the numbers would suggest that James Starks is the better outside runner than Lacy. This season, Starks has averaged 3.68 yards per carry between the tackles and 3.4 yards per carry outside the tackles. Last season, Starks' averages were 5.94 yards per carry between the tackles and 4.15 outside the tackles.

Demovsky: You're referring to my 41-24 pick that was posted Friday. Here's my thinking: When was the last time the Packers beat an elite-level quarterback? Look at the quarterbacks they've beaten this season: Geno Smith, Jay Cutler (twice), Christian Ponder, Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton, Mark Sanchez and Teddy Bridgewater. Outside of maybe Newton, would you take any of those guys if you were starting a franchise? Few, if any, general managers would. Contrast that with the quarterbacks to beat the Packers this season: Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees. And all three of them beat the Packers by double digits. To which group does Tom Brady belong?

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