Third and one: Packers / Update

October, 26, 2009
10/26/09
12:59
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

After Green Bay’s 31-3 victory over Cleveland, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:
  1. As they prepare to play a team that registered eight sacks against them last month, the Packers have some interesting decisions to make on their offensive line. First: Should rookie T.J. Lang remain the starter at left tackle, or should veteran Chad Clifton reclaim the job (assuming Clifton's sprained ankle has healed)? Clifton has had some success against Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen in the past, but not recently. You would assume Lang would be more comfortable starting at Lambeau Field than he would have been last month at the Metrodome. Second: Will Scott Wells remain the starter at center even if Jason Spitz’s back returns to health? As Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed out, Wells had a strong game Sunday against Cleveland defensive lineman Shaun Rogers. Just two things to consider .
  2. The Packers should be crossing their fingers about the condition of tight end Jermichael Finley. No matter how mild his sprained left knee is determined to be, you wonder if Finley is going to recover quickly enough to get on the field Sunday against Minnesota. As you recall, he had a career game last month against the Vikings and would be an important option for quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the off-chance that pass protection will break down. Donald Lee had been mostly solid as a receiver this season, but the Packers have no one who could replace Finley’s playmaking ability. Update: Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday it is a "long shot" that Finley will play this week.
  3. Defensively, the Packers have allowed three points over the last eight quarters. That’s a pretty respectable statistic no matter who you are playing. I love that cornerback Charles Woodson has dismissed suggestions that the defense has turned the corner by shutting down Detroit and Cleveland, but facts are facts. It’s been 43 years since a Packers defense has held consecutive opponents to so few points, as Pete Dougherty points out in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. I have a strong hunch they’ll be more prepared for Minnesota and quarterback Brett Favre this time around.

And here’s one question I’m still asking:
Will the Packers find a way to draw attention to Favre during pregame warm-ups Sunday -- to help rev up their crowd, if nothing else? Minnesota hasn’t had players individually introduced all season, either at home or on the road. So we won’t have that moment to tell our grandchildren about. Typically, NFL teams don’t show opposing players on the video screen. Here’s my suggestion, and keep in mind the value is commensurate with the price: Ignore him all together. Carry on pregame festivities as if nothing unusual is going on, and send the message the Packers have moved on from the Favre Era.

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