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Another great game for Week 1! Second best of the week in my mind.
This game is going to be a tough game. Philly just hits, and hits, and hits some more, and Green Bay does the same, and I think there will probably be some bellringers and slobber knockers in this game.
Good ol' fashioned hard nosed football: gotta love it!
Looking at matchups like this, I like to look at the skill positions, the guys who make your team go. The RBs, QBs, WRs and TEs, and Defenses.
Starting with the RBs, I think this one is a wash. McCoy has all the tools to be a dynamic player, but he's got to put it all together this year as the undisputed starter. Last season, he was impressive in relief of the oft injured Brian Westbrook, finishing with 600+ rushing and 300+ receiving with four TDs.
Ryan Grant was good last season, too. Finishing with career highs in every category, and I think Packer management still wants more out of him this season. Ultimately though, I feel McCoy and Grant are pretty close in the whole scheme, so edge to no one here.
Looking at the QBs, it's a different story. Aaron Rodgers is easily a Top 2-3 QB right now. I don't know that I believe that he's No. 1, but he's damn close.
Kolb, on the other hand, is a young QB who has shown flashes in relief of the jettisoned Donovan McNabb. But, my biggest question is this: Can he do it all season long? I'm not sure about that, so, the Packers get the edge in this matchup.
Moving to the TEs, this one is pretty close too. Brent Celek is a stud. No doubt about it, no way to dispute it: 970 yards and eight scores last season is pretty impressive.
Jermichael Finley is an absolute freak at the TE spot. He runs routes like a WR and has the shiftiness of a RB. He's a rare talent. Finley had 676 yards and five TDs last season, and those are respectable numbers that he should improve upon greatly this year. With his QB, I believe he will be the better TE this season and give GB the edge here.
Looking at the WRs, I like the trio of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones more so than Philly's combo of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant for one reason: Aaron Rodgers's ability to spread the ball around. Edge to GB in the WR group.
So, finally, we look at the Ds. Last season, no team in the NFL forced more turnovers than the Packers, and their front seven, which will be hell bent on stopping McCoy, is solid if not spectacular. The loss of Johnny Jolly hurts, but, they have enough in Raji, Pickett, and Jenkins to be tough again.
Philly lost key performer Sheldon Brown in a trade with Cleveland, and I really think that might hurt them a bit, because there's really no one to fill his spot opposite Asante Samuel
In this game, I think the defense of the Packers will dictate what's going to happen, and since they'll be forcing Kevin Kolb to beat them through the air, I think the run could struggle in this one for Philly.
Forcing Philly to the air could be dangerous for them, too, with Nick Collins and Charles Woodson back there, just waiting for the young QB to make a mistake.
Couple that with the fact that Aaron Rodgers is facing a young D, who are lacking some key pieces, and this is a recipe for a GB win.
- TE Jermichael Finley - The guy is a freak, and since he creates matchup problems all over the field, I expect him to have a great game in this one. Look for 90 yards and one TD.
- QB Kevin Kolb - I think he'll struggle, and probably throw at least one INT in this game, but they'll be playing from behind, so the passing game will be used a lot here. I'm thinking 250 yards and two TDs.
Verdict: Green Bay picks Philly at least once, and dominates in the trenches while scoring heavily.