If you thought the Green Bay Packers conquered one of their biggest demons last weekend against the Minnesota Vikings and Hopalong Cassidy (Brett Favre), you have been mistaken beyond your wildest dreams.
If you're somehow lucky enough to be born a Wisconsin native, your life normally consists of two things:
- A solid love of cheese.
- A team that has by far been one of the most dominant in American sports, the Green Bay Packers.
Throw in some beer with this equation, and you pretty much have the entire northern state all summed up, with a pinch of the Milwaukee Brewers and a man named Brandon Jennings who may or may not lead the Bucks to a championship in the upcoming years.
So what is in store for the green and gold state in Week 8?
I, for one, am not a fan of using the term "rolling." But when peering into the Jets' latest window, and realizing how dominant Mark Sanchez and his fourth-ranked point-scoring offense has been lately, there may be no other word in the English language to describe the Jets' rise to the top.
For all of New York's intimidating play in recent weeks, though, one stat seems to slide under the table when fans sit down to discuss New York's new No. 1 team, and that is a stat that favored the Jets for much of last year.
What is it, to be exact?
Defense. No, I'm not talking about stopping the run, plugging the holes, or sacking opposing quarterbacks—that department has seen the usual X's and O's put to good use. This time around, I'm talking about the green and white pass defense, which has fallen off the wagon like a struggling alcoholic.
Rewind to 2009, and this future problem was more than just unimaginable. Ryan had molded cornerback Darrelle Revis to elite status, and although the outlandish and unafraid head coach finally collapsed to Revis' contract demands in early August of this year, No. 24 was still the beacon of light for the 2010 season.
But what does missing an entire preseason's worth of team training camps do for a player?
Case and point exact.
Two weeks into the season, and Revis was down like a poorly made paper plane. A minor hamstring injury endured against the New England Patriots has plagued Revis for the remaining weeks up until several days ago, when Revis' fitness status was still up in the air.
Fortunately for the city of New York, Revis is suiting up this Sunday. Team doctors have given the star corner the "all clear," and the Jets have released a statement addressing the public that Revis is now 100 percent.
Now the situation is simple for everybody. Darrelle Revis will take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
However, as much as some confident and seemingly cocky New Yorkers would have you believe, Green Bay's merry-go-round rotation of wide receivers will test the Jets defense, not to mention the team's now-rejuvenated cornerback.
I'd love to keep this list short, but I can't. The Packers wide receiver corp is somewhat of a mini fantasy team, consisting of dependent players ranging in age and skill. On one hand you have the veteran guys everybody knows—Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. On the slightly more underrated left hand, you have Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Andrew Quarless, and the aging Donald Lee.
What stands in front of this impressive list, though, is Revis. Six interceptions last year, and perhaps the solid runner-up behind Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson, Revis may not be familiar with Green Bay, but he's seen the likes of the Packers' talent before.
Speaking of Mr. Woodson, he too has a say in this situation. Defensive Player of the Year is one thing, but when two of the league's greatest-ever cornerbacks butt heads for one scheduled week in the season, surely Woodson has every chance of shutting down the Jets' Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards on the opposite end of the field.
If this statement were true a season ago, however, it certainly isn't this time around.
For both cornerbacks, 2010 has been a major disappointment. Neither player has managed to grasp the position quite like he did a season ago, and although Revis has been hurt, Woodson's silly penalties and lack of coverage has cost the Packers real estate at times.
If a problem ever sat up for New York and presented itself plainly and clearly, it comes from the Packers. Receiving threats lurk, but the Packers are one of few teams that match the Jets equally from all sides of the ball.
Linebacker? Clay Matthews. Wide receivers? We've already covered that. Quarterback? Aaron Rodgers. Safety? Nick Collins. And cornerbacks? Al Harris is still questionable, but that also adds spice to Woodson's recipe.
Last week against Minnesota the Packers receiving corps was out of sync, plain and simple. It reminded me of the old-school electric football games, when receivers would run in one direction and stick to that path.
Expect head coach Mike McCarthy to have altered Green Bay's strategy this weekend, and also expect to see Rodgers avoid Revis at every given opportunity.
It may be a cliche to say that this fixture will be a "numbers game," but it really is. A win will come down to who can utilize their players in the best way possible, and a tough call awaits Ryan as to whether or not the blitz option is the best path to take against Dom Capers' defense.
New York was burned against Baltimore in Week 1 after taking this seemingly surefire path, and with Rodgers' offensive line holding up nicely following a great display against Jared Allen last week, Green Bay's barrier of talent could withstand New York's defense quite easily.
To end for now, the Jets are fresh off a bye week and still looking hot. The Packers, on the other hand, know that they need to execute perfectly and not let egotistical plays get in the way of what can be a very big-time win.
Green Bay vs. New York? Savior it. This type of game only comes around once in a blue moon.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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