Ahhhhh kickoff. It's like the first pitch of a baseball game (I worked baseball into this blog early baby!). Optimism running wild, no fan knows exactly how the game is going to play out or what extraordinary plays will take place. If only I could go back in time and tell this Cardinals fan to save his/her money and watch that debacle at home. Honestly how are you feeling if you're a Cardinal fan right now? You plunk down 60+ bucks for a game ticket, 10 bucks for a beer, 7 bucks for nachos, 20 bucks for parking and that was the effort they gave? This was a route from the word go. Packers imrprove to 11-5 and will be right back in Arizona for a 3:40 CT kickoff this Sunday. Some observations on the regular season finale;
- I honestly have no idea how to read into games like these. Everyone has their opinions about whether you should rest your starters for fear of injury, play them to keep momentum up, don't show anything you plan on implementing into the game plan next week blah blah blah blah. The bottom line is these two teams came in with totally different strategies. The Packers wanted to keep fresh and keep momentum, the Cardinals clearly just wanted to make it out without any significant injuries and without giving the Packers anything to gameplan for for next week's rematch. And after next week's game is when we can talk about which strategy worked and which didn't. But I will say this, I love the way McCarthy approached this game (whoa...I just got a cold shiver after saying that). If you're a Cardinals fan or player you can't feel too good or confident right now. And regardless of the situation what would you rather have, a blowout win going into the playoffs or a blowout loss.
- Charles Woodson is clearly playing with his difficulty setting on 'rookie' while everyone else's is on 'all-madden.' He's just at a different level. Loved that sign in the crowd after his pick 6, "3/4 of the world is covered by water, the rest is covered by Charles Woodson." How true is that these days? Like when I throw bread into my cart at the grocery store I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure Woodson isn't going to pick it off and run home with my food. He is not only the defensive MVP, he may be the MVP of the league. Honestly, is there anyone playing better on either side of the ball? Also I think I stopped breathing for 17 full minutes when he went down with that shoulder injury. Looks like he should be okay, but was that good for my heart rate? FOR SURE NOT.
- How bad is Matt Leinhart? I mean before the 2006 draft people were basically taking measurements for his bust in Canton. Heisman trophy winner, two time national champ in college, but just can't get it done in the pros. Should he even be second string anymore? In all seriousness the gameplan for the Packers defense this week should be three words in bold AND italics print; Attack Kurt Warner. If Leinhart has to play for any reason we will win by 1000 2000 points.
- I saved that Rodgers championship belt celebration on my DVR and am going to spend the rest of the day turning it into my new computer background.
- You know how they say 'Don't covet thy neighbor's wife.'? Does that apply to 'Don't covet thy neighbor's punter.'? I hope Jeremy Kapinos was taking notes yesterday because the Cardinal's punter was punting....much....better....yeah. It seemed like after every punt we were inside our own 20, meanwhile Kapinos appears to be aiming for the endzone when he has a chance to pin an opposing team.
- Congrats to Ryan Grant for setting a personal single season best in terms of rushing yards in a season. I've noticed some people saying lately that he didn't even deserve the Pro Bowl alternate accolade he received. Really? While he doesn't have that Adrian Peterson impact, he's the third leading rusher in the NFC with 1,252 yards to go along with 11 TDs. So yeah he didn't deserve to be a Pro Bowl alternate. He deserved to make the roster.
- Donald Driver over 1,000 yards for the 32nd time in his career. Ho-Hum. Speaking of Canton...
- Did you know American Idol starts next week? You'd think Fox would want to promote that or something...
Alright so here we go gearing up for the playoffs. Today is the day where EVERYONE that has a team in the tournament concocts a completely illogical argument as to how their team has a realistic shot at the Super Bowl. Well those people are wrong and I am right! This team has a tremendous shot at the Super Bowl. No one is playing better in the NFC right now, with the exception of maybe Dallas. The Vikings were in a tailspin until they played a Giants team more mentally checked out than I was during a 3 day work week last week. The Saints have lost 3 of 4, the Eagles got shut out with a chance to get a home playoff game, and the Cardinals finished their final six games at 3-3. So the equation is simple; Packers=Super Bowl bound. Bonus word: momentum.
And yes, if the Packers lose this Sunday I will 140% be calling out McCarthy for not resting players this week!