Panthers No Match for the Steamrolling Packers
Cheeseheads watched another chapter of the dream season unfold Sunday as the Packers dominated the Carolina Panthers and came away with a victory by a score of 31 - 17. The win brings the Packers' 2007 record to 9 - 1 and gives them a string of 13 victories in their last 14 games.
Pre-season concerns about the Packers' offensive playmakers have been replaced with accolades of the Packers' vastly underrated wide receiver corps and the emergence of tight end Donald Lee. Add the rejuvenated Brett Favre, who is playing at the same level he was a decade ago when he won three MVP awards, and a running game led by hard-charging Ryan Grant and the Pack is the talk of the pro football world.
Once again Favre and company lit up the scoreboard against the Panthers early and often. By halftime the Packers had this game all but wrapped up with a 21 - 3 lead. Special teams contributed as well with a 94-yard touchdown punt return by Tramon Williams. Early in the third quarter Koren Robinson's long kick-off return set up Donald Lee's second TD pass reception and the Pack led 28 - 3.
The Packers let up on the gas a little in the second half and allowed the Panthers to recover a bit, but the outcome of this game was not in doubt. Defensive tackle Corey Williams once again turned in an outstanding performance to lead the defense. The Pack needs to re-sign this guy.
Three or four games ago I became convinced that Mike McCarthy was a good coach. Correction"¦ McCarthy is a VERY good coach. McCarthy's play calling over the current winning streak is nothing short of brilliant. The five receiver set that has become a Packer staple in the past few weeks is becoming a thing of beauty. Wide receivers Driver, Jennings, Jones, Robinson and Martin are proven quality players who bring unique talents to the Packer party. Few, if any, opponents have cover guys who can match up with these players. Favre's heady reads from this set have thus far proven unstoppable.
Up next for the Pack are the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving. The Lions have a long history of being a weak franchise that (for some unknown reason) usually perform well in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Seasoned Cheeseheads, or those who know the history of the Pack, remember that Vince Lombardi's 1962 Packers (perhaps the greatest Packer team of all time) came into Detroit with a 10 - 0 record and got clobbered on Thanksgiving Day in perhaps the biggest NFL upset of all-time.
Cheeseheads hope that history does not repeat and it shouldn't this year. The Lions have a weak defense that Favre and company should be able to exploit. Also, look for the Packer defensive line to tee off and sack the Lion's immobile quarterback. With a win the Packers have a very good chance to wrap up the divisional title in early December and favorable playoff possibilities will soon follow.