The Pocket Doppler Angels group is made up of the women that contribute to PocketDoppler.com, the moniker in homage to Charlie’s Angels. Individually and combined this group is as knowledgeable about the Packers, football & sports as anyone out there. Every other week or so they’ll answer your submitted questions on the Packers, football or other topics submitted. Feel free to submit non-Packers/football questions as well. Colleen would love to talk NASCAR with you, Kelly & Anita are ready to discuss the Badgers and college football, Amanda can regale you with her MLB & baseball knowledge or Jayme will explain to you why soccer is not just a European sport. To submit your question today, click here or on Twitter, @PDAngels .

The Angels took a break over the holidays, but now we’re back with a special playoff edition.  Let’s get to the questions!

Chris asks: Do you think that Rodgers and crew will have any issues with having come off such a long layoff with no games?

Annie Answers: Looking back over this season and the recent seasons, the numbers speak for itself with regard to the Packers performance coming off bye weeks. However, regular season bye weeks and postseason bye weeks play out differently, as does the preparation leading up to these games. Being it’s the playoffs, the sense of preparedness is at a high level now that the Packers know they will face the “red hot” Giants (eyeroll). But as we’ve seen in the past, McCarthy and crew do not take rest week’s too literally, especially now. You can bet film was being studied, plays were being drafted, and mental focus was a priority. So although the Giants seem to be working off an apparent momentum shift as of recently (another eyeroll), having already played them (and won) this season definitely helps the Packers in their game plan. Additionally, the Packers have always been well known for their tremendous amount of discipline when it comes to their weekly responsibilities, which is why I don’t expect this week to be out of the ordinary. And now that the postseason is upon them, and the expectation for this team to bring home the Lombardi trophy is even greater than last year, you can rest assured that the “rest” to some degree has been all but that.

If anything, the first round bye has worked out perfectly in the Packers favor regarding the late season injuries. Reports this week coming out of practice is that the team’s attendance was 100%; everyone is back, everyone is healthy, and everyone is hungry. That means star receiver Greg Jennnings is back, Bryan Bulaga is back, and the rest of the team’s injured are all ready to go. The rest could not have come at a better time heading into the playoffs. Also, I don’t think there is any reason to believe Aaron Rodgers will show rust this game, even coming off an almost 3 week game break. The kid has too much self discipline and competitiveness to allow the rest to overcome him, and knows exactly what is at stake. You know he did his homework, and you know he is focused. I would almost goes as far as saying this game has the potential to be one of his best performances this season.

You can say what you want about the Giants and their momentum (I eyeroll a lot), but it sounds to me that the Packers are in the best position they could possibly be heading into this game. Mark my words, there will be no rust. It’s just not their thing.

Ken asks: Do you think takes anything away from Coach McCarthy that the team was so successful with Rodgers calling plays vs. the Lions?

Colleen Answers: Looking back, I think McCarthy giving Aaron the proverbial keys to the car was a brilliant way to keep his starting quarterback focused and very much in the game even though he did not play a single down in the New Years Day matchup. It showed that the Rodgers truly does have a mastery of the offensive system and can conceptualize the attack plan from more than just his position. It proves that he has taken that step from following orders to plotting and pacing the attack. More importantly, it proved that he commands the respect and trust of his teammates to play a different yet equally leadership role from the sidelines.

I don’t think anyone in the Packers organization could have forseen any of the horrific tragedy that has rocked the Philbin family this week. The team has stated it has a contingency plan in place if Joe is not part of the game (which I highly doubt he will be) this weekend. The other coaches have divided his duties already and the team has rallied behind their grieving offensive coordinator like 53 other sons he is realizing are also a part of his family. While I highly doubt that Rodgers will be the playcaller this Sunday and hand his QB duties over to Matt Flynn, I suspect that Rodgers’ mastery of the offensive schemes and his invaluable leadership qualities will be fully utilized this weekend. Somehow I suspect the coaches aren’t the only ones shouldering duties above and beyond the call of duty this week. Those keys to the car may once again show up this weekend, but this time it
may be in the no-huddle offense where Rodgers once again sets to the tone and timing on the field of play. The headphones may not be there, but the leader and playcaller will be in control. No doubt he will join them to grieve this week at the funeral, but he will be there with “The Look,” the admonishment, the words of encouragement and all of those intangible qualities that will help the other ten men on the field achieve their goals.

But I’m not all that worried because their biggest liability remains Eli Manning. Oh yes, one of his teammates boldly said, “You can’t spell ‘Elite’ without ‘Eli’” this past season. But if you throw a W and maybe a Y into Elisha Nelson Manning, you can spell WHINYASS. Which is exactly what Peyton’s Brother degrades into if you get him rattled. Knock him down a few times and the beloved Manning Face returns and he starts making mistakes. Knock him down a few more times and he starts tossing up balls that are ripe for Charles Woodson’s picking for six in the other direction. Yeah, he’s good, but he degrades quickly when things don’t go his way. Get in his head, and he implodes all on his own.

Colin asks: I know that you all no doubt think the Packers are going to win against the Giants, but what do you see as the Packers’ biggest strength, and weakness, going into the game? What about the same for the Giants?

Kelly Answers: The Packers’ greatest strength remains it’s passing game. Period. I don’t care if the wind is going to be 45 mph and swirling all over the stadium. I don’t give a rip if the snow is horizontal and visibility is two feet. The Packers have the best quarterback in the entire league coupled with the deepest and strongest receiving corps compared to the other 31 teams. They are a tight unit (regardless of any self-generated dramacakes regarding chemistry) that could probably be just as successful running routes in utter darkness. Rodgers knows when he should thread the needle and when not to take a gamble. They are aggressive and can function without a huddle. They score and score a lot.

As for weaknesses, it would have to remain the secondary. It will, no doubt, be strengthend by the return of Charles Woodson. And while Morgan Burnett slowly progresses this season, the secondary still is rather anemic when compared to last year. And it isn’t just Nick Collins’ absence factoring into this. Williams and Shields have yet to reach their fullest potential this year. Peprah has not stepped up like I had hoped he would. Thankfully, they still dominate in take-aways and hopefully this weekend that helps negate some of their other liabilities.

And this brings us to the Giants’ greatest strength. Their passing game scares me. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks can be hella terrifying. And if you through in that that squat cube of a running back of theirs, and suddenly that team that was one step away from being elimated from playoff contention if the Cowboys hadn’t fallen on their own sword looks like a true contender.

Colleen Answers: The Packers’ biggest strengths are the fact that the team is as healthy as it has been all season, and the of course always stellar offense.  The weakness, as it has been all season, is the defense, particularly the secondary.  I do have some concerns about that playing against what I see as the Giants’ greatest strength, the ability of Eli Manning to choose from some gifted receivers.  However, I see the Giants’ biggest weakness as the deciding factor in the game -  the Packers are playing with a sense of purpose, especially this week as they play for Joe Philbin.

Lauren Answers : The only way the Giants even have a prayer against the Pack is if they build a consistent pass rush at the base 4. Pierre-Paul is a beast, with 16.5 sacks and being legit against the run. JPP had six sacks in Games 12-16, and eight tackles against Atlanta. Add in Tuck and Osi, and the defensive unit has only allowed 14 points in each of the past two wins and had a total of 11 sacks, 13 QB hits and three interceptions. Safety play will also come in to focus this game. Time to step up, Burnett.

 Here’s how the Pack win: Defense has GOT to step it up. Even if they increase their defensive play by 10 percent, we’re golden. If they allow the run to get out of control and the G-Men to control the clock on the offensive side, we are effed. The Packers are better, faster and stronger on offense. I expect a high-scoring game, but it really all depends on if we can stop the run and which Manning shows up to play.

That will do it for this week’s edition of Ask An Angel. If you’d like to be part of the excitement next time, go here and submit your question or ask on Twitter, @PDAngels & give the Angels a follow .

The Pocket Doppler Angels group is made up of the women that contribute to PocketDoppler.com, the moniker in homage to Charlie’s Angels. Individually and combined this group is as knowledgeable about the Packers, football & sports as anyone out there. Every other week or so they’ll answer your submitted questions on the Packers, football or other topics submitted. Feel free to submit non-Packers/football questions as well. Colleen would love to talk NASCAR with you, Kelly & Anita are ready to discuss the Badgers and college football, Amanda can regale you with her MLB & baseball knowledge or Jayme will explain to you why soccer is not just a European sport. To submit your question today, click here or on Twitter, @PDAngels .

 

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