Melinda Banks, a Green Bay Packers blogger at Lombardi Ave, and I took some time to exchange questions and answers in preparation of the Lions game against the Packers. Head over to Melinda’s site to check out my answers to her questions.
Zac Snyder: A lot football has been played since the Lions and Packers last faced each other. What differences, good or bad, do you see in the Packers now compared to earlier in the season?
Melinda Banks: When we started out the season, there was a lot of “hype”, we were being picked as Super Bowl favorites before we even stepped on to the field. Since then we have suffered catastrophic injuries, as a result, I think the team has become more humble and more focused on the next game instead of a post season. We’ve had 13 players go out on IR this year, and luckily we’ve had some back ups step in to keep us in the hunt. Losing 4 games by 3 points each just shows how close we are, even without 5 of our starters.
ZS: How big of a concern is the running back by committee approach the Packers are taking with Ryan Grant out for the year? Will they be able to run the ball well enough to make a deep playoff run?
MB: Our running game has been a huge concern since Grant’s injury week 1. The running back by committee obviously hasn’t worked out very well. The good news for the Packers is that James Starks is now in the game. He’s off PUP and had a great debut against the 49’ers last week. He’s moving the chains, helping with third down conversions. It’s what we’ve been missing. I think he will be an every down back, he should be capable of getting a couple 100 yard games.
ZS: Donald Driver made a highlight play last week but it was his first touchdown since week 4. Is his career really winding down that much or could it be attributed to Greg Jennings taking a bigger role?
MB: Jennings has been playing great ball, he’s our top receiver. I don’t necessarily think Donald’s career is winding down, he did have a quad injury earlier in the season that he attempted to play through and it affected his productivity. The big 61 yard catch and TD last Sunday made us all realize DD is back!
ZS: What has Clay Matthews been doing so well to grab the league lead in sacks?
MB: Clay never rests, even during the off season, he was hard at work getting in some MMA training. The skills he learned there can certainly be translated on to field. Clay Matthews possesses some of the best instincts in a linebacker I’ve seen since Michael Strahan. He’s focused and tireless.. he’s able to read the offenses and has the physicality to break through the o-line. Unless he is being constantly double teamed, he’ll make his way to the QB at least once a game.
ZS: What is your prediction for the game?
MB: One thing you should know about me, I always pick the Packers to win. Although we are on the road this week, the division win is badly needed for us to get to post season. I pick the Packers 28 Lions 17.