Preparing for the Steelers' Week 16 game at Green Bay, we met up with Jason Hirschborn, a senior writer at Acme Packing Company, SB Nation's Packers blog. We asked him five questions...
1. Let's start with the question everyone is asking...who is less desirable under center, Seneca Wallace or Scott Tolzien?
Ah, a question that would have befuddled Descartes!
Though your question was clearly in jest, it's actually an interesting topic. It's difficult to give a definitive statement on either as both played only for a brief period of time. Wallace has been knocking around the league for over a decade now, but the physical skills that occasionally made him a terror have significantly dissipated. As for Tolzien, he possesses a strong arm and a fearlessness throwing downfield, but that same mentality also led to 1:5 touchdown to interception ratio. Ultimately, Wallace is going to retire at the conclusion of the 2013 season, so I suppose the answer is Tolzien by default.
2. Green Bay, with Rodgers, has an outstanding high-low attack on offense. Lots of receivers averaging 15-plus yards a catch, and lots around the seven yards a catch range. If this is the most dangerous offense in the league with Rodgers, where would it rank without him for a season?
Based on their production at the time of Aaron Rodgers' collarbone injury, the Packers would have finished in the top five in both scoring and total yards. More specifically, Green Bay would have proven fallen just behind Denver (league's best set of skill position players) and New Orleans (dome-inflated offensive statistics) for league's top offense. I don't imagine many would debate how successful the Packers are under Rodgers.
The second part of your question is far more interesting. Assuming your hypothetical involves Green Bay going through the offseason and regular season without Rodgers, I estimate they'd rank dead middle of the league in scoring and yards. Such would actually be a marked improvement over how Green Bay has performed since Rodgers went down. However, the Packers have been splitting reps and switching quarterbacks since the collarbone injury, which wouldn't likely be the case in your hypothetical. Given a full offseason to work out the kinks and all the weekly reps with the number ones, a Matt Flynn-led Packers offense would be an average unit.
3. Is Eddie Lacy the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year?
I'm probably in the minority on this issue among Packers scribes. There are only two viable candidates for the honor, Green Bay's Eddie Lacy and San Diego's Keenan Allen. While Lacy has certainly been impressive -- 1,264 total yards, 4.1 ypc, and eight touchdowns in 13 games -- Allen has been similarly spectacular. By season's end, the Chargers' wideout will have put together the most spectacular rookie season for a receiver since Anquan Boldin in 2003. While Lacy strengthened his case since Rodgers went down (582 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 136 carries), Allen's production hasn't dipped. It's too close to call at the moment, but I suspect Allen will win the award in the end.
4. Green Bay made an epic comeback in a Week 15 win over Dallas. Oddly, they won 37-36, the same score of the last time the Steelers beat the Packers. The feeling was similar. Fun, exciting but a defensive meltdown. What will Green Bay do well against the Steelers on the defensive side of the ball Sunday?
One of the most troubled areas for the Packers defense this year has been takeaways. However, the Packers have forced three of them over the past two games and was a fumble recovery away from a fourth. Now, Ben Roethlisberger has historically not given defenses many chances to pick him off, but he has been known to fumble the ball from time to time. If Green Bay can bring pressure with Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Mike Daniels, there could be an opportunity or two to force a possession change.
5. I'm going to be at the game Sunday, gimme some hot spots (like, higher temperature) to check out while I'm there.
While you'll certainly experience some jeering from the locals, Green Bay is a pretty hospitable place when it comes to opposing fans. You should feel right at home at the Stadium View, a sports bar just to the southeast of Lambeau Field. There you can find not only a TV tuned to all the day's games, but plenty of craft beers on tap. Most importantly, you can stay warm.
Follow Jason on Twitter @JBHirschhorn, and follow Acme Packing Company @acmepackingco. Catch all the latest from the Packers side before this game on Acme Packing Company.
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