The challenges just seem to keep getting bigger for the 2012 Green Bay Packers. They have a 10 gallon challenge deep in the heart of Texas Sunday night bracing for a raucus Reliant Stadium crowd and a 5-0 Houston team. One of the biggest issues so far this year for the Packers is the fact they haven't been whole. When was the last time Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley and Cedric Benson have been on the field for more than a series? Benson's down for the IR 8 week count now, Finley and Jennings haven't practiced again all week and as a result, the rythym and flow from a once prolific offense has sputtered, been sacked and generally under achieved. To have it all come together against the Texans, at their place, might be a bit too much to ask. Houston is a smart, balanced ballclub. They've turned the ball over only three times, they pound Arian Foster at you and then Matt Schaub does the carving with short and mid-range throws to the likes of Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and his favorite target, tight end Owen Daniels. Houston owns the AFC's top defense, led by J.J. Watt, who might be the NFL's defensive player of the year over the first five weeks. A relentless snap to whistle player who either bats down passes on the way to the quarterback or he gets to the QB with seven and a half sacks. The Texans took a big hit when Brian Cushing was lost for the year with a cheap, cut block in New York that blew up his ACL. Brooks Reed crashes around tackles from the other side at outside linebacker. The pressure has forced mistakes. Houston has 7 interceptions and they turn picks into bigger plays, averaging over 35 yards a return. They allow 86 yards on the ground and 189 through the air on the average Sunday. I'm painting a pretty bleak picture here but Houston has been patiently building toward this the past couple of seasons and it sure looks like they have the right pieces at last. If there is an achilles heel, it might be in special teams where the Texans have given up both a punt and kickoff return for a touchdown in the first five weeks. The Packers can still pull the upset however, if Rodgers is protected, the balls aren't dropped, the penalty flags disappear and they play with the urgency that a 2-3 team should have. A road victory against an unbeaten will fill the sails with plenty of wind as they try to stay within earshot of the Bears and Vikings when the NFC North round robin begins in earnest after the bye. Alas, after picking Green Bay the first five weeks, I, like they, sit at 2-3 which is why I'll side the home team, Texans 27 - Packers 23. Maybe that will be the difference. On the link below, comments from Mr. McCarthy and the boys on what they're in for when they call on the Lone Star State Sunday night.
Steve Czaban Show 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM
On Air Now.