Packers: Evening Mix

Jclombardi looks at Packers headlines & highlights.

Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com

Silva’s Super Bowl pick: My Super Bowl XLV pick has been Baltimore-Green Bay since May, and the ensuing months have provided few reasons to waiver. The Packers’ offense has the look of an indefensible juggernaut. The defense has question marks in the secondary, but reinforcements are on the way.

Notes: Ready or not, the Packers’ defense will be playing for real on Sunday at Philadelphia. Packers are the popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl among national writers, but that depends on the defense. Will a unit featuring three starters who barely played in the preseason and a rookie cornerback who figures to play most of the game be ready for the high-powered Eagles offense. The Packers are very healthy. Bishop (hamstring), Bulaga (hip), Jenkins (calf), Jones (shoulder), Matthews (hamstring) were full participants. CB Underwood (shoulder) was listed as limited but he was not on the field during the portion open to the media. LB Poppinga (knee) did not participate.

Season picks: Pack-ed XLV. MVP: Rodgers. He hasn’t won a playoff game, yet people already tout him as one of the game’s elite quarterbacks. Slow down. You must win something of consequence before you start taking bows and Rodgers will. My guess is that he produces all sorts of big numbers offensively, and all sorts of big wins and that he leads the Packers to the top of a division that includes two of the best teams in the game. A year ago he couldn’t overcome Brett Favre in two starts. This season he will. And he’ll jump to the top of the MVP charts.

Rookies Shields & Burnett: Shields won’t be the only rookie in the Packers’ secondary Sunday. Burnett will start at safety alongside Collins, although Burnett has had the benefit of taking every snap with the first-team defense throughout the offseason, minicamp, training camp and preseason games. “We’re young, (but) we have some experience being young. You just really focus on getting them ready,” Packers coach McCarthy said. “Burnett has done a very good job in his time here, and I feel he is ready to go. Shields has done a very good job. He has been getting better in every practice and he needs to play.

Brimming with confidence: There was no talk about how the Packers are the chic pick to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. Instead, the focus – and McCarthy’s message to his players – had shifted to Sunday’s regular-season opener at Philadelphia, where the Packers haven’t won since 1962.


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