I REALLY like this matchup if for some reason Jennings is unable to return by then. We could then easily afford to double Nelson and we can man up with Driver/Jones/Finley. I also really hope we play very little base. Only 5 teams run the ball less than them and they aren't even quite at 4 yards per carry. Assuming Jennings plays, I'm not even sure that there shouldn't be some plays where Whitner and Bowman are on the sidelines. I like Aldon/Justin/RayMac/Brooks on the d-line with Willis at LB, all 5 corners, and Goldson (or perhaps substitute Brooks for Bowman in a 3-2-6 alignment). Highly unorthodox personnel grouping, but for 15 or so plays during the game when they are in obvious passing situations, I think that'd give Rodgers some trouble. And even on a LOT of 1st and 2nd downs, we should have our standard nickel personnel (Smiths, RayMac, Brooks, Willis, Bowman, Rogers, Brown, Culliver, Goldson, Whitner) on the field. I like Rogers on Nelson, Culliver and Whitner on Jennings, Brown on Driver or Jones, and Goldson playing centerfield. Willis on Finley. Not sure we should play much zone, granted, that potentially leaves us vulnerable to some nice scrambles by Rodgers, but Bowman would be the wildcard. They don't throw a whole lot to their backs, so he could kinda just play a zone in the middle of the field, helping to take away slants and curls and stuff, while also keeping an eye on Rodgers coming out of the backfield. And when they do run the ball, I still think our nickel D would shut it the f**k down. Fangio, if you're reading, I hope this is your gameplan.
As for our redzone D, Rodgers is so good at getting touchdowns within the 10 yard line by throwing those quick little back shoulder passes. Therefore, I think we should have our corners playing with outside leverage (something not seen a whole lot on a condensed field) with Willis and Bowman lined up at about the hash marks to take away the quick slants and inside routes. Because they're both so fast/quick/instinctive, this would not leave us particularly vulnerable to the inside run as they would quickly be able to collapse inside to make the tackle. If we're still
worried about the run in this case, I think we could throw a little wrinkle at them with something we haven't done all year - a 4 man line that includes Sopoaga. Sope and J. Smith at d-tackle with RayMac and A. Smith at d-end. Gives us a little more beef up the middle to make up for the adjustments we'd be making in the back 7.
I realize this is jumping the gun a bit, but I really have my doubts about New Orleans being able to take their cute little dome offense outdoors deep into winter on grass (not artificial turf) and have a ton of success against the best defense the NFL has seen in a while who, as the cherry on top, have had 2 weeks to rest/prepare/gameplan. We should certainly assume they will beat Detroit and therefore start watching film on them immediately after we beat STL on Sunday.
[ Edited by andes14 on Dec 28, 2011 at 6:57 PM ]