There are enough storylines in Monday's big game to keep a room full of writers busy for months. We grabbed two of the lesser talented ones and got them to go over some of the main points bettors are talking about.
Green Bay and Baltimore are both in the Wild Card hunt. Which team is more likely to make the playoffs?
Ashton Grewal: Both teams are fighting tooth and nail for a Wild Card berth. Green Bay plays against a bad Chicago team, hosts Seattle in Week 16 and visits Arizona in a game the Cards won’t need to win.
If the Pack win those two games as well as Monday’s matchup, that would get them to 10 wins. I think that’s the magic number.
Dave Carey: It has to be the Ravens. The Packers have a better overall record, but the Ravens final five games include the Lions, Bears and Raiders.
If Baltimore can find a way to win at Lambeau Field, the club would be a virtual lock for double-digit wins and a postseason berth.
The Ravens have allowed 17 or fewer points in each of their last five games. Is their defense all the way back?
Carey: Not yet. The team still has problems in its secondary -- starting rookie Ladarius Webb at corner, Ed Reed nursing bad shoulders -- and stud linebacker Terrell Suggs will miss a third straight game with a sprained knee.
The unit still feasts on bad offensive lines and should have success blitzing the Packers, who have allowed 44 sacks, by far the most in the league.
Grewal: Completely agree, although I will add that you can see the attitude back for Ray Lewis’ gang.
Attitude and confidence can’t make up for that shaky secondary.
The key to the game will be the Ravens' pass rush vs. Green Bay’s offensive line. If Rodgers has time to throw, this game could be over in a hurry.
Aaron Rodgers has developed a reputation as a quarterback that will put up big numbers but won’t deliver in clutch situations. Is the characterization fair?
Carey: It’s far from fair. He can’t help it if his offensive line can’t block a pylon and his defense can't make a third-down stop in the fourth. Is Ben Roethlisberger suddenly not clutch because his defense can’t get big stops? No.
Grewal: Quarterbacks get all the credit when their team wins and all the criticism after a loss. I don’t make the rules. Quarterbacks in this league are judged by wins, not fantasy points.
Rodgers will be able to quiet his critics if he can lead the Packers to the playoffs this year.
On a side note, can we please stop comparing Rodgers to Brett Favre? Thank God ESPN booted Tony Kornheiser from the MNF booth. I think Ron Jaworski would have bitch-slapped that Brad Childress look-alike to death if he heard another word on the Favre-Rodgers soap opera from Tony K.
Which receiver has aged better - Derrick Mason or Donald Driver?
Grewal: Tough call, but I’ll go with Driver. He’s having a fantastic season and is an emotional sparkplug on a team without a lot of flare.
Carey: Mason still is a stud, even at 35. He has 52 catches for 734 yards and five scores and is the focal point of his team’s passing game as he has developed a rapport with sophomore signal-caller Joe Flacco.
Give me Mason.
Final score prediction
Carey: Packers 27, Ravens 20
Grewal: Packers 24, Ravens 17