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Packers insider previews game


The Packers' banged-up front line will have a tough task on its hands in trying to stop rookie running back Steve Slaton, the Week 13 AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Green Bay Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky of the *Green Bay Press-Gazette *joined Nick Scurfield of for an exclusive interview to share his thoughts on the Week 14 Texans-Packers game at Lambeau Field.

This is Demovsky's 12th season covering the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Nick Scurfield: Obviously, most Texans players aren't used to the freezing temperatures of Green Bay and Lambeau Field. How big of a factor do you anticipate the weather being in this game?

Rob Demovsky: Last year's NFC championship game kind of changed the way I viewed the Packers and the cold weather. I was in New York that week covering the Giants and temperatures that week were in the 40s and 50s in N.Y. while they were below zero in Green Bay. I thought that the Giants wouldn't be able to function in the cold because they wouldn't be used to it, but that wasn't the case at all. They were fine, and the Packers' older players -- Brett Favre, Al Harristo name a couple -- really struggled. Now obviously Favre is gone, but we don't know how Aaron Rodgerswill handle the cold either. So my point is, I don't necessarily think the cold weather will work against the Texans or in favor of the Packers necessarily. I don't get the sense the Packers players enjoy the cold anymore than anyone else does.

Nick Scurfield: Thirteen weeks into the season, do you think the Favre trade was the right move?

Rob Demovsky:I'll put it this way: I'm not sure the Packers would have much better of a record right now with Favre. Their defense has so many weak links that Favre might not have made a difference. There might have been a game or two that Favre would have pulled out that Rodgers didn't, but there also might have been a game where Favre threw four or five interceptions that would have cost them a game they won. The whole situation still seems surreal with Favre playing for another team, but I go back and forth on whether it was the right move to trade him.

Nick Scurfield: Why hasn't Ryan Granthad the season that everyone expected after his outstanding rookie year?

{QUOTE}Rob Demovsky:This is where Favre might have made a difference. Teams probably feared Favre more than Rodgers, so they couldn't stack up defenders to stop the run because they were scared Favre would burn them. That said, their offensive line was pretty poor at the start of the season, and Grant was definitely slowed by the hamstring injury. So it's probably a combination of all those things.

Nick Scurfield: How has A.J. Hawkhandled the middle linebacker position since Nick Barnett's season-ending injury?

Rob Demovsky:Hawk played very well against Chicago, not very well against New Orleans and so-so against Carolina. However, some of the problems the linebackers have had this year have to be related to the problems the Packers have had on the defensive line.

Nick Scurfield: Is the Packers' aggressive man coverage style starting to catch up with them? The Saints and Panthers had success throwing the ball against Green Bay in the last two weeks.

Rob Demovsky:It's catching up with them but not because of anything the cornerbacks have or have not done. It's catching up with them because they don't have enough of a pass rush. Corners -- even good ones like Al Harrisand Charles Woodson-- can only cover for so long. At some point, they need help from the D-line to get pressure.

Nick Scurfield: Why have the Packers been so poor defending the run this season, and how would you rate their chances are of slowing down red-hot running back Steve Slaton?

Rob Demovsky:They lost one of their best defensive linemen -- Cullen Jenkins-- to a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 4. They traded away another solid run stopper in Corey Williams, and they were without Justin Harrellfor the first half of the season. Last year, they had a deep rotation of linemen. This year, they don't. Their run defense has been a problem all year, so I would think Slaton has a decent chance of having a big day.

Nick Scurfield: What's your prediction for the score?

Rob Demovsky:I've been so bad at predictions lately. I picked five of the first six Packers' games correctly this season but haven't won one since. I'm leaning toward picking the Packers but probably only by the slimmest of margins, say 27-24.


Read Demovsky's Packers coverage on the *Green Bay Press-Gazette *website at ****.

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