Packers vs. Favre: Part II
They are missing a couple of targets in their passing game, though.
The Packers dominated in Sunday's 31-3 victory at Cleveland, one week after their 26-0 dismissal of Detroit. Now they're ready to take another shot at Favre and the Vikings, who beat the Packers by a touchdown earlier this month. And this game will be at Lambeau Field.
"Our confidence is high, and it well should be," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're growing as a football team. We're coming forward with the targets we're trying to hit. From a preparation standpoint, it's looking the way you want it to look."
The Packers did sustain two significant injuries in Sunday's game, likely forcing them to make a quick roster move.
McCarthy said Brett Swain, a fifth-string receiver and special teams standout, will have season-ending knee surgery after an injury Sunday. Wideout Jordy Nelson will miss at least two more weeks with a knee sprain, leaving the Packers with only three healthy wideouts as of Monday: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones.
McCarthy said the team will look to add a receiver this week, potentially bringing up Jake Allen from the practice squad.
Beyond that, tight end Jermichael Finley sprained his left knee at Cleveland, and McCarthy said he is a "long shot" for Sunday's game. Finley has emerged as a significant target in the Packers' passing game and will be missed against the Vikings.
But McCarthy pointed to tight end Spencer Havner, a converted linebacker, as an example of a player making the most of his chance to play in the wake of injuries. Havner caught a 45-yard touchdown pass on Sunday.
"We feel like we're building each week, getting better, growing," McCarthy said. "Guys are stepping up with their opportunities. I think Spencer Havner is an excellent example of that yesterday. We feel very, very good about ourselves as a football team."
Another example could be found in the play of rookie T.J. Lang, who started at left tackle in place of injured veteran Chad Clifton and performed fairly well. Despite being down two starters—Scott Wells filled in at center after an injury to Jason Spitz—the Packers' line didn't allow a sack of Aaron Rodgers after giving up a league-worst 25 sacks through their first five games.
Clifton and Spitz could return this week, but the Packers are preparing as if Lang and Wells will start. That means Lang could match up with dominant Vikings pass rusher Jared Allen.
In all, Packers players felt good about their consecutive wins.
"Football's a game of confidence," linebacker Aaron Kampman said. "Obviously we can draw some confidence from this. Now, in the same breath, you realize that statistically speaking, both of these offenses were not at the top in the NFL.
"It's good to have two big wins. We haven't done that back to back. Dominant performances on the defensive side of the ball. Obviously it's going to help us going into a very large game, large stage again at Lambeau Field."
Cornerback Charles Woodson said the Packers did what they were supposed to against two weak opponents.
"We know what we're capable of doing, but it's another thing to go out and do it," Woodson said. "Against teams like Detroit and Cleveland, teams that are struggling, you have to go out and win how you're supposed to win. I think it says a lot about the team. But again, we're playing a much better opponent this week. We can't rest on the last two weeks."
-- McCarthy said Clifton, who sat out Sunday's game with a nagging right ankle injury, might practice Friday.
-- McCarthy said the Packers' pair of midseason additions, OT Mark Tauscher and RB Ahman Green, are expected to fully participate in practice this week. McCarthy didn't say how either player might fit in this week's game plan.