Packers XLV

Packers Move On to the Next 'Table.'

Posted January 2nd, 2017 @ 03:01pm

The table has been run.

The next table, the playoff table, has 12 places set and the Packers have earned their seat. The season ending six game winning streak seemed unthinkable to all but the most Gerbschmidt-like fans, along with Aaron Rodgers, of course.

The Pack's QB has placed himself squarely in the MVP conversation, with an amazing stretch to close the season that saw him toss 15 touchdowns and no interceptions as he willed his team to the post-season. Sunday night, he was once again faced with a shaky ground game that relied mostly on fullback Aaron Ripkowski (channeling Zach Zenner).

With Darius Slay shadowing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb still nursing his ankle injury, Rodgers had to really spread the love, and he found eight different receivers throughout the game. None had a more prolific night than the emerging rookie Geronimo Allison. The improvisation in the end zone on his touchdown catch showed us all we need to see. He's the real deal and will be counted on heavily moving forward--playoffs and beyond (and could make Cobb expendable).

No matter whether the Pack is one and done, or goes on an unlikely Super Bowl march, Rodgers' 'run the table' declaration will live forever in Packers and NFL lore. It's one thing to stand in front of reporters right after your team dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 4-6 and your own performance is being scrutinized like never before--and then say you think your team could run the table. It's quite another to then deliver a six game masterpiece that helps capture a fifth division title in six years.

For those of us in the Twin Cities, it's about as satisfying a division title as we can recall. Let's go back to early October, when fans of the Purple were loudly and proudly searching high and low for their team's first loss. They quickly learned to be careful what you look for. They also learned you can't make a living on turnovers and big returns. It was a doomed season from the start, but their fans' early season bravado was annoying to all of us 'round these parts.

To be fair, injuries robbed the Vikes of much of their hope, but the Pack had to deal with a solid share of their own injuries, which explained much of their midseason malaise. But Rodgers took the lead, picked them up and carried them to the promised land. And we all know the offense will have to continue to carry the day the rest of this season.

The Pack has a serious issue at cornerback, with Rollins likely done and Damarius Randall banged up again. Even Mackinton Dorleant went down Sunday night. Dom Capers will have to mix and match and move guys around like never before. The Pack's opening opponent, the Giants, are the polar opposite, with as impressive a CB trio as you'll find in the league in Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and rookie Eli Apple.

It will be up to the front seven to make things difficult for Eli Manning. They did a so so job against Matthew Stafford, with Blake Martinez shining. Disappointing was the follow-up performance by Clay Matthews, who was unable to shake loose from the extra attention he was getting. The dropped interception led to a Lions touchdown, which gave them the lead in the second quarter.

We'll have all week to discuss and chew on the rematch with the G-men. Their recent January success at Lambeau will be a dominant storyline. But for today, let's savor what we just witnessed: the best six-game closing act the Packers have delivered in 75 years.

The Packers have some warts and some injury issues. But they also have the best quarterback this side of Boston. And week after week, year after year, we are privileged to watch him perform his magic every Sunday. Now we get another Sunday, and it's at Lambeau Field. You can bet Rodgers is looking for some January payback.

Anyone care to bet against him?

 

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Comments (4):

PACKCARS!

on January 2nd, 2017 at 10:20am

the injury equation is what makes Rodgers the MVP! NFC is wide open. So it is anybody's game. Atlanta is scary though. thanks for denying Detroit to embarrass the NFC North by being the division winner! and congrats on the win and the division.Enjoy but not in excess.

on January 2nd, 2017 at 10:54am

It hasn't been a comfortable season, but our goals are all still in front us. I'm totally looking at this one game at a time. Each one is a gift the Pack has given us. So, here is to hoping the next one is a post season win against Eli and the Giants. That would be very nice and just my size.

on January 2nd, 2017 at 12:45pm

Half the teams that made the playoffs last year - 4 of 6 in the NFC- didn't make it back this season. So the Packers' reaching the playoffs for an 8th straight season is an achievement worthy of note. They are currently tied with New England for the longest active playoff streak and just one season behind the NFL record holders Dallas (1975-83) and Indianapolis (2002-10.) Of course, it's what the Packers have failed to do with more of their postseason opportunity that has frustrated and worries again. They have just one Super Bowl win to show for it all. They've been a "one and done" 3 times, been a divisional round elimination twice and only once have gotten as far as the conference title game. Three times they have lost at home during the Mike McCarthy era and are only 7-6 in playoff and championship games during the streak. They've been "close but no cigar:" losing 3 "sudden death" overtime games and a fourth on a last second field goal. They've won as many Super Bowls as the Patriots, Cowboys and Colts during their string. But the Pats have played in 3 Super Bowls and 3 conference title games during their current run. The Cowboys were in 3 Super Bowls in 1975, 77-78 and 3 NFC Championship games in '80,'81 & '82. The Colts, with Peyton Manning, had a comparable playoff record with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers during their 9 year stretch: just 1-1 in Super Bowls and only one conference championship game appearance with a postseason record of 8-7. The Packers are in some rareified company when it comes to being a playoff team. Now let's see if they can add to that category in which the franchise stands alone by getting a 14th world championship in the coming month.

on January 3rd, 2017 at 05:53am

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