Packers XLV

Playoffs? Playoffs? Yes, Playoffs!

Posted December 16th, 2019 @ 02:12pm

Let's start with the important stuff. The Packers are back in the playoffs after a two year hiatus. Back in the post-season for the 20th time in 27 years of the Favre-Rodgers eras. They close the decade with a 17-4 record over the Bears, with seven sweeps in the last 11 years. And with two games to go, they can finish anywhere from the top seed to the bottom seed in the NFC.

When relative unknown Matt LaFleur was hired, it was mostly met with a yawn. 11 months later he is the first head coach in Packer history to lead the Pack to the playoffs in his first season. GM Brian Gutekunst deserves at least an equal share of the credit for tweaking the roster with key free agent signings and what's looking like two mostly solid draft classes.

It's such a weird spot to sit in as a Packer fan, because though they're 11-3 with the NFC North title just one win or Vikings loss away, I'd guess that the majority of the fan base is not too excited about the team's post-season prospects. Their two most recent losses were no contest affairs and their wins have mostly been of the ugly variety. The Bears game is just the most recent example.

It started on the Pack's first play from scrimmage when Marquez Valdez-Scantling showed off his alligator arms on what could (should) have been a 75 yard touchdown pass. It set the tone for yet another uneven, inconsistent day for the offense, which teased us by coming out of halftime with two impressive touchdown drives, only to fail to convert a third down the rest of the afternoon.

When Dean Lowry picked off Mitch Trubisky midway through the fourth quarter, setting the Pack up at the 33 with a chance to make it a two score game and basically end it, Rodgers took an inexcusable sack on third and four to take the team out of field goal range.

It's a scenario we've seen play out all season: the Packers take a lead and can't convert key third downs to extend drives and put teams away. They converted just five of 15 third downs and once again were outgained by their opponent. Davante Adams had seven receptions, but nobody else had more than two and once again they were unable to get any production from the running backs in the passing game.

At this point, we just have to assume this is what this offense is this season. The strength of the unit is the offensive line, which kept Rodgers upright (just one sack) and rendered Khalil Mack all but invisible (he flashed on one play all afternoon). Yes, the run blocking wasn't great, but nobody runs well against the Bears, especially with Akiem Hicks back to anchor the D-line. And they did outgain the Bears on the ground.

The defense was solid all afternoon, not letting Trubisky do too much damage with his legs and keeping David Montgomery in check. Yes, they threw for more than 300 yards, but much of that came after they fell into a 21-3 hole. Kenny Clark was the star on that side of the ball, causing havoc all afternoon.

Yes, the Pack caught a break on the penalty called on Cordarelle Patterson's hit on fill-in punt returner Tramon Williams. I haven't heard what happened to Tyler Ervin and why Williams had to step in there. Ervin was back the next time the Bears punted. I have to think Williams was told 'just make a fair catch; don't try to be a hero.' The last thing the team needed was for him to get injured. I have no earthly idea why he didn't signal for a fair catch. Patterson delivered a textbook hit, causing him to lose the ball and the Bears pounced on it. It was a bang bang play and the officials obviously thought he wasn't given a chance to catch it. But they blew it and four plays later the Pack was in the end zone on a 29 yard TD pass to Davante Adams on fourth and four. It was what it was: a huge break for the Pack. To quote Reese's: 'not sorry.' There was also a missed PI call on Adams on a huge third down play later in the game. Crap happens.

Big picture: the Packers finished the season 7-1 at home and sit one win away from the North title. If they get some help on Sunday and the Saints lose on the road at Tennessee, they could hold on to a top two seed, even if they lose at US Bank Stadium next Monday night. But how nice it would be to officially wrap up the division with a win over the Vikings. A statement win like that would quiet the naysayers and stamp the Pack as a dangerous playoff team. Recent performances would make it seem unlikely, but the Packers have surprised us quite a bit this season. And as maddening as it's been, it feels awfully good to be back in contention once again.

 

 

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Comments (17):

I hope our offense gets better and I hope we can clinch the division this week. With out cook the vikes may not get in. GPG!

on December 16th, 2019 at 01:12pm

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This season has far exceeded expectations. It would be amazing to win the division after these past two years. I expect the vikings to come out swinging next Monday night, hopefully we can keep up! Should be a fun game and a fun few weeks!

on December 16th, 2019 at 02:02pm

I am so tired of the Bears rivalry. In order to have a true rivalry, both teams need to be good and compete in big games. 17-4 record against Chicago this decade does not count as a main rivalry, that's a one sided bloodbath. Since 2011 the Bears have been to the playoffs once, yes once. In terms of games played, the longest rival is Chicago but the primary rival in terms of competitive balance is the Vikings.

on December 16th, 2019 at 03:49pm

Darren the Vikings have no championships or history!!thats what makes Rivalries!!

on December 16th, 2019 at 04:30pm

So the 3 NFC north teams went to Lambeau this year. Minnesota had 3 offensive pass interference calls(historic and all of the pure schit), Detroit(I always liked zebras), and this joke of a game today. Lambeau is so historic. LULZ

on December 16th, 2019 at 08:07pm

It is hard to get use to winning ugly, but that has been the m.o. this season. We will see if it continues against the Vikings. If that game is ugly, maybe we'll say that is just the way football looks when you play these Packers. It is maddening and it doesn't provide as much hope for the future as "losing pretty" might. Still winning begets winning more than losing in the NFL. It is Viking week now. Although, I wouldn't put money on a win in Minneapolis, we still have a good shot at it. It will be the sweetest of victories if we pull it off. If we lose, I think most of our goals are still ahead of us. Just think how high we've set the bar for a team with a first year head coach. It may be unfairly high. Still, we gotta chance. :)

on December 16th, 2019 at 09:59am

I wouldn't worry about it too much. As far as I'm concerned, this has been gravy on top of what was supposed to be a "rebuilding" season. Besides, last time I looked at a scoreboard, there wasn't a column for "style points" up there. ;-)

on December 16th, 2019 at 12:13pm

I am talking about this year and game consistency purple troll. The team dropped a few eggs on the west coast and has had several where they started hot in the beginning and didn't score a point for the final quarters.... Last week was another example with the first drive then nothing. 2nd half started hot again and then fizzled out. Seems that the coaching staff does a good job scheduling plays but when they have to make the calls on the fly they aren't able to adapt as quickly as the defense they are facing.

on December 17th, 2019 at 02:21pm

I know packertroll, I totally agree,Lanes Rover said the same thing last week,they’ll put it all together soon I think.

on December 17th, 2019 at 02:27pm

That a boy Greg,keep running your big fat mouth and put the whammy on us,packers don’t care and we won’t beat the Bears at home you idiot.Cousins always sucks against the Bears!!!

on December 17th, 2019 at 10:31am

So is this the 3rd or 4th game this year where we had the "sorry not sorry" because there was a crucial call (or several) that lead to an ultimate victory? Packers will win the north because the tigers don't have anything to play for and winning would hurt their draft status but unless they can get some consistency it will be a quick in and out of the playoffs. Good results considering BOY expectations however the yellow flags have been very helpful to the team's record.

on December 17th, 2019 at 11:45am

Yeah packers troll,Vikings have had a lot of deep playoff runs and it’s always the same result,now that’s consistency!!!

on December 17th, 2019 at 11:54am

Well, not knowing when THC will decide to drop his opinion on Border battle part 2, I guess I'll chime in now. Partially I think this actually border battle part 4 since I do understand that the fan in the east may still feel the Bears Packer rivalry is number 1. Yes, the number 2 seed is at stake. Yes, that is important. This is tough game in a tough environment in prime time against a quality team away from Lambeau Field. Part of thinks the offense might actually perform better on the fast track and in the controlled environment vs. the freezing cold. The other part of me know how loud the audio system is at the dome. It is a fantastic stadium, I have been to a couple games there. My complaint is how loud they make it. Not the fans, the audio engineers. If it was just screaming fans that would be cool, but it's not. It's the stuff coming out of the speakers that makes it a less enjoyable experience for me there. I digress, this is beside the point. I expect the Packers to loose this game. Considering what is at stake and the quality of both teams, I expect the Vikings to win this one. In fact, I think the Viking would have an excellent shot of winning even if we swapped out the Packers for the 49rs or the Saints in the same situation. The truth is, the least likable thing about the Vikings is the Trolls that frequent this website. I don't think either team is a Superbowl champion team, but they are both solid teams. I'm hoping for a close game where the Packers hone some of their turf playing skills. Since I don't actually want the Packers to loose I can't bring myself to give a score. I'm hoping for an entertaining game, that is decided on the field. Go Pack.

on December 19th, 2019 at 09:59pm

This game could go either way,Vikes have a good front seven,there’s some holes in the backend Rodgers could find if he has a little time,being at home helps for Vikes,need a fast start,Like my ol buddy Larry says if Pack gets a couple turnovers could be the difference,Go Pack!!

on December 20th, 2019 at 07:47am

You are right Lanes Rover, if anyone asked you what is the key to the Packers going 11-3 , it is not hard to figure out. it's the turnover ratio. they are plus 14, simple as that. They are bottom 3rd in defense in yards, but top 3rd in points given up. they do play well in red zone. I think this game will come down also, to the O line. I called them out versus the Niners, and they played like dogs. I told my buds playing cards the other night. I would throw 25 times in a row, short quick passes to Jones, Williams and crossing patterns to WR's . Get the ball out fast, then run some draws, end arounds, and keep the speed of vikings d line off balance. I think Rhodes won't play much this game, Zimmer finally sees his decline. If we do all that we have a chance , and of course plus 2 in turnovers. If not, and they try to run the ball to much, Vikes 27 to 23. Go Packers

on December 20th, 2019 at 10:03am

First of all I’m glad we are where we are. Having said that I do feel conflicted with all the breaks we got as I want to win fairly. Lions should have beat us and who knows what happens if the officials don’t blow it against the bears. All calls officials make should be challengeable as there is just way too many missed calls that effect a game. Having said that we are in a great position this year and I’m not feeling confident on Monday. I look at our offense vs the Vikings and they have the advantage on receiver, tight end, and running back with cook (without advantage packers though their defense is pretty good against the run). I give the pack QB though it’s close this year, o-line (though that 49ers game and chargers game scares me as both have lines they are athletic like the Vikings), RB without D cook. Defense talent wise the Vikings have it on pretty much every level and they seem to be playing well lately as we know Chargers are nots joke. With the crowd on their side I see this as a loss and sadly I see it by 10. I’m picking the Vikes (sadly) 31 - 21

on December 20th, 2019 at 10:52am

Cannot remember a Packer Team as healthy this time of year as this team is. Hope to see this team go into Mn. and show some offense!

on December 22nd, 2019 at 05:40am

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