Packers XLV

Any Questions?

Posted December 28th, 2020 @ 04:12pm

This was the night we would learn whether the Packers truly were Super Bowl contenders. This was the night we would learn whether the Pack's defense could play big boy football and slow down the best running back in the game on a big stage with a lot at stake for both teams.

What we learned is that Green Bay's defense was more than up to the challenge. With Lambeau Field in full snow globe mode, it appeared the stage was set for a Derrick Henry masterpiece. But Mike Pettine's group decided they were done being the team's punching bag, the elephant in the room keeping this team from being taken seriously as an elite NFL team.

Henry never found his footing; his longest run was just ten yards and he didn't even crack 100 yards on 23 carries. It turned out he was the third best running back on the field Sunday night. More on the Pack's running game in a bit.

This defense has improved steadily since the middle of the season, withe Colts game being the only outlier. But the competition hasn't been robust--they've faced a lot of middling offenses. The Titans presented a different challenge, entering the game as the top ranked offense in the league. Clearly, the weather conditions did the passing game no favors, but it wasn't exactly impossible to move the ball through the air, as Aaron Rodgers demonstrated throughout the evening.

The defense now has ascending playmakers on every level. Last year's two #1 picks, Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage have made huge leaps in year two and were difference makers on Sunday night. Kenny Clark continues to cause problems up front and Za'Darius Smith wreaks havoc on the quarterback every week. Jaire Alexander can take a team's top receiver out of the equation, Adrian Amos has stepped in to handle dime linebacker duties and does all the right things at safety.

They held the Titans to 16 points and 260 yards and they won't face an offense that potent in the NFC playoffs. They showed us that they are ready to hold up their end of things when everything is on the line in January.

And then there's the offense. Rodgers throws four incompletions all night (the interception was the only real blemish). Davante Adams cements his status as the league's best receiver in 2020, joining Randy Moss and Cris Carter as the only WR to have 100 catches and 16+ touchdowns in a season--and he's done it in 13 games. His shoestring sideline catch with Malcolm Butler in coverage may have been his finest of the season. What a player and what a tandem. After the game Rodgers paid him the ultimate compliment, saying he Charles Woodson was the best he's ever played with, but that Davante may be joining him on that level.

The production on the ground took the Pack's offense to another level last night. With Jamaal Williams out AJ Dillon got his first extended role and showed precisely why Brian Gutekunst shocked the world by drafting him over a wider receiver or anyone else in the second round. He's built for cold weather football and will provide some serious thunder to Aaron Jones' lightning. Williams will still have his role this season, but there is no way this team does not give Dillon snaps the rest of the way.

The only real blemish on the night was seeing Ricky Wagner carted off. With Corey Linsley back at center, the Pack was back to full strength on the offensive line. Fortunately, the depth is there and Billy Turner kicked out to right tackle, where he's played well this season and Lucas Patrick stepped back in at right guard.

It was a statement performance by the Packers leading into the playoffs. The Packers are a Seahawks loss (at San Francisco--very possible) or a win over the Bears away from home field advantage in the NFC. Green Bay right now looks like the most complete team in the NFC on both sides of the ball, and if the road to the Super Bowl finally goes through Lambeau, then a spot in the Super Bowl should be our expectation. Anything less will be a supreme disappointment.

The way they played against the Titans and with the probable MVP leading the way, it's starting to feel like things are falling into place for the Pack this season. Paul Allen likes to call me the "Sultan of Smug." For the first time this season, I'm ready to welcome that moniker with open arms.

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Comments (12):

That was unexpected, I thought henry would run all over us. I also was disappointed by not drafting a WR in round 2, but Dillon looks like a perfect fit after 1 game. As great of a season this has been, it can all come crashing down with a loss at the hated bears. We are the better team but strange things happen in division games. Go pack go!

on December 28th, 2020 at 01:41pm

Davy....The title of this weeks column is "ANY Questions? Yes.. My question is this....I question your statement that the Pack will not face a better offense than the Titans in the playoffs. Yes...they scored more points but come on....I would rather face an offense lead by Tannehill than one led by Wilson, Brees, Brady or even Murray. Not even close. "Just Sayin" GO PACK GO !!

on December 28th, 2020 at 03:45pm

Larry, I was right there with you. I still think Rodgers would prefer a fast consistent surface. I don't really care about cold until we get under 10 degrees, or there is real wind. That's when it gets harder to throw the ball. Dillon had a great game, he does that in the playoffs and I'll get behind him. OSSG is right about other QBs that are tougher for us. It looks odds heavy that we would get the Bucs in the second round if we win. That would definitely be interesting in Green Bay.

on December 28th, 2020 at 04:05pm

The Pack will face a far better defense this week. But to bet against #12 against the Bears is not on my bucket list!

on December 28th, 2020 at 06:58pm

This was the most complete game of the season. I'm going to ignore special teams, mostly because of the weather. I have a horrible tendency to want to say Corey Dillon instead of AJ Dillon, and I have to stop that. His catching was good. His pass protection was acceptable. He started slow , but figured it out. I'm not sure I'm a fan yet, but he earned a lot of respect last night. Adams was masterful. He looks like he is making his case for HOF , not just best receiver in football. All the other receiver on the team look more competent than ever. They don't look like world beaters, but they have seasoned into competence. The defense looked great. period. Nice job all around. Guess what, They still have to win Next week if they want a bye. The Bears are trying to win and in. I haven't looked, would it be back to back Bears if we lose? Most complete game of the year! Go Pack!

on December 28th, 2020 at 10:28am

well, I got the 0 and 4 right. I said we would lose 34-30. Best game they have played on both sides of the ball in 2 years. Special teams still needs some work, BUT , we cant have everything. The Bears are Playing much Better, Same as this game , Stop there rb and we will win. Good to be sooooo wrong. I guess You Can say we will not have trouble moving the ball in the cold. It was 24 and not much wind, But as THC said last week. I called him on it. BUT Dave was right. Let's get the number 1 seed. Go Packers.

on December 28th, 2020 at 11:21am

Let's just hope the Pack didn't play their Super Bowl 6 weeks too soon. They produced the complete game performance we've been seeking and dominated a quality opponent and put themselves in the driver's seat in the NFC. But they will need to maintain that focus, energy and preparation for an extended time to come against increasingly higher competition. I'd say the league behind closed doors is hoping for a Packers-Chiefs SB in Tampa Feb. 7. Rodgers v Mahomes. The clubs that met in the first Super Bowl getting together again 54 years later. People could really use that after the long, hard year.

on December 29th, 2020 at 05:22am

January football in Wisconsin and Illinois requires a bruising running back (Taylor,Levens,Bennett,Lacy) and now hopefully Williams and Dillon then you don’t have to worry about the wind and home field matters,sweeps and screens will work for you,I got it right last week,hopefully it continues. Go Pack Go!!

on December 29th, 2020 at 05:24am

Good to see the packers picked up Snacks Harrison DT. Seattle dropped him after they got Dunlap. Glad to have on 1st and 2nd down to help stop the run. we may need him down the road.

on December 31st, 2020 at 11:25am

I agree with Larry regarding Snacks. Adding him to a defense that just made Derrick Henry appear human should inspire confidence that we can hold Alvin Kamara to well under 6 TDs if we face the Saints in the playoffs. I would've liked for Seattle to have lost last week, as that may have lead to some Week 17 action for Tim Boyle. Instead we'll get to see Rodgers cement his status as league MVP against our rivals. Although Packers could remain #1 with a loss and Bears could remain #7 with a loss, their matchup still has a playoff-like aura to it. Happy New Year to all, and GO PACK GO!

on December 31st, 2020 at 11:51pm

So a shot of bad luck with Bahk, just wondering Dave if you have an opinion on Yosh Nijman and would he be a valid option at LT.

on January 1st, 2021 at 05:28am

If we can win a playoff game without Bakhtiari than the offense line coach should get an award.

on January 1st, 2021 at 09:31am

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