Bye Bye Vikes.

I find myself flashing back to the middle of the summer, when we weren’t sure whether Aaron Rodgers would be back for a 17th season in Green Bay. And if he did return, what kind of season would it be after such a tumultuous offseason?

Fast forward to the present, and the Pack has locked up the top seed in the NFC with a week to go, has become the first team in history to win at least 13 regular season games in three straight seasons, Rodgers is favored to pick up his fourth MVP trophy and Matt LaFleur is expected to be named coach of the year. Oh, and the Pack is the betting favorite to bring home the Lombardi trophy.

If it is the Last Dance for Rodgers in Green Bay, it’s been a hell of a tango so far. After destroying the Vikings and effectively ending the Mike Zimmer era on a frigid Sunday night at Lambeau, the Packers can move on to their next goal: winning two home games and earn a ticket to the Super Bowl.  

The game script was familiar: get off to a slow start offensively, watch Rodgers and Davante Adams heat up and then hand things off to the running game in the second half and let Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon mop up. The Pack’s running back duo are now both over 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season.

Did you see Rodgers’ stats in division games the last two seasons? 34 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. You know that fans in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Detroit are praying that this really is the last dance for Rodgers in Green Bay. We are so fortunate to watch him and Davante Adams, two future Hall of Famers, work their craft week in and week out. Poetry in motion.

Hard to know what to make of the defensive performance, with an overmatched Sean Mannion running the show. It allowed Joe Barry to put more resources into slowing Dalvin Cook, but who could have forecast that Cook would be held to 13 yards on nine carries? After what we witnessed the last two weeks, seeing a shutdown performance by the defense was a sight for sore eyes, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

And how refreshing was it to see a real live, competent punt returner out there for the first time all season? David Moore was a revelation and provides hope that we won’t have to turn away when teams punt to the Packers in the playoffs.

The Pack will close the season in Detroit and LaFleur and his coaches will wrestle this week with how much to play his most valuable players. Rodgers and Adams have already been vocal about wanting to play at least part of the game and it sounds like LaFleur thinks that’s a good idea.

You gotta weigh the risk of injuries, with the reality of three weeks between meaningful games and the chance that the team could come out flat when the playoffs begin. My guess is the offensive skill position players will play the first quarter and then take a seat. Same goes for guys like Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and most of the starting secondary.

The Pack has earned a first round playoff bye for the third straight season and we know for the second year in a row the road to the Super Bowl runs through Lambeau. This time, with a jam packed stadium cheering them on. It’s more than we could have hoped for six months ago. Now it’s time to exorcize those NFC title game ghosts and get to the Super Bowl. Feels like this team has what it takes to make that happen.

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This has been an odd year on this blog, but the consistency the Packers have displayed over the last three has been amazing. It would be fantastic to see Bakhtiari and Alexander back to get a couple reps in next week as a warm up for the playoffs. This team has often looked this year like they are capable of playing better. The Vikes didn't put present enough of a challenge for that to be true. Hopefully the defense can put forward the Mister Hyde performance and leave Rodgers to be Dr. Jekyll in the playoffs. The Lions game has no meaning. We should use it to tune in the new return man and special team. Hopefully Love can get some meaningful reps that will help him develop. I would love to get Z back for the playoff, but at this point I'm not sure he could be in game shape in time. Preston Smith has proven he is worth his money, as long as they don't ask him to drop into coverage. This team doesn't look overly physical on offense , except when Dillon is running in the third quarter. They are resilient though, mentally tough. They are talented. If they can avoid special teams issues and strings of questionable play calls, then that big game might just be in their future. lynndickeyfanJan 3rd, 2022 10:45 pm
Thanks Dave , I was a little nervous not hearing from you last week... my 6 brothers were starving for Head Cheese wisdom...kids too Go Pack. Still work to do! Thanks for being out there. Golf in Hawaii doesn't suck by the wayFlyman51Jan 4th, 2022 1:50 am
hey Dave. thanks for fixing site. This year went by so damn fast again. I sure hope 69, 23 and 55 can play in playoffs. I think 69 will play a half this week along with the starters and then subs will play second half. Just please no dumb injuries. I wish they would let Boyle play but sounds like Goff is. I have said this since thanksgiving to my family and friends, Cowboys will be here for divisional game with McCarthy. You cant make it up how shit works out right?? Just better make sure we can stop the run or they will beat us. Enjoy this. It maybe awhile before we do again. larryJan 6th, 2022 2:20 pm
LaFleur announced today that he plans on starting everybody against the Lions instead of resting them. I agree with the decision. There is , In my mind, a compelling reason to do so. Beyond keeping the chemistry, and not wanting there to be any rust after what would essentially be 3 weeks between games, past the bad taste of half-assing a game going into the playoff, there is another reason. That reason is controlling the pace of the game. The best way to get thru a game cleanly is to be in control of it. To stay on the front foot , keep doing the things you know, and staying focused. That is all a lot more normal if all the best players start. Think about how disjointed the game is when the qb can't keep the offense on the field. Love is fine , and I hope he gets some reps. He definitely needs them. Still, the best way to get thru the game injury free is to play in control. Starting Rodgers , Adams, and Jones gives us the best chance of doing that. Let's keep it normal. Luckily for us, winning is a lot more normal than not.LynndickeyfanJan 6th, 2022 6:52 pm
The "table" is once again set for the Packers but this time will they finish the feast? The territory is all too familiar - 2002, 2003, 2007. 2011, 2014, 2020- but the "feel" now is different both respect to the team the Packers have and the postseason competition they will be up against. Ironically, the thing that might make an Aaron Rodgers retirement happen is ARod doing an Elway and walking off the field for the last time a Super Bowl winner. And the worst outcome would be the Packers getting to the Super Bowl but losing it. In that case Rodgers comes back to make another charge. PackerliferJan 7th, 2022 7:01 am
Cowboys don’t make it out of the first round.Bud Grant Jan 9th, 2022 9:24 am

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