Was It the Right Move? What’s Next?

Packers select Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness at No. 13 overall in 2023  NFL draft
Lukas Van Ness was drafted 13th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft and will wear #90.

Much has been made on social media, both from fans and “experts” about Packers General Manager, Brian Gutekunst, passing on fan-favorite, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Ohio St.) and taking, yet another defender. The claim is that it’s the wrong move for various reasons:

  1. Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry “sucks” so why keep giving him talent? If that doesn’t answer itself, you may be passed helping.
  2. Jordan Love has no experience, why not surround him with weapons to give him a chance? Again, when I judge Aaron Rodgers for only have 1 ring (which is almost entirely due to his defense), a QB’s best friend is a great offensive line, and a great defense. Weapons/Skill players are the most likely to develop.

How “Bad” is Joe Barry?

While this may not be the best judgement of a DC (Defensive Coordinator), I’ll play Devil’s Advocate, or at least offer a different perspective on viewing Green Bay’s DC. His track record is not impressive, hell its straight up bad. He served 2 years as the Redskins DC (2015 and 2016), ranking 17th and 19th in scoring, respectively. Since taking over in Green Bay, in 2021, the last two season’s he’s ranked 14th (2021) and 17th (2022).

I took a look at his track record of games in December and January to see if there’s been improvement. The verdict? Not really…well, maybe.

2022 (GB)PtsYds
2021 (GB)
2016 (Was)
2015 (Was)
Total Avg.22.5360.2

The numbers seems to be consistent, except for this past season. Considering he’s only had 1 good year of QB play (Rodgers’ MVP in 2021), that’s what led to the playoffs, as well as Washington making the postseason in 2015 where Green Bay came in, fell down 11-0, early, then took over and won 35-18 after a huge goal line stand.

What’s interesting is this past season, 2022. The Packers got “hot” and it was actually due to their defense. Many may forget, it was hobbled, missing Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes, as well, but found a way to give up 17.6 points per game, which would’ve ranked them 2nd in scoring. Keep in mind that was with Minnesota putting up 14 in the 4th quarter of a game that was 41-3 with all the starters pulled.

In Joe Barry’s two elimination games (context: games where the Packers were eliminated), Green Bay gave up 20 points and 323 to the Lions in Week 18. Detroit ended up being the 5th scoring offense, averaging 26.6 points/game. The flip side, the Packers scored 16 against the 28th scoring defense, giving up an average of 25.5 points/game. Barry’s unit came through.

Shall I bring up the prior elimination game? The San Francisco 49ers had a total of -15 yards of offense with 6:41 left in the 1st half. Once they actually crossed midfield, they ended the drive by throwing an interception in the end zone. On the game, Barry’s unit relinquished 6 points and 212 yards. I’m not advocating for him to keep his job, or that he’s not the problem — I’m offering a different perspective into why using top draft picks on defense isn’t a bad idea because the DC is bad. (How’s that for a few double/triple negatives?)

University of Tennessee QB, Hendon Hooker, was having a monster season prior to tearing his ACL.

Now Who to Keep an Eye On?

Rounds 2 and 3 are where teams truly separate themselves from the pack in terms of true value and talent-add. The Packers (as of 5:30 pm) hold the 42nd, 45th, and 78th overall selections tonight. There are quite a few players that could truly help the team that will be available.

Let this marinate for a minute, but if Hooker is available when the Packers are on the clock at 78, don’t be surprised if they snag him. Would he be an insurance plan for Love should he suck or get hurt? Probably not, at least that wouldn’t be the intention. He’s a promising QB and if he’s hurt, teams will shy away from him because he may not be 100% by the start of the season. You know how Green Bay has been great at finding QBs? They keep taking them. It’s that simple. Let’s say Jordan Love is the next Tom Brady, if Hooker is the Jimmy Garoppolo, how is that a bad thing? The Packers would then have a huge asset they could trade for immense value in the future. If Hooker doesn’t pan out…well, most draft picks don’t…

The Packers Will Select _____ in Rounds 2 & 3

I’m guessing the Packers will take best available, per usual, however that may not be a WR or a TE. However, there are plenty of talented WRs and TEs still on the board and the value in taking those at 42, 45, and 78 far outweigh taking one at 13. Don’t be shocked if they trade up (Green Bay will have 7 picks tomorrow for rounds 4-7) to snag an additional guy in Round 2.

The Tight Ends:

  1. Michael Mayer – Notre Dame
  2. Luke Musgrave – Oregon St.
  3. Darnell Washington – Georgia
  4. Sam LaPorta – Iowa

The Iowa pedigree, especially for tight ends is no joke. Remember the combine and hype for George Kittle? No, you don’t? That’s because no one (aside from Hawkeye Nation) did, because he was a 5th round draft pick and is now a certifiable stud. La Porta may be there in Round 3, but if GB takes him, there might be something there…

The Wide Receivers:

  1. Jonathan Mingo – Ole Miss
  2. Jayden Reed – Michigan St.
  3. Jalin Hyatt – Tennessee
  4. Cedric Tillman – Tennessee
  5. Marvin Mims – Oklahoma

There are a ton, but these are a few. Hyatt was a game-breaker. For the common fan, but knowledgeable fan, he may be akin to Mecole Hardman – an all or nothing guy. Maybe a better version of MVS…

I’d list offensive lineman too, because they’re always a need – remember, Elgton Jenkins was a 2nd round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Why the Packers Will Select, Who they Select.

2019 NFL Draft: The Packers are on the clock, but who will they take? -  Behind the Steel Curtain
After (finally) trading Aaron Rodgers, the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers select 13th overall, as of now.

Aaron Rodgers Trade

The inevitable trade, that transpired over months, finally occurred on April 24th. For tonight’s purpose, the Packers swapped first round picks with the New York Jets, moving up from 15th to 13th. While it’s only a difference of 2 spots, the perspective is a ton of leverage against others. The Packers added the 13th, 42nd, and 207th picks in this year’s draft, while giving up the 170th – if you’re keeping score at home for this weekend’s draft.

WR #13 Mike Evans (drafted in 2014).

What NOT to Draft in the 1st Round

There are “professional” mock drafters everywhere, showing the Packers taking either a Tight End, Wide Receiver, and even God forbid a Running Back. The enticement of the shiny object is far too much temptation for the average fan to endure. Many of those fans parade around with Twitter accounts and even their own web channels, and they claim to know who will be good and help this team. There are catastrophic flaws in all of that – not saying I’m immune to this, but my approach is far different – the main issue is that Rookies are never the difference-maker to winning a Super Bowl. The best rookies are typically highly drafted, thus ending up on an awful team that’s rebuilding. Also, rookies take quite a bit of time to truly contribute.

The other factor is value. Positions, like any team sport, range in values. We all know that QB is the most important position in the NFL. Based on pay scales the “most important” positions are QB, WR, Edge Rusher, OL, DT, CB, S, TE, RB, and LB. With wide receiver being slated 2nd, it’s considered important, yet it’s just not the case. Reasons being, every team carries 6+, meaning there are almost 200 wide receivers on active rosters each week. This means there are a ton of WRs in each draft, and needing a superstar is not necessary to win a title.

I chose an arbitrary year (2010), and of all of the wide receivers taken in the 1st round (50 of them) there were only 2 selected that eventually won the Super Bowl with the team that picked them. Those two?

  1. Demaryius Thomas, drafted in 2010, won the Super Bowl in 2015.
  2. Mike Evans, drafted in 2014, won the Super Bowl in 2020.

There’s a common theme with those two gentlemen…each was drafted then their team acquired an all-time great QB. Thomas was drafted by Denver and they signed Peyton Manning in 2012, similar to the Buccaneers drafting Mike Evans in 2014 and signing Tom Brady in 2020.

The point being, the Packers haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the 1st round since 2002, Javon Walker. Also, the missed opportunities of winning Super Bowls never came down to not having a wide receiver (yes, it was almost always QB play).

Notre Dame Tight End, Michael Mayer, is considered the #1 TE prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

How About a Tight End?

Like Wide Receivers, Tight Ends can be found a-plenty in later rounds. There’s much ado about the Packers “need(ing) to surround Jordan Love with weapons to make him successful.” While weapons and massive talent doesn’t hurt, teams are built on the line of scrimmage. Skill players are plentiful and the weak ones still get massive playing time while bad Offensive or Defensive linemen get exposed, early and often. Just off the top my head, Rob Gronkowski was drafted in the 2nd round. Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round, George Kittle? A 5th round draft pick. How about the Packers’ previous starter, “Bobby T”??? Oh, he was an undrafted free agent.

Teams that pick WR and/or TE are your typical bad teams. There’s a reason. Skill guys are fun to watch, but you can’t have a great defense without a solid D line and pass rush. If you have a great QB, protecting him with a solid O line allowing him to read the defense matters far more than some sweet skill players.

OT Broderick Jones, from the University of Georgia, CBSSports’ 23rd rated prospect.

Who Will the Packers Draft?

There are a slew of players I’d love Green Bay to draft. They’re in the trenches. That list looks like this, in no particular order:

  1. Peter Skoronski, OT – Northwestern
  2. Paris Johnson, Jr., OT – Ohio St.
  3. Lukas Van Ness, DL – Iowa
  4. Joey Porter, Jr., CB – Penn St.

While it looks like a Big Ten love fest, there are a few others that I’d love to see Green Bay take, however, my guess is they’ll be off the board. Also, I’m terrible at guessing who Gutekunst will take, although I correctly selected Devonte Wyatt last year – Quay Walker was not on my radar, so we’ll see.

Season Recap + Current Status

Patrick Mahomes (#15) hoists his 2nd Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, in Glendale, AZ on Feb. 12, 2023.

Season Predictions Lookback

According to my season predictions, the Packers fell short of my prediction of them falling short. All in all, that’s a good thing. Would rather have better draft capital than still not winning the Super Bowl. I had Green Bay finishing 12-5 and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game. Each team finished 8-9, with Tampa winning their division and losing to the 5th-seeded Dallas Cowboys.

Now each team is looking like they’re losing their starting Quarterbacks. Green Bay has Jordan Love in waiting while Tampa Bay has since signed Baker Mayfield. The writing is on the wall that Green Bay is moving on from Aaron Rodgers…more on that later.

The Chiefs winning is further validation that a QB is the true testament to winning, surrounding him with the best talent typically helps, but is not required – at least for truly great quarterbacks. The Chiefs lost their #1 wide receiver and had the 16th ranked scoring defense (giving up 21.7 points/game). The Packers lost their #1 wide receiver and had the 17th ranked scoring defense (giving up 21.8 points/game). Sure there are other factors, but it’s comical that Kansas City signing MVS – a player that Packer nation didn’t think was worth signing – was used as an argument to KC replacing their #1 wideout’s departure.


The ongoing, inevitable saga that is a HoF regular season QB disgruntled in Green Bay wanting to leave…is still on going. While the media went nuts for weeks, and by some accounts still is, nothing has actually transpired. Rodgers is still on Green Bay’s roster, the only difference is he’s made public what everyone already knew- so is that news?

While the hold up is about compensation, for someone that’s wanted him gone for over a decade, the compensation really matters, while it doesn’t matter at all simultaneously. It matters because every teams’ objective is to be the best they can, at all times, for as long as possible. However, Green Bay just ridding themselves of Rodgers and his contract would be a vast improvement…so, trading him, like Favre, will improve the team regardless. Now, if the Packers can garner a couple of picks, that will help years to come. The Favre trade allowed the Packers some assets to trade up and eventually draft Clay Matthews.

Everything Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft will be held at Union Station in Kansas City, MO on Thu, April 27 – Sat, April 29.

It’s wild to speculate what draft pick(s) Green Bay will siphon from New York, if any, but assuming they get the 13th overall selection or a compilation of others, there’s a likelihood the Packers will us them for a trade of sorts. If the Packers somehow receive the 13th overall pick, I’d expect them to stay put and select the best player available, or there’s a chance if they like a lot of players on the board, they’ll trade that pick and pick the best available at 15.

Should Green Bay get a couple of later picks, there’s a chance they could use them to package and trade up to the mid-to-late 1st round or early-2nd round, where they can then take 2 players between 15 and 35. Those players could and should be a force for the next 5 years adding to an already stacked roster.

All this being said, Green Bay has all of the leverage, as long as they stay patient and just wait. The worst case scenario is they have Rodgers on contract and he has to make the choice to either return to 1265 Lombardi and compete for the starting job with Jordan Love, retire, or demand a trade to anywhere. Should he demand a trade- that will decrease Green Bay’s overall leverage, however would and could increase their leverage between the Jets and themselves because other teams will be more apt to make a play for the 39-year old quarterback.

Potential Draft Prospects

There are a few prospects that are intriguing, as this draft seems like another deep one, meaning there’s tons of value in having as many picks as possible vs. having a few really high draft picks. It also means that everyone may have a good draft, but if you have more picks than everyone, well…

I could list a lot of guys that may be there at 15 – while I don’t think Jalen Carter (DL- Georgia) will fall, if he’s close and the Packers have capital, it may be worth trading up as he seems to be the next Warren Sapp. If you can get a Hall of Fame Defensive Lineman, you can win a (single) Super Bowl with no Quarterback – i.e. Los Angeles Rams with Stafford (Aaron Donald); Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Brad Johnson (Warren Sapp).

There is one kid with which I’ve been intrigued and have since confided in a close friend who just happens to be a diehard Hawkeyes fan as well…that kid is Lukas Van Ness. One thing that rings true, in the NFL, one can never have enough Offensive Linemen, Defensive Linemen, or Edge Rushers. There’s always a need – and if you have 4 great edge rushers, there are plenty of packages where they can be used all at once, and even more importantly, if two are used simultaneously, the rotation is strong.

While he’s raw, he moves like JJ Watt did as a prospect entering the NFL. Couple that with Iowa’s strong NFL pedigree, there’s a potential Green Bay could have the strongest defensive front in football for the foreseeable future, featuring Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, De’Vondre Campbell, and Quay Walker.

To close out, for those that desperately want a wide receiver with the 1st pick for Green Bay, there’s too much value in using a Round 1 pick on a WR. 1st round selections should be reserved for QBs, OL, DL, Edge Rushers, and CBs. All other positions can be addressed in rounds 2-7 with great value. If you’re deadset on a WR or TE in the first round just look at the players taken in years pass in the 1st round and their position. Then look at those WR or TE taken in the 1st round, the team that picked them, and how strong that team was at the time and following it…there’s a strong trend.

What To Say?

Aaron Rodgers (#12) and Randall Cobb (#18) walk-off Lambeau Field after the Packers suffered a defeat to the Detroit Lions in Week 18 of the NFL season.

This game was a microcosm of the 2022 Green Bay Packers. It started off slow, showed promise, and ultimately fluttered and proved this team was what it was, a roughly .500 ball club. While the regular season record was different than Matt LaFleur’s first 3 seasons, the result was eerily similar…falling short of the ultimate goal while convincing most of the fan base there was “a chance.”

Review: Lions 20; Packers 16~ the Packers won the Time of Possession, however lost the turnover battle 0-2. Both teams finished 4 of 12 on third downs, but Detroit converted both 4th downs, while Green Bay only got 1 of their two attempts. The one they didn’t gave Detroit 3 points and wiped out, who knows, how many points off the Packers’ final tally.

So, for the 3rd consecutive season, the Packers lost a must-win game, at Lambeau, to finish their season. The mystique has been gone since Mike Vick and the Falcons came in here on Jan. 4, 2003 (2002 season) and beat the hell out of the Packers, 24-7. Since, in postseason play, the Packers have gone 7-6.

Moving forward, the Lions are likely in the best shape of the division. They have improved each season under Campbell, and finished 9-8, knocked out the most-hated team in the division (Packers) from the postseason, in their house, which the Lions never win. Detroit has the Rams’ 1st round pick this year (5th overall), as well as their first round pick. For the second consecutive draft, they’re going to add 2 legit players from making the obvious/right call- trading their aging QB that wasn’t all that good and definitely wasn’t winning anything of significance with them…sound familiar?

What now for the Packers? If Tom Brady sticks with his retirement decision, this time, it’s almost guaranteed Aaron Rodgers plays as he likely doesn’t want to share the spotlight of his Hall of Fame induction with the best Quarterback ever. This season, unlike previous, the trade chatter has surfaced early and often, for the obvious reason: the Packers compounded their fatal mistake by continuing to make the same fatal mistake- resigning/extending Aaron Rodgers whilst under contract/control.

This leaves the Packers in a precarious position- will they have the stones to make the appropriate move (trade Rodgers) while being able to garner a significant return to allow them to continue to grow the roster for the next 5-10 years? It’s always best to move on from a player a year or 2 early rather than a year or two late…the most recent example was Donald Driver. His last year in Green Bay, was, umm…awful. However, there’s always an opportunity to garner a return on goods that are quickly depreciating and thus give yourself a high win-win rate. We’ll see if General Manager Brian Gutekunst makes the obviously smart decision. With this, it’s very easy to see (for some) the time to move on from other highly paid players, which are aging, can set this roster up for extreme success for a 6+ year run. See the move by cutting Za’Darius Smith. Moving on from all-world Left Tackle, David Bakhtiari and Show Time Half Back, Aaron Jones, would not only free up space quicker, it would allow the Packers to evaluate players behind them and give them the knowledge of that and the flexibility of freed up money to make better decisions, long-term, for the team.

Season: 7-10
Overall: 87-52

Win & In

The (8-8) Detroit Lions visit Lambeau Field to take on the (8-8) Green Bay Packers. Both teams are considered among the “hottest” in the NFL.

What Happened Last Time~ Thinking back to their Week 9 matchup, Aaron Rodgers threw 3 interceptions, all at the goal line. Then, the last drive of the game, ended on a non-PI call that would’ve resulted in a 1st down near the Lions’ 1-yard line. All that being said, the defense balled out that game, shutting down the (now ranked) 4th-scoring offense in the NFL, to just 15 points. Couple that with Rodgers not throwing 3 goal line interceptions, and the Packers might roll, again.


 Det. D.(rank)vs.GB Off.(rank)
Pts25.729 22.114
 Det. Off.GB D.
Rush129.711 141.826
Pts27.14 21.917
Diff.5T-6th 4T-8th

Like last week, the Packers are catching a team that’s outperformed their preseason expectations, but have an awful defense. If Green Bay can keep running the ball effectively, they should be able to have their way Dan Campbell’s last ranked defense. Green Bay needs to get pressure on Jared Goff and get him off his throwing spot, once that happens, he tends to get happy feet and begins throwing the opposition the ball. However, the Lions are the best team in the NFL at holding onto the football.

The mismatch the Packers have is essentially every category while they’re on offense, and Detroit is 11th in rush offense while Green Bay is 26th against the run. Aside from that, the real matchup to watch is Detroit’s passing offense vs the Packers’ 4th ranked pass defense – which has been electric during the 4-game win streak.

Jameson Williams (left) and Adam Hutchinson (right) were drafted with the 12th and 2nd overall picks, respectively in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Potential Problems~ they come in the form of two rookies (actually 3). While Jameson Williams (#9) is coming off a torn ACL in last year’s NCAA National Championship game. Adam Hutchinson has been a terror this year, including an INT vs. Aaron Rodgers in their previous matchup this season.

  • Adam Hutchinson (#97): 7.5 sacks; 3 interceptions; 2 fumble recoveries. He’s a real problem and potential game wrecker, and he was just that in the Week 9 matchup.
  • Jameson Williams (#9): 1 catch; 41 yards; 1 TD. While Jameson has only 1 reception on the season, he is down right a deep threat, much like Christian Watson on the Packers. The reason I bring him up, is if he’s close to 100% healthy, he can be a mismatch for anyone.
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (#14): 100 receptions; 1,112 yards; 6TD. St. Brown is the younger brother of former Packers’ WR Equanimeous and he’s been a true #1. Look for Jaire to shadow him all game, much like last week against Justin Jefferson.
  • Jamaal Williams (#30): 246 carries; 994 yards; 15 TD. Talk about a familiar face. Williams leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns, and has been a glue guy for this Lions squad that’s sum is far greater than it’s individual parts.

Prediction~ should Seattle lose to the Rams tomorrow, this becomes a true play-in game. Winner advances to the 2 seed and the loser goes home. However, if Seattle wins, Detroit could knock Green Bay out of postseason play AND get the (as of now) 6th overall pick thanks to LA trading everything for Matthew Stafford.

Lions 24
Packers 34 (-5)

Season: 7-9
Overall: 87-51


Jaire Alexander (#23) does the Griddy, Justin Jefferson’s (#18) trademark TD dance – after breaking up a 2nd down pass attempt.

Following the play pictured above, Justin Jefferson, and the Vikings, weren’t the same. The game got out of hand after the Vikings blocked the Packers’ first punt attempt of the game and took over possession at Green Bay’s 1-yard line. Minnesota netted -1 yards in the ensuing 3 plays, leaving them to settle for a field goal. The ensuing kickoff gave the Packers – starring upstart return man, Keisean Nixon – all the momentum needed to catapult to a decisive victory over their archrival.

The key to the blog title was the Deion Sanders-like trash-talk (and more importantly, play) by Jaire Alexander. The Packers’ (and NFL’s) top cornerback held Justin Jefferson to just 1 catch for 15 yards on 5 targets. Truly amazing. Since then, Justin Jefferson went into hiding. In addition, the Minnesota faithful have gone into full “blame anything” mode instead of just admitting their team is the worst 12-win team in NFL history. Gotta love fans, it’s never their teams’ issues, obviously the refs were on the side of the Packers. You know, like Jaire should’ve been penalized for doing the Griddy, but it’s ok for Jefferson to…do the Griddy. Nevermind the fact that following Adrian Amos’ interception, Jefferson took his helmet off (unsportsmanlike), then jammed it into the back of a ref (another unsportsmanlike), all while on the field of play. Naw, it’s cool…I mean, aside from Minnesota being outplayed in literally every aspect of the game, they were the better team and should’ve won.

The best one yet, was a fan on Reddit posted about his conspiracy theory the Packers watered the middle of the field to slow down the Vikings, and obviously would…only…affect the Vikings. There’s another one, at least that I’ve been aware of…the NFL colluded with the Packers to, wait, unfairly schedule their last 2 games to be played at Lambeau Field. These are just the ones of which I’m aware.

I bring all of these up as a fan base of a 12-4 team, that’s won 11 one-score games, should be feeling great to have a shot at 2-seed and possibly host 3 playoff games. Now, they’re justifying why they’re going to lose Wild Card weekend – because the NFL isn’t fair. Hopefully Packer nation never forgets this and brings it up every single time Vikings fans make any comment about anything, ever.

Review~ the defense was amazing, at least when the starters played. They forced 4 turnovers, scoring 28 points off of them. A far cry from the 6 points off 3 Tampa Bay turnovers in the 2020 NFC title game loss. Or far more than the – stop me if you’ve heard this before – 6 points of FIVE turnovers in the OT loss to Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game. Turnovers are great, but as they’re momentum snatchers – if you don’t capitalize on them, the momentum swings back to the other team for escaping casualty.

How did Green Bay score those 4 touchdowns? By sticking to the run game, again. Out of the 61 total plays, the Green & Gold rushed 33 times for 163 yards. They won the time of possession by a wide margin, yet again. These are great signs for a team that must win the Super Bowl in order to consider this season anything better than a failure – run the ball and play great defense.

One Team’s Playoff Game is Another’s Super Bowl?

Super star wideout, Justin Jefferson (#18) takes off against Packers’ outstanding cornerback, Jaire Alexander (#23).

Like in Week 1, and essentially every matchup since Brett Favre took over as starting quarterback for the Packers, the Vikings have treated every game against Green Bay like its the Super Bowl. They have good reason, they’ve never won one, so they try to get themselves to experience it, much like Brewer fans (the baseball equivalent of the Minnesota Vikings).

Minnesota now has some extra motivation to win on Sunday. The fact they could knock their division rial out of the postseason wasn’t enough for Jaire Alexander. He decided to give them a bunch more material by stating that Justin Jefferson’s 9 grabs, 184 yard, and 2 touchdown performance was a “fluke.” Not a recipe for success.

Min D.(rank)vs.GB Off.(rank)
Pts24.928 20.918
 Min Off.GB D.
Rush94.528 144.427
Pts25.27 22.317
Diff.65th 0T-13th

There’s one matchup that sticks out, like last week, and it’s the awfulness of Minnesota’s defense. While they’re the 6th passing offense and 7th scoring offense, their defense is atrocious. They’re last against the pass, 2nd-last in total yards, and 28th in points allowed. Over their last 4 games, Green Bay has averaged 27.8 points per game. Meanwhile Minnesota has surrendered 30+ in four of their last 7. A lot of that has come from turnovers, meaning Green Bay will have to have a similar game to last week if they’d like to keep their season alive.

While their record is tied for the 2nd-best in the entire league, the Vikings rank 10th in point differential, sitting at +5. They’re closest ranked to the New York Jets, which better resembles their true strength. With that being said, the Packers are still 18th in the NFL with a -21 differential, putting them in line with teams like Cleveland, New Orleans, and Carolina – losing teams.

There are 3 weapons Green Bay needs to be aware and somehow slow down, if possible, if they want to win.

Momentum is a funny thing, and it’s tough to track, but easy to feel. The Vikings have essentially had momentum all year, throughout the season, whilst Green Bay has had it for a few weeks now, it’s come to a head, and the biggest rival has a chance to end your season – this will feel like a playoff game, for both teams.

Minnesota seems to be the more complete team, yet their defense is awful, which combined with Kirk Cousins will be their eventual demise – will Green Bay have enough to pull it out?

Vikings 23
Packers 20 (-3)

Season: 7-8
Overall: 87-50

Wish Granted

CB Jaire Alexander (#23) returns an overthrown pass by Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa in the 4th Quarter.

Review: Packers 26; Dolphins 20~ the game opened with a bang for the Packers, on a 93-yard kickoff return by Keisean Nixon down to Miami’s 9-yard line. Rodgers and the offense squandered that massive opportunity and lost 9 yards on the drive and settled for a game-tying field goal. That won’t get it done in the playoffs, hell not even against the Vikings on New Year’s Day. All too familiar to January football that Rodgers and the Packers have played in the last 12 years.

Turnovers: the key to almost every evenly-matched football game, was the decisive statistic here. Green Bay took the ball away 4 times, while Miami only had 1 takeaway. Miami outgained Green Bay 376 to 301, with a huge disparity in avg. yards per play (8.4 v 4.6). The Packers again stuck to the run game, enough, to win.

Defense: While the Packers’ D was torched in the 1st half, with poor tackling and busted coverage (in zone, of course), Green Bay somehow got it together in the 2nd half. Immediately following the Rodgers interception in the end zone, the very next play, Jaire Alexander came up with his 5th interception of the season to snatch momentum back to Green Bay’s side. The offense sputtered and settled for a FG, again. They would do so again following the De’Vondre Campbell interception. In the 2nd half, Green Bay allowed 100 yards on 22 plays (4.5 yards/play), on 4 drives, resulting in: a missed field goal; 3 interceptions.

Like the 2010 Super Bowl run, the Defense had to completely take over the game and ice it in the end. An all too familiar requirement for the NFL’s all-time highest paid player.

3rd Downs: this shows where the Packers may have stolen a victory. Green Bay converted just 2 of 14 (14.3%) third downs. Truly atrocious, especially in major situations needed. They did convert 3 of 5 on fourth down, with Rodgers’ only TD pass coming on their 4th down at the goal line.

Current Standing~ Green Bay still sits in the 10th seed of the NFC. However, everything went their way on Christmas Eve. Seattle, Washington, NY Giants, and Detroit all lost on Dec. 24th, setting Green Bay up to make a considerable jump in probability to make the postseason. The Packers still need Washington to lose one of their remaining games (v Browns, v Cowboys). Prior to kickoff, the Packers will know if they control their own destiny as Cleveland visits Washington at Noon on Sun, Jan. 1. The Commanders decided to start Wentz over Heinicke, which is an assist as Heinicke has proven to give Washington the best chance at winning football games.

Christmas Miracle?

Review: Packer 24; Rams 12~ one of the more complete games played in quite some time, even though Los Angeles may be the worst team in the NFL, Green Bay came through and did what they were supposed to.

  • Time of Possession- Green Bay didn’t run the ball all that well, but the key was they stuck to it. While averaging 3.9 yards per carry, they ultimately won the ToP by a considerable margin.
  • End of Game- the Packers got the ball with 8:51 left and never gave it back. That was the best drive in years, given the totality of the drive and a game-ender.
  • Young Wideouts- Doubs (#87) can catch, a hands catcher. Reminds me of Cris Carter. Watson (#9) is showing signs of becoming an all-around wide receiver.

Current Standing: 10th seed in NFC~ Green Bay needs quite a bit of help to reach the postseason, and if Green Bay makes the playoffs they better win the Super Bowl. This fan base gets off on “having fun” aka Making the Playoffs and having a “chance.” What needs to happen in order for the Packers to make the playoffs:

  • Win out: @ Miami; v Minnesota; v Detroit
  • Washington must lose at least 2 of their last three: @ 49ers; v Browns; v Cowboys
  • if Washington wins 2+, then NY Giants must lose all 3 remaining: @ Vikings (losing by 10 as this is being written); v Colts; @ Eagles


 GB Off.(rank)vs.Mia D(rank)
Pts20.520 24.626
 GB DMia Off.
Rush148.929 96.927
Pts22.415 24.69
Diff.(3)T-23rd (2)T-19th
  • One Key- Green Bay has the advantage when it comes to their passing offense vs. Miami’s pass D. Rodgers could take advantage of spreading the ball around, especially dumping it off to Jones and Dillon in the flats to really open the entire field. If they can commit to the run, and get some slants to Doubs and Lazard, lookout for Watson to take the top off and get some big plays.
  • Great matchup- Miami’s 3rd-ranked passing offense vs. Green Bay’s 2nd-ranked pass D. Now, in Green Bay’s favor, teams haven’t really had to pass against them because the Packers can’t stop the run and teams are usually winning during the game and run the ball to finish the game, but it’s still something to watch. Green Bay gives up a lot of 3rd & longs, and with the Dolphins’ deep threats, Tyreek Hill (#10) and Jaylen Waddle (#17), are both super speedsters and are in scoring position regardless of where Miami snaps the ball.

True Strength~ last week I brought up the importance of Team Point Differential. This seems to hold true, so how good (or bad) is each team?

  • GB -27 (T-19th) with Atlanta
  • Mia +1 (T-14th) with Las Vegas

Miami’s point differential shows they’re not as good as their record may indicate, yet being tied with 6-8 Las Vegas in this category may be a bit more accurate. While Green Bay is 6-8 and tied with Atlanta, who’s 5-9, and also just a flat out bad team.

Packers 23
Dolphins 31 (-4)

Season: 7-7
Overall: 87-49

Holding Out Hope?

There’s an outside shot the Packers can make the playoffs – still would Love to see the backup QB and what’s in store for the future…

Many, if not most, fans want magic to happen and have Green Bay slide into the last playoff spot. While that would be cool, there’s no point unless it ends with the Packers bringing home the Lombardi Trophy. Sure the rebuttal to that is, “Can’t win it all if you don’t make the playoffs.” Words used by every Packers fan over the last 12 seasons, which each season has ended, how?

There’s an opportunity for the Packers to use the 4 remaining games as building blocks for the future. Also an option, they could make the playoffs while building for that future.

Current Status~ Green Bay currently holds the 10th seed in the NFC. They’re 2.5 games back of the 7th (final playoff spot). Also, as of now, Green Bay would have the 14th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which would net a fairly solid player in round 1.

Rooting Interests~

  • San Francisco @ Seattle (SF already won)
  • NY Giants @ Washington (whoever loses, we want to lose out)
  • Detroit @ NY Jets (the Lions sit ahead of GB in the playoff rankings)
  • Pittsburgh @ Carolina
  • Atlanta @ New Orleans


 Rams Packers
 OffenseDefense OffenseDefense
Rush30th5th 12th30th
Pass25th21st 16th5th
Total31st13th 15th18th
Points29th (16.8)16th (22.8) 23rd (20.2)21st (23.2)
TakeT-23rd  T-15th 
GiveT-28th  T-19th 
Diff.30th (-6)  T-18th (-2) 

These teams are virtual carbon copies. Each came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations and both have underwhelmed. The Packers had the 1-seed each of the previous two seasons, and the Rams are the defending champions. The rankings of each of these teams’ in the above categories shows similarity as well. Finally, the Rams rank 30th (-78) in point differential, where Green Bay falls in the 25th (-39) spot.

Baker Mayfield did provide some magic as the Rams came from behind to win vs. Las Vegas, last week, 17-16. The last time Baker came to Lambeau, he had a chance to lead a game-winning drive but ended up throwing an interception (his 4th of the game) on the final drive to ice it for the Packers. Green Bay is the better team, and has quite a bit more to play for, so you’d like to think that’d get them the W — also, all-world DT Aaron Donald is OUT for the game on Monday night. Are the stars aligning?

Rams 20
Packers 27 (-7)

Season: 6-7
Overall: 86-49