Since Rodgers’ Run the Table quote, the Packers have rallied off 5 in a row. They’re halfway home. For anyone that may say, “Nick, you know he was referring to the final 6 games in the regular season.” My response is, “What’s the point of making the playoffs if you’re not going to win the Super Bowl?” If this season doesn’t result in a Super Bowl victory, it will have been another failure and choke — how much more can we take? I’m beginning to think that Packer fans are quite alright with postseason failure, so as long as they can say that other teams haven’t been in consecutive years like Green Bay.
Review – I was fortunate enough to attend the game, and see this display in person, what ended up being a warm Christmas Eve. The Packers took the first drive, getting a few first downs, but ultimately resulting in a punt…however, after that it seems like Jacob Schum could’ve hit the showers. Aaron Rodgers is playing to his expected level and has full control of this offense. Also, the short-passing game has almost replaced the running game – which could be dangerous for opposing teams as the Packers have shown they can run the ball. Ultimately, if everything is clicking, this team should be able to post 38-40+ points if need be. The main concern, as has been since 2010’s title run, is the defense being able to hold up and get a stop late in the 4th quarter. That, and Rodgers playing to his level for the entire game, but more on that next week.
Last week I mentioned to keep an eye on Min’s WR Stefon Diggs. Diggs had 4 catches, for 29 yards and a garbage-time TD. Adam Thielen on the other hand had a career day, with over 200 yards and 2 TDs. Again, the main concern is the defense giving up 12 fourth quarter points. The other two players I mentioned to watch didn’t even play: Adrian Peterson and Randall Cobb. So that’s easy.
To no one’s surprise, Aaron Rodgers led all players with a PFF grade of 93.1. He was essentially perfect again, and that’s where he needs to be. Here are the rest:
Clay Matthews 87.7
Jordy Nelson 86.1
Damarious Randall 80.2
Preview – There’s not much I really need to say…Detroit is well-known and everyone, by now, knows what’s on the line. The Lions’ story has been told at nausea all year about how they’ve trailed in the 4th quarter in 8 of their 9 wins. This could set up to the Packers’ defense actually having to play and play well throughout the entire game and finish.
The last meeting between these two teams, the Packers jumped out to a 31-3 lead and saw Detroit score a quick TD before half, then cut it and finally lose 34-27. This game could easily sway that way again, but if memory serves me right, Ziggy Ansah (#94, and Detroit’s best defensive player, Defensive End) missed that game. Also, Detroit’s best cover man, Darius Slay (#23), is expected back this week and will be tasked with covering Jordy Nelson. In the week 3 meeting, while covering Nelson, Slay allowed 3 grabs on 4 targets and a TD.
Overall— The Lions bring the 23rd ranked offense and 15th defense matching up against the Packers’ 10th ranked O and 20th D. The Lions are in a tough spot as they’ve lost their last 2 and likely thought the whole 2nd half of the season “Please don’t blow this.” Well…the Lions have a chance to not be the Lions and win this game and potentially kick the Packers out of the postseason. Either way, if Dallas can hang 42 points on Detroit with essentially nothing to play for, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t have any issue moving the ball and putting it in the end zone. Many believe he’s the MVP, those “many” are Packer fans, and while he’s played great the last 5 games, where was this all of 2015 and 2016???
Around the League—the game to keep an eye on is the Giants @ Redskins on Fox at 325p. If the Giants win, then both the Packers and Lions clinch a playoff spot. That’s about it! In an unlikely scenario, the Packers could clinch the 3 seed with a Seahawks loss, but win and the Packers will face the Giants next Sunday.
*20-13 is the record now, hopefully we keep this train rolling.*