Thanksgiving Special, the Packers are not

Review—It goes without saying, that was one of the most pathetic offensive performances the Packers have “shown” in the last decade, plus.  Yes Baltimore possesses a solid defense, but at home in ideal conditions in a must-win game versus a bad team, the Packers needed to find a way to pull out a win.  That’s damn near impossible turning the ball over 5 times, even against a Joe Flacco-led offense.  The sad AFC now shows the Ravens as holding the 6th spot in the playoffs, meanwhile in the NFC the Packers dropped to the 9th (keep in mind only 6 make it from each conference).

If you’re looking for positives in the last game, I guess the Packers’ defense held a bad offense out of the end zone for most of the game and the first TD they gave up was on good coverage (that’s what it’s come to with this team).  Also, Adams was covered much of the day by Jimmy Smith (who had an impressive INT on Hundley on the first possession of the game) had a solid showing against Smith, totaling 126 yards on 10 targets (8 receptions).  Other than Adams, Kenny Clark was injured, thankfully it doesn’t seem serious, but no one really stood out.  Overall a complete team loss, which has been happening far too often – that falls on the shoulders of the head coach.

Situation—moving on to Pittsburgh, arguably a top 3 team in all the NFL.  Pittsburgh sits currently as the 1 seed in the AFC and has a ton to play for as they need to keep pace with New England if they want any shot at besting them in the playoffs as they play them in 4 weeks.  The Packers are in a very curious situation…  There are a few different directions this franchise could head.  I’ll lay out the options and you feel free to decide which one may be best.

  1. The Packers could continue to shoot for making the playoffs this year and hope for a Rodgers return ala 2013 to boost them into the playoffs—ultimately losing in January, again.
  2. Green Bay could lose out or most of their remaining games in hopes for a coaching or front-office change of sorts to instill new life/blood into this organization and possibly resetting the career of Aaron Rodgers for his remaining years (4-8 depending what you believe).
  3. Last situation, what I believe is most-likely, the Packers finish the season somewhere between 7 and 9 wins, miss the playoffs and there’s no major change this offseasons due to the excuse that Rodgers was hurt, and Packer fans will again have false hope heading into next year of winning a Super Bowl.

Preview—again the Steelers have quite a bit to play for and they’re also a very good team, with talent all over the roster.  The same could be said for the Packers, but it’s showing that without Rodgers, McCarthy can’t game plan an offense or prep a team to win games, so like Super Bowls until he’s able to show he’s capable of messing up an opponents’ game plan and win a game why should I believe he can?

The Packers enter Thanksgiving Day with the 23rd overall offense (20th in points), the 18th defense (both yards and points), and rank 13th in turnover differential (+2).  Meanwhile Pittsburgh brings the 11th overall offense (14th points), 4th overall defense (2nd points), and one spot ahead of GB in turnovers, 12th (+3).

The game-changers (at least according to ProFootballFocus, which you’ll hear a bit about on the broadcast Sunday night) are Antonio Brown (1st overall WR), David DeCastro (1st overall Guard), Ryan Shazier (6th LB), Cameron Hayward (10th DL), and Stephon Tuitt (13th DL).  Look for each of those players to command the opposing player the Packers run out there.  The only potential advantage Green Bay could have in this game could be the DL v Pit’s OL, but even though that’s been the case in every game since Rodgers went down, it’s resulted in a 1-4 record.  Look for much of the same, especially being this is likely the best competition Green Bay will see all season.  The homer, fan in me is going to take over on score prediction, but the outcome of the game will not differ.

Packers 20
Steelers 31

29-17: the hits will keep rolling L

 

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