Just like that the Packers not only no longer control their own destiny and now need a ton of help to even think about the playoffs. There are two schools of thought now:
- The Packers need to win these next 2 games (v Tampa Bay, @ Cleveland) and return Aaron Rodgers to attempt to win out the regular season and finish 10-6.
- The Packers lose out (5-11) and that’s enough to get some major change in the front office at 1265 Lombardi Ave, meaning Ted Thompson and or Mike McCarthy and other coaching and front office personnel are fired.
Regardless, something needs to drastically change in order for this team to become a legitimate contender again. If you’re of the school of thought that the Packers should win out in hopes the right teams lose enough to allow them a playoff spot and see what happens, at least the NFL seems “down” this season so that almost any team has a shot.
Review—Green Bay actually made that a competitive game which begs the question Truly how good are the Steelers? v Are the Packers actually making strides? Pittsburgh may have been looking ahead to New England in a few weeks, but to blow multiple coverages allowing huge plays for TDs against a team where you want to make them drive down the field is uncalled for. Credit the Packers for taking advantage of turnovers and hitting those big plays—even so Green Bay couldn’t pull off the much-needed upset. This game showed the talent disparity between the two ball clubs. I’ve claimed the Packers have talent, however the top-end talent of Green Bay doesn’t compare to the top-end talent of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the NFL along with a very talented DL in Heyward and speedy MLB in Shazier that all came to play last Sunday night and make enough plays to win.
Preview—there used to be a time (1990’s) when Tampa Bay coming to Green Bay in December was an automatic win (and likely would be with Rodgers at QB), the Buccaneers bring the 14th offense (23rd in points/game: 20.3) and the last-ranked defense (32nd in yards, 21st in points allowed: 23.8/game). This game, if you’re not a die-hard fan of either team, will be tough to watch. These are two bad football teams as of today, but the Packers believe they have something to play for and until they’re mathematically eliminated, I guess they do.
Gerald McCoy (#93) is one of the top defensive lineman in the NFL, and will pose as a problem for this banged up Packers offensive line. For Green Bay to win this game and put Brett Hundley in favorable 3rd down situations, they’ll need to establish and keep with the run. The other issue is Tampa’s solid WR Mike Evans (#13), the 6’5” Texas A&M standout is a productive wideout that could wreak havoc in the Packers banged up and soft secondary. He’s a down-field threat which the Packers struggle with, especially if they’re unable to generate a pass rush. If the Pack can get to Jameis Winston and force a turnover (Winston hasn’t thrown an INT in a Tampa win) that might be the key to winning the game today. Either way, the Packers struggles on the offensive line and a banged up secondary may be too much to overcome against a bad Tampa team…
30-17: sadly my loss predictions are correct.