The disaster of a season finally came to an end, well at least figuratively. The Packers still have 2 remaining games to play out. Hopefully used to get the young players some much-needed snaps. There are the young players we already know that can contribute: Blake Martinez; Kenny Clark; Jamaal Williams; Aaron Jones. The unfortunate thing is 1st pick Kevin King is missing out on reps that could really help him improve for next year and moving forward.
Review—the return of Aaron Rodgers mattered moot. He showed a couple of plays of why he’s the most-talented QB, but regardless of excuse is also the reason they lost the game. Those 3 interceptions were absolutely killer and even though the defense held them to 3 points off those interceptions, but the main one was the underthrow to Cobb up the seam that – with a good throw – would’ve been a touchdown. Either way, the Panthers exposed the Packers with decent mismatches of Christian McCaffery and Greg Olsen. The Panthers’ DL really didn’t give too many issues to the Packers, however the main point of frustration for many was the lack of rushing attempts in the game by Green Bay. 19 total attempts, but 6 by the quarterback leaving 13 rush attempts by the Packers’ Williams and Jones. Jones showed extreme production in his limited carries (3 carries for 47 yards) and Williams was doing an OK job of wearing down the Panthers’ D (10 carries for 30 yards), but McCarthy either didn’t call enough runs or Rodgers checked out of a bunch (essentially every quick pass outside was a RPO – run/pass option).
The Packers’ playoff hoped went down the toilet when Matt Bryant’s kick split the uprights on Monday night as time expired in Tampa Bay. Now, the Packers find themselves in a position they haven’t been in since 2008, when they finished 6-10 (Aaron Rodgers’ first year starting) and missed the playoffs. They can use this as a progression/growth period for the youth of this team and have some key development reps.
Preview—the Vikings hold the 2 seed and are pretty locked in for that. They’ll be looking to win this game from a rivalry standpoint, mainly because I think they care about that since it’s been one-sided. While holding the overall record of match-up is fun and not losing at home is key, it’s likely a good thing if the Packers lose – better draft pick status, change could result (someone gets fired, maybe?), and there will be additional hunger if the Green Bay finishes 7-9 v 9-7. Either way, during the game I’ll be rooting for the Packers to win, but if they don’t it may actually be a good thing.
Players to watch—every rookie & Brett Hundley. Josh Jones could be used, learn, and get quite a bit better in these final two games in preparation for 2018.
30-20: again, I’m kind of hoping I’m right in the prediction of losses these final two games, but we’ll see.