The games are still scheduled- guess they have to play them.

Review—another awful half of football turned in by the Packers, and another sub-standard performance by the QB.  Rodgers is the prime example of stats not telling the whole story.  This season, and in this game, his stats are and were great, however in crunch time when needed he didn’t come through and left the Packers searching for more answers.  The Packers got mega-production from OLB Kyler Fackrell (3 sacks) and another solid performance by Aaron Jones (103 yards on 16 touches) yet the team seemed lethargic and without passion when it mattered.

Seattle outgained the Packers (378-359), converted 3 touchdowns of their 5 red zone trips to the Packers 1 of 2, and overcame the game’s only turnover to outlast Green Bay.  Many wanted the Packers to go for it on 4th and 5 with a few minutes left in the game, as did I, however I can see why they would’ve decided to punt.  Rodgers had just skipped a pass to a wide open St. Brown the play prior and thought the D could get one more stop or possibly make a play (which might’ve been more likely than the offense actually coming through right after showing they couldn’t).  Either way it was another frustrating loss to a bad team.  Yes, Seattle is bad.

This game left the Packers as the 9th seed looking up to Seattle and Washington, both teams Green Bay lost to and now find themselves essentially needing to win out (their remaining 6 games) to make the playoffs.  Then again, is making the playoffs really the best for this organization? While it’s tough to root for the Packers to lose, it’s the best thing for the long-term.  Otherwise it’ll be more of the same, another loss in the playoffs—no thanks.

Match-up—let’s take a look at another disappointing team, the Minnesota Vikings.


Offense Defense T/O
Total Pass Rush Points Total Pass Rush Points Take Give Total
Green Bay 398.8 (8th) 290.0 (7th) 108.8 (17th) 24.7 (13th) 349.1 (12th) 223.0 (5th) 126.1 (26th) 24.3 (16th) 12 11 1
Minnesota 363.7 (14th) 279.0 (8th) 84.7 (31st) 24.1 (15th) 320.8 (5th) 226.0 (6th) 94.8 (4th) 22.9 (11th) 17 16 1

As you can see these teams are fairly evenly matched, which would make sense why they tied one another in week 2 earlier this year.  Minnesota boasts the 5th ranked defense in the league (yards), but due to their offense being middle-of-the-pack, the Vikings have given some short fields that their defense hasn’t been able to keep the opponent out of the end zone a few times.  That’s still an area of struggle for Green Bay.  Evidenced last week by only converting 50% of their red zone trips to Touchdowns, if the Packers keep with the run game, especially when in the red zone to open throwing lanes and give the offense other options to confuse the defense.

Preview—if the Packers want to win this game, they’ll have to play 4 full quarters of football, and keep it clean.  They played clean last week, but only showed up for about 2.5 quarters and the defense eventually wore down.  They’ll need to win the turnover battle (not tie, but win it) and the time of possession.  If Green Bay can rush for over 150 yards (as a team) and possess the ball for about 31+ minutes that should be good enough to get the job done, however I don’t have faith they’ll commit and stick to the run game and will lose another close road game, hopefully ending their season instill major change this offseason…


Packers 23
Vikings 26

39-23 overall record.


To jump from last week’s phrasing, “Win out or lose out,” the Packers find themselves in a must-win if they plan to win the Super Bowl, because in order to do that one must make the playoffs…so here we go.

Review—that went a little reverse from my thought, however the end game was roughly the same.  It was closer (score) throughout the game until late in the 3rd quarter.  Credit to the Packers’ D for not allowing an awful QB and 3 backup offensive lineman to get into the end zone.  Yes, that was facetious, but the Packers benefitted from a poor snap on the first drive of the game and didn’t really look back.

Obviously what stood out was the production of Aaron Jones.  Everyone has been screaming for him to get more touches and he responded.  Now there are 2 questions that arise:

  1. Will Mike McCarthy stick to that plan, and actually get #33 more touches than even last week?
  2. If that’s the case, will Jones continue to produce at a high level?

The promising thing to take away from that game is the Packers rolled out the helmets and won the game, while not playing a clean game.  They had a blocked punt, a fake punt executed vs them, and fumbled a punt return.  The good news is this team actually might be capable of playing a clean game, playing well, and actually beating a good team.  Enough of Miami, let’s move on.

Matchup— enter the Seattle Seahawks.  There are few teams Packer fans should despise.  Seattle can’t win on the road, and require all sorts of (as a friend of mine put it years ago) “fluky $hit” in CenturyLink Field to win vs good opponents.

Offense Defense
Yards Yards
Rush Pass Points Rush Pass Points
GB 115.6 (14th) 287.7 (6th) 24.8 (13th) 120.9 (22nd) 225.0 (5th) 24.0 (16th)
Sea 152.2 (1st) 195.9 (27th) 24.3 (15th) 118.6 (18th) 228.3 (7th) 21.3 (9th)

The chart above shows Seattle has the edge rushing when on offense vs the Packers’ 22nd ranked run D.  What that tells me is the Packers must get out to a fast start, or at least a lead to force Seattle’s hand to pass.  Green Bay shows to have the 5th best defense vs the pass, while the Seahawks struggle.

There are 2 factors to Green Bay having a much-improved pass defense, aside from the spectacular play of rookie CB Jaire Alexander, the Packers are tied for the league lead in sacks (31.0), while having an awful depth of edge rushers…the Packers’ D line combined with the scheme of Mike Pettine to bring pressure from multiple angles, it’ll be interesting to see if they can spy Wilson, who gained significant yards on crucial downs last week in Los Angeles.  While it’s not good to root for players to get injured, the ankle injury of Kentrell Brice might be what the Packers’ secondary needed…an opportunity to get Josh Jones on the field.  While #27 (Jones) has multiple mental errors, he usually makes them while being aggressive and also has superior athleticism and has come close to being a game-changer as recently as last week.

Preview— as for the history, if you plan on watching this game (and why wouldn’t you if you’re reading this? Or maybe you don’t need to watch if you’re reading this…???) the pregame will cover the history of these ball clubs at nausea.  With Aaron Rodgers not playing up to the bar he set, he’s still plenty effective enough to win games if McCarthy (or Rodgers, who knows) sticks to the run game and can allow misdirection and play action.  The main issue with this game is the long travel on short-rest.  Of the 10 games played on Thursday Night Football, the home team has won 7 of those match-ups.  If the Packers play a clean game, stick to the run, play from under center, and take a few aggressive shots, they should be able to take this one, possibly handedly.  Then again, McCarthy has rarely showed to do any of those, let alone all 4…I’ll take Seattle.

Packers 21
Seahawks 27




Win Out or Lose Out, anything in between would be the “Packer Way.”

Big Picture— it’s getting tougher and tougher to figure out the major issue with this Packer team.  There’s been plenty of talk about the head coach needing to go, which has been overdue for some time, however trying to put your finger on what’s going on is quite difficult.

Talent?—do the Packer just not have enough talent as their opponents?  Say that’s the case, and Rodgers isn’t playing well to his standards (yes his stats look fine, but he’s missed quite a few throws, which are compounded in losses), then to say the Packers have competed well vs the Rams and Patriots would lend to them being well-prepared…coaching.

Coaching?—Tom Brady said something to the effect after the game that it seemed like the Packers had to struggle for every yard.  That seemed to be the case since 2014, and that is coaching/game-planning/scheming.  The concept McCarthy’s offense is based on is brilliant, until it’s decoded, which it seems to have been for 3+ years now.  There are no plays designed in order to get anyone open, it’s all matchup, so if the opponent is foolish enough to play zone, then it’s on the pass catchers to find the opening, or Rodgers can throw them open.  When the defense plays Cover 2 Man (2 safeties deep, splitting the field in half, the other 9 players in man coverage all underneath, pending how many are rushing, likely 4), if the Packers’ WRs can shake their defender, it’s going to be tough to have anyone streaking wide open.  The Patriots do a great job of scheming to get people open…hell, EVERYONE does a better job than the Packers at that.  They’ve become too reliant on the WRs athleticism and Rodgers’ accuracy and haven’t adapted to the opponents’’ schemes vs them.  The brilliant part is, when it works, it’s almost indefensible, see 2011 when teams would play zone vs the Packers 5-wide set, Green Bay shredded records and went 15-1, then ultimately got punched and out-coached in the playoffs by the Giants, who played a cover 2 man defense…mmm…

There’s definitely something brewing here, and the worst part is it seems the players almost don’t care, at least the older ones: Rodgers; Cobb.  The 7-year vet was quoted saying, “We’ve lost games before here, but this just feels different,” wide receiver Randall Cobb said, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “And it doesn’t feel good. It’s not fun. But we’ve got to figure something out.

“We definitely need some momentum, we need to get a win. … Very frustrating and it’s tough. Because I know what we’re capable of and we’re not there. I don’t know what it is, but we’ve got to find a way to get it done.”

The Packers seem to have taken over as the Milwaukee Bucks as far as Wisconsin sports go…full on apathy is setting in.  This goes back to a comment I don’t think I’ll ever forget, from Bill Simmons, 5 years ago moments before the Bucks selected Giannis Antetokounmpo, “Ahh yes, now the Milwaukee Bucks…saying this team being stuck in neutral would be a compliment.”  Then the Bucks chose the rawest player available, but with the absolute highest ceiling and Simmons followed that move up with, “this is the perfect draft choice for this organization.  They have been striving for mediocrity forever, so they have the time to let this kid develop without the pressure of having to win.”  I’m paraphrasing the 2nd quote, but the reason I bring this up is the then-GM, John Hammond, made a decision to make the right draft choice even though the owner, Herb Kohl, always wanted to win now.  It wasn’t until the entire organization got on the same page—Owner, GM, and Head Coach—all were on the same plan and timetable to build a winner.  Also see the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Packers seem to be “stuck in neutral.”  While many would say they’ve been “winning a lot,” and have had “a lot of success,” I’m cut from the mold of needing to win championships to be considered successful.  While the Packers have been to the playoffs 9 times since Mike McCarthy has taken over, they’ve only won the Super Bowl once.  Also, the notion of “get to the playoffs and with Aaron Rodgers you always have a chance” sounds good, apparently that’s not the case.

Review—if you’re still with me, you must be devoted as much as I am to this team.  The Packers played pretty well until the Aaron Jones fumble.  I get the sense of benching a player when making a mistake, but not at this point of his career and not at this point of your coaching tenure, Mike McCarthy.  The only reason the Packers were in this game was Aaron Jones’ production/touch.  They guy had 4-points of ball security and still lost it, so let’s punish him for being the most-productive player on the team and NOT being careless.  Either way, I don’t think the outcome changes much.  If the Packers go down and score a touchdown, they still leave Brady and the Pats about 3+ minutes, at home, to score…pretty much inevitable.  Then it’s to OT, which I’d then give the nod to the Pats, but however, still needed to find a way to win that game.

The Packers moved their rankings/stats in the wrong direction on all accounts.

  1. 45 yards less than their average
  2. 92 yards given up more than their average
  3. 8 points less than average
  4. 6 points more than avg.

The Packers did score TDs on more than 50% of their red zone trips (2 for 3), the issue was they only got to the red zone 3 times.  That’s an issue, but what’s new?

Preview— enter the 5-4 Miami Dolphins.  They see themselves as the 7th seed in the AFC playoff picture, so they’re right there as the current 6 seed (Cincinnati) is struggling and has a tough game vs New Orleans today.  Even though the Packers are 9.5 point favorites, with the current state of the locker room, this will likely be a tough match-up.  Plus, keep in mind, Brock Osweiler (Mia QB today) lit up the Chicago Bears in week 6.  It’s very possible for him to repeat that feat.  I believe the last match-up (Dec 2016 vs Houston) the Packers held the Texans to 13 points in snowy, cold Lambeau.  The Packers defense could and should show up to hold the Fins under 20 points.  Meanwhile it should be good conditions for the offense to light up the scoreboard…if there ever was a time to be motivated and come out and unload, today is that day—it’s also likely the last time a McCarthy-led Packers squad will do so.


Team Offense Defense
Yards Points Yards Points
Miami 315.8 (28th) 20.8 (24th) 394.0 (26th) 25.0 (19th)
Green Bay 406.6  (6th) 24.0 (14th) 352.4 (16th) 25.5 (21st)

As you can see the Packers hold the advantage in each category, so this should mean the Packers roll, right?  Yes…should being the operative word.  Everything for the remainder of the season will depend on whether the Packers can get up and play for their Head Coach—it seems that players, beginning with Rodgers, have given up on this team/season, so again it’s time for the Head Coach to go.  Unfortunately, even with a loss today, the Packers can’t make a change with their next game coming on Thursday night in Seattle.

Prediction—I think the Packers come out strong and are aggressive, which will lead to some early points/production.  It’ll be a 2-3 score game until late 4th quarter and the Packers will need a drive to make it a 2-score game again.

Dolphins 20
Packers 30

37-23: The Packers should get back on track, but if they lose, it shouldn’t be shocking as it seems the team just doesn’t care and are in obvious need of a change in voice.



Brady Bunch vs. Rodgers’ Neighborhood (thanks CBS)

As this week has progressed, it seems like the Packers, as an organization overall, are searching for an identity.  There’s been change, but just enough to talk about, not really a ton to shake things up…so it feels.  There’s the uber-talented aging Quarterback that’s under-accomplished.  The Head Coach whose stubbornness allowed him to achieve success, and since has only held team away from accomplishing further.  A fan base that’s torn between appreciation of “success.”  Maybe this is a bigger/different topic for another day, but with the trades of Ty Montgomery and HaHa Clinton-Dix this week (both needed for different reasons) it seems like there’s a partial commitment to something, I’m just not sure as to what it is.  Anyway, let’s carry on.

Review—cripes!!!!!!! For as much as I gripe about the Quarterback (mainly postseason stuff), it seemed like the Rams left too much time for Rodgers and the Packers to score.  What I mean by that is with 2:04 and a timeout left, I believe the Packers could’ve scored a TD and left too much time for LA to respond with another score of their own, no joke.  Again, for as critical as I am of Rodgers, all he does is dominate situations like these in the regular season.  Two minutes, 4 seconds, with the 2-minute warning and a timeout at his disposal…we’ve seen Rodgers lead late-game drives, twice this season (week 2 v Min & week 6 v SF), with one resulting in a missed GW field goal attempt and another resulting in a made GW field goal attempt.  I believe in week 2, there were 0:32 with no timeouts and in week 6 a little over a minute with ZERO timeouts.  Either way, that would’ve been a win to swing the lost feeling this team currently holds.

It seemed like the Packers played a pretty complete game, however they didn’t win any of the key stat departments: yards; red zone efficiency; turnovers.  With all of that, if you eliminate the bonehead kick return by Montgomery, it’s likely the Packers win, or at least drive down and score to take the lead.  Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe.  The positive is there’s room for improvement, a lot, and the Packers can absolutely play with the best of the best, on the road.  Better start winning those games, now!

HaHa Clinton-Dix: The other bright side is General Manager, Brian Gutekunst.  There have been mumblings of HaHa Clinton-Dix not wanting to be here, also showed by his lack of effort in weeks 16 and 17 last year, and he’s just not the player the national media plays him out to be.  My guess is he’ll kind of vanish into the mold of Washington…which begs the question: Was he regarded as a high-quality safety because he was surrounded by trash in Green Bay?  Answer: very possible.  Either way, he didn’t want to be here, so see ya!  Might as well get something for him.  The question of who will be taking his reps has already been answered, veteran CB Tramon Williams.  I’d like to see Josh Jones (Gutey’s guy) get as many reps as possible, it seems this is the safest play since Tramon knows the playbook and when trying to win now, you want players that know where to be, especially at safety.  I still want to find out if Josh Jones is the real deal, which we may not find out.

Ty Montgomery: I’ve been a Monty guy, not a hard advocate, ‘nor a strict defender of his…but he struck me as a bright kid, well-spoken, and wanted to put the team first (move from WR to HB).  However, regardless for the reason he took the kickoff out of the end zone (none, absolutely none), the Packers actually showed balls by sending him packing and again, got something in return for a guy they likely weren’t resigning.  Two birds actually- the packers got a return for someone they normally wouldn’t have AND on a more important note, were able to send a message.  Actions > words.  Bravo!  As for taking Monty’s reps, hopefully all go to Aaron Jones.  He keeps putting up great numbers and yet everyone still questions why he doesn’t get more touches.  Incredible.

Preview—ok, so where to go from here?  I heard on a sports radio show earlier this week, Michael Cohen (writer for the Athletic) stated, “This team could go in one of 2 directions after a loss like that.  This could galvanize them, they could come together and really build off it and accomplish something.  Or they could think ‘Wow, we played a great game and lost.’  Then come out flat as can be.”  I thought that was spot on.  The Patriots are 5 ½ point favorites as of Thursday, and while I think the Packers could come together from this experience – not to mention eliminating two players that seemed to be messing up the locker room and weren’t wanted – I think Tom and the Patriots might be too much to handle.

McCarthy vs Belicheck: Mac turned around an aging QB (Favre) to play, possibly, his best football.  Belicheck is arguably, if not easily, the best coach of all-time- let’s take a look at their head-to-head matchups.

  1. November 19th, 2006: Patriots W 35-0. I believe Favre got hurt that game (aka didn’t want to return) and Rodgers even came in, and looked just as bad as Brett was.  Outclassed, outmanned, outplayed.
  2. December 19th, 2010: Patriots W 31-27. This was Matt Flynn’s coming-out party.  Flynn actually had Green Bay up 10 midway through the 2nd quarter, however the long kick return by the Patriots’ OL completely swung momentum and the Packers fell.
  3. November 30th, 2014: Packers W 26-21. The only matchup between Brady and Rodgers.  What a game it was. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance and it had a playoff-type feel to it.  Both 12s played well, but Rodgers outdueled Brady and closed the game with the ball, after running out the final 2:40.  What stood out to me was the amount of red zone trips that resulted in field goals, ALL OF THEM!

If the Packers come out and win this game, which feels like a must-win, then they’ll actually have to start scoring TDs on red zone trips, ideally more than the 50% clip they’ve shown all year—or find a way to hang 34+ points on the board.

Matchup—let’s take a look at the stat rankings.

Yards Points
Off Def Off Def
GB 412.1 (5) 340.9 (12) 25.0 (13) 24.7 (17)
NE 381.9 (11) 382.8 (25) 29.9 (4) 23.1 (12)

See the above rankings show the Packers have no issue moving the ball up and down the field, however have an issue converting that movement into points, ala red zone struggles.  The same was the case in 2014 when these teams met.  For example, if the Packers make 5 trips to the red zone, they’ll have to find a way to settle, and I truly mean settle for 3 TDs on those trips.  On the other side, the Patriots are very efficient when they move the ball.  Holding them to field goals upon reaching the red zone will be absolutely crucial.

Prediction—I think the Packers come out and play strong, pretty much all game, but the Packers embarrassing pass rush eventually costs them by letting Brady dictate the game down the stretch.

Packers 24
Patriots 27

36-23: sadly I was right; again hoping I’m wrong, GO PACK GO!