Short and Sweet: Go Hawks

Review~ glad I missed on the meter that Rodgers somehow fell behind Cousins on the QB-level meter.  Cousins must be the worst “big game” QB ever.  Considering all of his “big games,” aside from 1, have come in the regular season, that’s telling.  Rodgers didn’t play all that well, he actually played somewhat terrible, but came up with enough throws and still built a lead when Cousins couldn’t fully capitalize on the 3 turnovers.

It was also refreshing to see the Packers continue to feed Aaron Jones after his lost fumble on the first 3rd down of the game.  25 touches for 160 yards, that’s how you take and keep control of a game even when you’re not playing well.  Kudos to LaFleur and Rodgers for sticking with it.

Current Standing~ now the Packers are in a great spot, win and get a BYE.  Couple that with a Seahawks win over San Francisco tonight, and the Packers are the 1 seed in the NFC.  If Green Bay will continue to stick with the run/Aaron Jones, even when on the road in a big game in a dome (last week), that should give hope they’d do the same at home, which would be much easier for both the O and D to play well.

Preview~ enter the awful Detroit Lions.  The last time the Packers saw this team, they were 2-1-1, and both the tie was close (obviously) and their loss was a back and forth battle to a healthy Chiefs team.  They still have a bunch of guys that can “compete,” but that doesn’t necessarily translate into Wins.  Look for the Packers to take control of this game out of the shoot and lock up a BYE in the playoffs.

Packers 27
Lions 10

Season: 9-6
Overall: 52-31

Captain Avg. vs Mr. No Mistakes

A gift, thanks Arizona (and Brett Hundley???)  The Packers sit as the 2nd seed in the NFC playoff picture (with a win).  They control their destiny for that 2 seed- should they win out, they can do no worse than the 2 seed.  Win out and have Seattle beat SF and the Packers are the 1 seed and fare much better vs any opponent in Lambeau than heading on the road, and/or not even having a BYE.

Preview~ win and win the division.  Winning the division is key, but far from the ultimate goal.  While a huge step in the right direction for a 1st year head coach, be wary that doesn’t necessarily mean much (i.e. Nagy and the Bears did the same last year going 12-4).  While I think the Packers are a much better run organization than Chicago, it’s still worth mentioning…plus, it’s ok to have expectations of winning more than initial thoughts coming into the season, especially that the Packers have only secured a BYE in the postseason 5 times since Brett Favre entered Green Bay.  This could be the sixth, and in my previous blog, I showed the importance of earning a BYE…the last 6 seasons, the Super Bowl has only had representatives that have had a BYE.  1 seed, as you’d imagine, is even more indicative of getting to the Super Bowl.  Keep Winning.

Team Offense Rank Defense Rank T/O Rank Point. Diff. Rank
GB 23.6 14th 20.2 9th 14 2nd 47 10th
Min 27 6th 18.5 6th 11 T-4th 119 4th

While the graph shows Minnesota ranking better both offensively and defensively (by points), Green Bay has been getting it done with not turning it over and making their opponents drive the length of the field to score…which is Pettine’s “Bend but Don’t Break” motto.  The issue with metrics, while over the course of a season may help, in only 1 game one key mistake likely will determine the outcome—and the Packers are built for the offense not to have a single turnover.  It’s still tough not to think about the opening series in San Fran where Rodgers fumbled and essentially changed the entire game.  The Packers are behind the 8-ball this game, with Minnesota playing well and having quite a bit of talent in the right areas, while being well-balanced.

If the Packers can equalize them enough to bring this to a Rodgers v Cousins game, that should be enough considering Captain Average (err Kirk) sucks in primetime games especially vs. “Good” teams.  Then again, if Rodgers can’t outperform Kirk…

Win and 12-3, heading into Detroit with a boat load of momentum with the ability to lock up the 2 seed, and potentially home field advantage, would be quite the accomplishment for a rookie head coach—then I’d say “don’t waste the opportunity.”  Lose, and well…it’s still a must-win in Detroit for the division, but then likely hosting San Fran or Seattle in the wild card round with the right to travel to New Orleans…yikes…

Packers 24
Vikings 31

Season: 9-5
Overall: 52-30

Rolled Them Out- Hopefully That’s What That Was

Review~ an ugly win, however good teams win ugly from time to time.  How important is winning “pretty” vs. teams one “should’ve have an issue?”

  1. Defense- locked down until it was essentially over.
  2. Offense- began fast, which is a huge improvement from last year, but needs to finish more consistently.
  3. Special Teams- may be fixed, or at least improved enough to not be a liability.

As stated last week, no matter what the Packers did, aside from losing- this was a no-win scenario.  Everything is leading up to these final 3 games, all divisional opponents- and each carrying a huge component.

This week’s component?  Knocking the Bears from the postseason—and possibly clinching a playoff berth of their own.  If the Packers win, the Bears are out of the playoffs. A 7-loss team cannot make the playoffs in the NFC, unless it’s the Vikings or Rams.

The Packers can clinch if they best the Bears and the Rams lose.  In order to win the division, the Packers must win any 2 of the remaining 3 games on their schedule.  If the Packers win out, they’re guaranteed at least the 2 seed.  They could get some major help, and wind up as the 1 seed, but that’d be tough to count on.  Let’s focus on beating the Bears…

Preview~ end the Bears’ season.  Chicago has been riding high, winning 4 of their last 5.  They’re back in the playoff hunt, still essentially needing to win out, but this is another major opportunity for Green Bay to knock them off, and build a bunch of confidence (especially on offense) vs. a very good defense.

OFF DEF T/O Pt. Diff.
Chi 26th 4th T-14th 15th
GB 13th 13th T-3rd 11th

The Packers are the better team, completely shut down the Bears in their week 1 meeting to open the NFL’s 100th season, and it should be more of the same.  Scoring 24 points at home, vs. any defense shouldn’t be too big of an ask, but with the offense stalling for 2+ consecutive quarters more often than not, vs. bad defenses…well…I’m not too optimistic.

This is the Bears’ Super Bowl and you’ll get their best shot…

Bears 20
Packers 24

Season: 8-5
Overall: 51-30

Roll them Helmets Out!

Review~ the game vs. the Giants went the way it was supposed to.  However, not without a bit of a struggle to pull away until late.  However, good teams do what they’re supposed to, and close out the game vs. an inferior opponent.  Still, getting the 3 turnovers that Daniel Jones will typically give you, the Packers still show they’re capable of beating bad teams and it’s very tough to imagine beating a good team, which they’d ultimately have to do once or twice in the playoffs if they plan on actually winning the Super Bowl.

Another frustrating item with this team is it seems the defense, as a whole, isn’t much better than the last few years’.  The defense is ranked 14th in scoring, giving up an average of 21.3 points/game.  Another indicator of overall team play is the point differential.  I’ve found myself in many disagreements, especially in baseball, about a team’s true strength determined by point differential.  The Packers are 9-3, but only have a +34 differential, which ranks them 11th in the NFL.  To give some insight, here’s a listing/ranking of where the Super Bowl winners from the past 10 seasons have ranked:

Year Team Differential Rank
2018 Patriots 111 5
2017 Eagles 162 1
2016 Patriots 191 1
2015 Broncos 59 10
2014 Patriots 155 1
2013 Seahawks 186 2
2012 Ravens 54 11
2011 Giants -6 19
2010 Packers 148 2
2009 Saints 169 1
122.9 5.3

As you can see, four of the past 10 winners have ranked 1st, and two have ranked 2nd.  A clear indication that point differential is telling in the sense of a true “chance of winning,” couple that with scoring defensive rank and one might be able to predict the winner heading into the playoffs.  A lot of these coincide, ala high point differential means a lot of wins, which equals home field advantage, which means they’re likely to get to the Super Bowl and are just a solid team.

Preview~ another week, and another No-Win scenario for the Packers.  To paraphrase Mayor Larry Vaughn (from Jaws) Blow the doors off Washington, and no one bats an eye.  Struggle or lose?  Well, then you have panic on your hands leading into Christmas.

The Redskins seems to be in full rebuild- owner’s fault- yet are somehow not eliminated from playoff (division) contention at 3-9 due to the NFC East being terrible.  As you can see on the chart below, the Redskins have the worst offense in the entire NFL, a rookie QB that makes plenty of mistakes, and holes all over the rest of their roster.

Points Offense Defense T/O Point Diff.
Was 14.4 (32nd) 24.2 (21st) 2 (T-13th) (117) (30th)
GB 24.1 (11th) 21.3 (14th) 11 (T-2nd) 34 (11th)

The Packers shouldn’t have any trouble in this one, but then again, it’s the Packers and they typically lose a game they have no business losing…hopefully that’s out of the way from the Charger game.

Redskins 14
Packers 38

Season: 7-5
Overall: 50-30