These teams have lost as many, or more, starter snaps to injury as any teams in the NFL. Yet both are in the mix.
Special Teams: Not that it needs to be stated, but Special Teams, are, well, um…special. Thankfully the Bears are that bad that it didn’t cost the Packers the game.
- Crosby hit a 20-yard FG, and all 6 of his extra point attempts – knocked a kickoff OB, and almost nailed another OB.
- Without getting into each failure – the special teams cost Green Bay anywhere from 19-42 points (in total).
Defense: The defense, similar to the Rams game, aside from 2 plays enjoyed themselves. Yet another pick-6 by Rasul Douglas (Yours Truly thought Green Bay would have 2 in the game), and every other aspect was executed fairly well.
The 2 plays accounted for 14 points (end around to Grant and the slant route to Byrd), and it shouldn’t be minimized as that was killer in last year’s NFC title game vs. Tampa Bay (big TD to Mike Evans to go up 7-0, then right before half after Aaron’s INT, to Scotty Miller to increase the lead 21-10). This needs to be handled, and soon, as the QB-play ramps up a bit in January. Oh yeah, not to get ahead of ourselves, but we’ll likely see that guy who’s won 7 super bowls.
Offense: While starting slow, again, the offense really hit stride and once they find a groove (coupled with the defense getting off the field to keep the O in rhythm), they’re fun to watch…and can take over a game – in turn which applies a boatload of pressure to the opposing QB.
Once the offense began running the ball, that rhythm ensued. Excluding Kurt Benkert’s kneel downs, the Packers had 22 rushes for 120 yards…great production. The time of possession, which began poorly, quickly turned into an advantage, essentially winning it 35 minutes to Chicago’s 25.
Current Standing: thanks to the LA Rams for besting Arizona on Monday Night Football, the Packers currently hold the #1 seed, via tiebreaker. Yes, the 1 seed didn’t assist the Packers last season, but a team with a bye has won the Super Bowl about 50% of the time since 1992 (beginning of Free Agency), and with the 1-seed having the only bye, I’ll take my chances and it would be the chance for the Packers to win the Super Bowl by getting the BYE.
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It seems the red-hot Aaron Rodgers should have a fun time facing the 31st ranked pass defense, especially with Baltimore ravaged with positive Covid cases in the secondary. The Ravens will try to shorten the game, by running the ball and playing ball-control offense, keeping Aaron off the field. The issue is the Ravens are somehow 8-5 with an awful Turnover differential, that’s actually impressive. Keep an eye on Special Teams, Baltimore features very solid play at all special team positions – with the best Kicker of all time, Justin Tucker.
The Ravens will be missing Lamar Jackson and DT/DE Calais Campbell (very solid player for a long time). Green Bay will be missing Billy Turner, as far as starters go. It’s difficult to imagine the Packers losing this game, even if Lamar played, but the only way I see that happening is if they lay a dud, ala Week 1 vs. New Orleans (in Jacksonville).