What’s the Definition of Insanity Again?

Matt LaFleur says he doesn't 'know what pass interference is anymore'  following Packers' loss to Eagles - CBSSports.com

Adding yet another season-ending gut punch to Packer Nation’s ever-growing inventory of sickening playoff losses, this one might be the tipping point for Packer fans on their desire to keep Aaron Rodgers as starting quarterback.

Like most (all) fan bases, this one will likely continue to overreact as well.  Maybe its deserved. 

Game Recap~ I won’t cover the obvious (special teams or Rodgers’ missed read on everyone not named Adams) in detail.  I will cover just how great the Defense was and why that should be cause for optimism moving forward, regardless of who’s under center in 2022. 

Defense~ before San Francisco’s final drive before the end of the 1st half, they had a total of -15 yards.  Yes, you read that correctly NEGATIVE FIFTEEN YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE.  Then, once they actually put a drive together, Adrian Amos came up with a clutch interception on the GB 4-yard line.  The Packers gave up a total of 212 yards of offense.  106 passing yards on 11/19 passing to only 4 different pass catchers.  It seemed like Jimmy G was under duress the entire game, and he was, yet took less sacks (4) than Rodgers (5) for less yards (24 v 29). 

The eye test tells the story that Green Bay’s defense dominated, while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers did not take what San Fran was giving them.  Which would’ve netted them 21-31 points and an easy win when coupled with Joe Barry’s defensive gameplan – even with the special team blunders. 

I think that’s enough, after having 7-8 days to settle, let’s review the season.  From last week’s article, the “true strength” showed the Packers were the 5th strongest team in the NFC, and that just may be more accurate than their 1 seed. 

While this was one of Green Bay’s strongest teams, and (arguably) their best chance at reaching a Super Bowl (keep in mind the goal is to win the Super Bowl, not just get there), the Packers squandered another opportunity.  Will this be the off-season to make the final change(s) to completely overhaul the roster since their last World Championship?  Maybe, some have been calling for that for some time…now is the time (again). 

If you want an optimistic view of watching the games as a Packer fan, think of it from a realist’s perspective: Better to have lost in the Divisional round than in either of the next 2 games; especially the Super Bowl. 

Season: 12-6
Overall: 81-42

1-Seed is the Underdog, That Makes Sense.

NFC Divisional Playoff Prediction and Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs.  Green Bay Packers - AthlonSports.com | Expert Predictions, Picks, and  Previews

With the divisional round getting under way in just a few hours, let’s see how the Packers matchup against the (somehow) feared San Francisco 49ers.  While, as a fan, it’s considered taboo to “take an opponent lightly,” the perception of the Packers is that they’re somehow the underdog when they’ve:

  1. Already beaten the 49ers this season.
  2. Proved to be the best team in the NFL for the entire season.
  3. Have the 1 seed and have only gotten healthier.

Hopefully this gives Green Bay added juice to motivate them to come out and execute.  Since San Fran is coming off a decent win in Dallas, where they tried to give the game away but Dallas had other plans, they have some momentum, but at the same time, their worries outweigh the Packers’.

 SF Def.GB Off.
Rush103.2 (7)111.8 (18)
Pass206.5 (6)253.8 (8)
Total310.0 (3)365.6 (10)
Points21.5 (T-9)26.5 (T-9)
 SF Off.GB Def.
Rush127.4 (7)109.1 (T-10)
Pass248.3 (12)219.1 (10)
Total375.7 (7)328.2 (9)
Points25.1 (13)21.8 (T-13)

As we can see, based on pure yardage, San Francisco has ranked higher all season, and in points both teams are identically matched up.  Which should lead one to believe that’s it’s an even matchup, kind of like their week 3 meeting.  While in my last article, “Re-Seeding the NFC playoffs” the 49ers technically are the 3rd strongest team in the conference, with Green Bay ranking 5th.  The item that those rankings doesn’t take into account is pure record of wins and losses; the most important. 

The media is quite focused on WR #19 Deebo Samuel, as well they should be, the Packers feature a better WR (#17 Davante Adams) and actually are better at every single position other than DE, TE, and K.  If the game does come down to kicking, at least Mason Crosby has been there in the past and delivered each time in the postseason.

Oh, and yeah, he kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired to beat these same San Francisco 49ers.  However, I don’t believe the game will be that close.

49ers 17
Packers 27

Season: 12-5
Overall: 81-41

Wild (stress free) Card Weekend


The season has come and gone.  While it was the longest season in NFL history, when your team is winning, it sure seems to go by quickly.  While the game was about as meaningless as a preseason game – there’s still some things from it to draw. 

Review~ Week 18 @ Detroit

                Offense: 1st team offense obviously came into this week to work on timing and a few basic formations.  That first drive, it was apparent, they were going to incorporate Davante Adams as much as they could to get him the Packers single-season receiving yards record, which they should’ve done.  However, they didn’t really get into their true offense until the 4th possession.  A possession with a nice mix of 4 rushes and 3 passes, totaling 76 yards in 4:26, resulting in an Allen Lazard 29-yard TD.  While it was against the Lions, it should’ve been indicative to most that had Green Bay come into this game “having to win,” they may have put up 6 to 7 touchdowns. 

I also seem to be in the growing minority (oxymoron?) that I still need to see more of Jordan Love before I’m ready to move on from him.  However, that doesn’t mean to pass by a quarterback (whether in the draft or otherwise) should one be available you think could help.  Of the 2 interceptions, one was on him (the last one to seal the game) as he just let it fly, which was better than taking a sack in that situation – the 1st one (while tipped) hit disappointing rookie Amari Rodgers in the bread basket.  Those two turnovers, coupled with the lost fumble by Juwann Winfree on the Packers’ first possession of the 2nd half led to a 3-0 turnover advantage for Detroit.  Something not seen by a Packers offense since the Week 1 blasting at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.  Again, this game counts (technically) and should for the final statistics as every team has games like this, but it’s not telling of who the Packers are – at least let’s hope not.

                Defense:  while Adrian Amos stated they practiced all week in preparation for Detroit, and the gameplan was to come out to play well and win, what else was he going to say when asked?  It was also revealing that the defense came out and displayed a very vanilla game plan.  There were 2 goals and one was to “not get hurt.”  While I don’t like that mentality, as that’s a good way to actually get hurt, putting guys in positions to not make plays will result in less collisions and ultimately limit the chances of injury – hence almost no blitzing from the Packers defense. 

The Packers’ defense may not be top 2 in scoring (which has been my claim in order for Aaron Rodgers to hoist a Lombardi Trophy), but they certainly are good enough to win a Super Bowl.

The main stat for the defense, aside from scoring – Green Bay finished T-13th giving up 21.8 points per game.  That’ll be more than enough for the naysayers to claim “Green Bay’s defense is the issue, yet again.”  While maybe that’s a case, plenty of other teams with far inferior QB-play (allegedly) have won with worse defenses.  Green Bay did take the ball away 26 times to rank T-8th.  Couple that with them blitzing only 21.3% of the time (25th) however generating a hurry rate of 11.3% (9th) which seems to be a direct correlation to Opponent Passer Rating (86.9 to rank 10th), that’s the encouraging stat line.  While I love running the ball and stopping the run, to win playoff games and ultimately championships it comes down to quarterback play (hence why they’re judged on rings) and making clutch throws at clutch times – the Packers seem to be very efficient in that department, on both sides of the ball.

Wild Card Weekend~ what’s become a Matt LaFleur annual tradition, the Packers will be resting and watching the Wild Card games with no stress to the fans.  Green Bay will face one of 4 opponents: Philadelphia; San Francisco; Arizona; Los Angeles.  As noted in my other article for www.wisportsheroics.com the Packers may not be the strongest team in the NFC, however they do have the best record in the NFL vs. current playoff teams at 5-1, with the sole loss coming at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead with Jordan Love starting in place of Aaron Rodgers. 

To attempt to find the “strongest” team, I’ve alluded to point differential, turnover margin, scoring ranks, etc.  I figured combining all of those ranks and dividing them evenly – while maybe not being the best method – would give a bit more accurate of a depiction of a team other than their record.

Rush O.Rush D.Pass O.Pass D.Total O.Total D.Pts O.Pts D.T/OPt. Diff.Sched.Avg. Rank.

When re-ordering based on the “Avg. Rank,” it would re-seed the NFC like:

  1. Tampa Bay
  2. Arizona
  3. San Francisco
  4. Dallas
  5. Green Bay
  6. LA Rams
  7. Philadelphia

The one thing that’s tough to account for is each team’s true homefield advantage.  The Packers went 8-0 at Lambeau this year, mainly because they’re a good team.  They also beat San Francisco and Arizona on the road while besting Los Angeles and Pittsburgh at home.  There’s something to be said for “knowing how to win,” I’m just not so sure that’s measurable, aside from, well…record.

Until we find out Green Bay’s opponent, have fun watching Wild Card Weekend.

Season: 12-5
Overall: 81-41

Season Finale– Get Reps!


Offense: the HB production was solid once again.  The halfback production was very solid.

  • #33 Jones: 13 touches; 106 yards
  • #28 Dillon: 16 touches; 83 yards; 2 TDs
  • Total: 29 touches; 189 yards; 2 TDs. 

That’ll do.  Do that in the postseason, and the offense should have success and keep the defense off the field, while controlling the line of scrimmage. 

Another non-surprising statement, Davante Adams is the best Wide Receiver in franchise history.  While he may not possess the statistics showing so, it’s clear he’s the best mismatch since Sterling Sharpe, and has a superior skill set AND rapport with his QB.  He’s also the best WR in the NFL.  I thought Tirico covered it brilliantly (and I’ll paraphrase) “While Cooper Kupp may win the wide receiver triple crown, the nuance with Adams and Rodgers separates these two from any others.”

The offensive line still needs improvement, but has held its own all season.  They didn’t give up a sack the last 2 games now – and keep in mind they faced Myles Garrett last week and a tough, well-coached Zimmer defense this passed Sunday.  While Bakhtiari and Myers practiced today (Wed, Jan 5th), who knows if they’re just prepping for the Divisional round game, but there’s hope of possible help coming.  However, they’ve shown to be good enough and not the reason the Packers won’t win the Super Bowl.

                Defense: a very good showing vs. a bad OL & backup QB.  However, we shouldn’t harshly judge them for literally doing their job.  They didn’t generate any turnovers, but did get 2 sacks, held Minnesota to 206 total yards, and most-impressively, held all-world HB #33 Dalvin Cook to 13 total yards on 12 touches.  Absolutely incredible, even with a backup QB.  As my cousin stated (he’s a coach) during the game, “If I’m coaching, Dalvin Cook touches the ball 40 times vs. this run defense.”  That should’ve been the plan, but that’s on them (Minnesota).

Safety #26 Darnell Savage has had a rough few weeks (actually season compared to the last 2 years), but if he’s the “weak link,” the Packers’ D will be ok.  He gave up the TD to Osborne this week, and has been beaten on a few long pass plays this season, but he did have a nice INT vs. Mayfield on Christmas Day to maintain momentum. 

Lastly, #59 MLB De’Vondre Campbell might be a must-sign.  Unless another team gives him stupid money, Green Bay might have to think about retaining him, and yes, that’s with the return of solid MLB #54 Kamal Martin, next year.  Campbell’s play recognition and pass coverage has been absolutely dazzling this season, and has made this defense a top-10 scoring D. 

                Special Teams: it should be pretty apparent that #82 David Moore is the new return man.  He gets away from the ball when it’s too short, doesn’t dance and has the one-cut and go, and experience. 

Mason Crosby (blame me if it fails, I guess) seems to have it figured out.  Like I stated prior, he’s taking a bunch of power off his kicks, but has drilled 9 of his last 10, and made all of his extra points.  Would still love to see him drill touchbacks on every kickoff, but wind is tough to judge from my couch.

Current Standing~

  • Seeding: We know the Packers secured the 1-seed, which is amazing, but now must capitalize on it.
  • Point Differential: +86 which ranks 10th in the NFL.  If the starters played ALL of week 18, that might be closer to +100 – +110, which would put them in the top 8.  I’ve since been added as a contributor to Wisconsin Sports Heroics and will expound on that statistic there. 


 GB Def.(rank)vs.Det Off.(rank)
Pts20.98 18.028
 GB Def.Det Def.
Rush111.119 135.928
Pts26.310 27.330
Diff.16T-1st (7)25th

The Packers hold the advantage in each and every category of this matchup.  The Lions have been playing tough all year, and Dan Campbell (their head coach) has them playing tough…this will be their Super Bowl.  Green Bay will likely have all reserves for the 2nd half, and likely longer than that, especially if the 1st string looks great to start. 

Preview~ Green Bay has a chance to get a ton of 2nd stringers great live snaps vs. NFL competition right before the most-important stretch of the season.  If no one else gets injured, Green Bay can return any or all of the starters that have missed a majority of the season, AND the backups become even more prepared…this could set the Packers up in an ideal scenario heading into the bye week.

Packers 27
Lions 24

Season: 12-4
Overall: 81-40