This game was a microcosm of the 2022 Green Bay Packers. It started off slow, showed promise, and ultimately fluttered and proved this team was what it was, a roughly .500 ball club. While the regular season record was different than Matt LaFleur’s first 3 seasons, the result was eerily similar…falling short of the ultimate goal while convincing most of the fan base there was “a chance.”
Review: Lions 20; Packers 16~ the Packers won the Time of Possession, however lost the turnover battle 0-2. Both teams finished 4 of 12 on third downs, but Detroit converted both 4th downs, while Green Bay only got 1 of their two attempts. The one they didn’t gave Detroit 3 points and wiped out, who knows, how many points off the Packers’ final tally.
So, for the 3rd consecutive season, the Packers lost a must-win game, at Lambeau, to finish their season. The mystique has been gone since Mike Vick and the Falcons came in here on Jan. 4, 2003 (2002 season) and beat the hell out of the Packers, 24-7. Since, in postseason play, the Packers have gone 7-6.
Moving forward, the Lions are likely in the best shape of the division. They have improved each season under Campbell, and finished 9-8, knocked out the most-hated team in the division (Packers) from the postseason, in their house, which the Lions never win. Detroit has the Rams’ 1st round pick this year (5th overall), as well as their first round pick. For the second consecutive draft, they’re going to add 2 legit players from making the obvious/right call- trading their aging QB that wasn’t all that good and definitely wasn’t winning anything of significance with them…sound familiar?
What now for the Packers? If Tom Brady sticks with his retirement decision, this time, it’s almost guaranteed Aaron Rodgers plays as he likely doesn’t want to share the spotlight of his Hall of Fame induction with the best Quarterback ever. This season, unlike previous, the trade chatter has surfaced early and often, for the obvious reason: the Packers compounded their fatal mistake by continuing to make the same fatal mistake- resigning/extending Aaron Rodgers whilst under contract/control.
This leaves the Packers in a precarious position- will they have the stones to make the appropriate move (trade Rodgers) while being able to garner a significant return to allow them to continue to grow the roster for the next 5-10 years? It’s always best to move on from a player a year or 2 early rather than a year or two late…the most recent example was Donald Driver. His last year in Green Bay, was, umm…awful. However, there’s always an opportunity to garner a return on goods that are quickly depreciating and thus give yourself a high win-win rate. We’ll see if General Manager Brian Gutekunst makes the obviously smart decision. With this, it’s very easy to see (for some) the time to move on from other highly paid players, which are aging, can set this roster up for extreme success for a 6+ year run. See the move by cutting Za’Darius Smith. Moving on from all-world Left Tackle, David Bakhtiari and Show Time Half Back, Aaron Jones, would not only free up space quicker, it would allow the Packers to evaluate players behind them and give them the knowledge of that and the flexibility of freed up money to make better decisions, long-term, for the team.