The Packers landed a solid 38-26 win over the ever-dangerous LA Rams on Sunday afternoon which essentially secured their third consecutive division title. And while the Vikings are not yet mathematically eliminated, it’s close enough so that we can discuss bigger and better things for the Packers as our focus on the postseason becomes sharper.
But first, let’s talk about their most recent game in which Aaron Rodgers overcame an injured toe and a decimated offensive line to toss for 307 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and connected on over 62 percent of his passes with one of the most feared pass-rushing units swarming his second and third-string linemen. Oh, and this was all accomplished after a full week of taking zero reps.
“It definitely isn’t the ideal situation not to practice,” Rodgers said. “But if I can go out there, take mental reps, go through the plan and my preparation and feel good about what I’m doing, and when I get out there, I’ve just got to rely on my instincts. The beauty is it’s an 11-person-a-side game, and I really feel the offensive line allowed me just to settle in.”
The interesting part of this matchup, from not only a fan’s perspective, but that of the oddsmakers was that the heavy betting was pouring in on the Rams. The original line on this game showed the Packers as 1 ½ point home favorites but when the game kicked, the line had drifted to Rams -2 which is a 3 ½ point line move. No doubt that had to do with many of the injuries dealt to the Packers and the uncertainty of Rodgers’ ability, or lack thereof, to move in the pocket and pivot off of his injured toe.
Those who had faith in Green Bay and its future Hall of Fame quarterback were handsomely rewarded in their NFL picks as the Packers proved the oddsmakers and the sharps wrong who believed it was the Rams’ game to lose. Rodgers was sacked only once which was a moral victory for the rag-tag offensive line that was patched together after enduring injuries to many of its starters.
We should also note that the Packers’ defense was responsible for two fumble recoveries and a Rasul Douglas interception that was returned 33 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to put the Packers in front, 36-17. And speaking of Douglas, normally a rotational player, he was replacing the injured starter, Kevin King, and had a profound effect on the outcome of the game with his late pick.
Douglas said after the game, “That’s what we need. We’re a great team when we get turnovers, takeaways. We just pride ourselves on that. We get a chance to strip out the ball, get a chance for an interception, you’ve got to do it. We feed off that, off making those plays. Seeing the guys hyped, that makes all of us hyped as a team.”
Green Bay will have a bye this week which will come at an opportune time for the team to rest their bones, lick their wounds, and prepare for a date with their divisional rivals from Chicago. Below is Green Bay’s remaining schedule:
Week 13 BYE WEEK
Week 14 Sunday, December 12th vs Chicago Bears @8:20 PM (NBC)
Week 15 Sunday, December 19th at Baltimore Ravens @1:00 PM (FOX)
Week 16 Saturday, December 25th vs. Cleveland Browns @4:30 PM (FOX)
Week 17 Sunday, January 2nd vs. Minnesota Vikings @8:20 PM (NBC)
Week 18 Sunday, Jan 9th at Detroit Lions @1:00 PM (FOX)
When the Packers get back in action, they will have what should be a cupcake win over the Bears, especially if it resembles anything like their first meeting in which Green Bay claimed a 24-14 road win and limited Justin Fields to just 137 passing yards.
The following week the team will face its stiffest remaining test when they fly to Baltimore and face Lamar Jackson and the surging Ravens. Some are looking at this as a possible Super Bowl preview, although it is far more likely we see the Packers on February 13th rather than the Ravens, but it is not out of the realm of possibility, especially with a wide-open AFC playoff race.
In Week 16, the Packers will welcome the enigmatic yet disappointing Cleveland Browns to Lambeau Field. The Browns had high hopes entering this season but are a middling 6-6 after a dozen games and lost to the Ravens on Sunday night, 16-10.
The penultimate week of the regular season should be interesting as the Vikings could very well be the best 5-6 team in the league. They are a gritty, determined team that always seems to be in the ballgame even if they don’t emerge victorious. This would be an opportune time for the Packers to avenge their 34-31 loss to the Vikings in hostile territory a few weeks ago.
In a game that will only matter if the Packers are fighting for the No. 1 or No. 2 NFC seed, they should have a gimme here against the dismal Detroit Lions, a team they previously defeated, 35-17, in Week 2. After that, it’s off to the postseason and, if things go right, a Super Bowl-winning season in Green Bay!
Rasul Douglas IS the starter now and has been for a bit. My hope is King never sees the field again. Unless it is in a different team’s uniform. I’m sure the Bears would take him like they did Ha’Sean.
We had the number one seed last year. Didn’t help much did it? The injuries we had going into NFCC game were a much bigger factor. So the question becomes, what’s more important? Home field advantage? Or your team’s overall health going into the playoffs? This is a team that needs to get healthy. You can make the argument either way. Ultimately it LaFleur’s call. He knows his team better than anyone. I lean towards overall health over playoff seeding. But I’ll trust LaFleur’s judgment on this.
Tom, the #1 seed comes with a week off to rest injured players.
Are you saying to rest every nicked up starter before/once the division is won and coast the rest of season?
“Ultimately it’s LaFleurs call. I’m on record.
I would have rested the starters and “mailed it in” – Princess
One of a 100 reasons why Tommi isn’t the coach of the Packers.
But….i heard the Packers are looking to hire a new towel boy.
Shall we list the 100 reasons why PF4L will never be GM of the Packers? Let’s start with how he predicted Kurt Benkert was an NFL QB and Rashan Gary was a bust. Or how Eric Stokes was a wasted pick because he didn’t start week one this year. Or how Royce Newman isn’t an NFL guard and should be working with him at Walmart. Do I continue? What I’m saying Dean is this. In 2010 we were healthy, we were the 6th seed, we went on the road and beat everyone. If you recall, James Starks, after missing most of the regular season, was healthy. He provided the running game we lacked during the regular season and was a huge difference maker. We’ve lost many a home playoff game over the last decade. More than I care to remember. Resting players is a completely different issue than getting them healthy. Alexander, Bakhtiari, ZaDarius, Myers, need to get healthy. One magical week off as the number one seed won’t be sufficient. I’m not saying having the number one seed doesn’t have value. It does. But with a team so devastated by injuries, I see overall health the priority.
Awe Ragnar.. Need a tissue?