Hello Wisconsin: Will the Third Time Be a Charm?

The Packers have already made history. Now it's time to finish the job.

Make no mistake; what the Packers have accomplished so far this season is truly remarkable, on many levels.

First, to get to 13 wins in the regular season three years in a row is literally unprecedented in NFL history. It’s a testament to the quality of the coaching staff, which inherited a team coming off back to back losing seasons for the first time in decades and restored it to being a powerhouse.

Second, to come back from such a devastating end to the season in 2020 only to once again seal up the #1 seed, and this time even before the final week of the season, shows incredible mental toughness and maturity from this roster. Better teams have collapsed after heartbreaking postseason exits, simply because they lacked the camaraderie and mental toughness required to get right back to where they were the next year.

Then there’s Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is far and away the most deserving MVP candidate for the 2021 season. He could make history with his fourth MVP, surpassing everyone in MVP annals but Peyton Manning. 

But ultimately, Packer fans everywhere are still holding their breath. No matter how much you’re enjoying the ride, you know that opportunities like the Packers have in front of them don’t come around very often, especially twice in a row (and certainly not three times in a row). 

The Packers have the rare opportunity to atone for the mistakes of a year ago. A third consecutive exit before the Super Bowl (especially if it were to be a game before the Super Bowl) will only further fuel the “what if” crowd regarding the career of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

So will the third time be the charm?

Last year really felt like a team of destiny for the Packers. Everything was lined up perfectly for them to get to the Super Bowl and bring home a title.

This year has felt like anything but. It’s been, frankly, a slog. The team hasn’t really played a complete game to date, it’s dealt with a ridiculous number of injuries, there was the offseason drama. We’ve been through this all plenty of times.

The rest of the NFC certainly seems to be playing out in the Packers’ favor. The Buccaneers are hurting, not as good on defense as a year ago and dealing with distractions. The Packers have already beaten the Cardinals, Rams and 49ers and there’s little reason to think they can’t do so again. The Cowboys are inconsistent and led by a coach with a penchant for making poor decisions in critical in-game moments.

It just really feels like everything is in front of the Packers once again, ready for them to take. Will they be able to actually pull it off this year?

THere are enough veteran players on this team that know how rare it is to even get one crack at a Super Bowl. To get a game away two years in a row and still come back after that as the number one seed is special indeed.

There may not be a fourth chance.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

I rang in the new year with a solid beer from my favorite brewery, 1840 Brewing Company!

Hoppy Resolution is a double west coast IPA, coming in at 8.5% ABV. I’ve been really into west coast IPAs lately. It feels like every IPA I come across these days is a hazy/New England style IPA. And I love those, don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious. But sometimes I get nostalgic for the days when IPAs were clear, no questions asked.

Well, this is a fun twist on the drinkable, refreshing west coast IPA style that used to be the predominant IPA variant until recent years. It makes it a little boozier and a little smoother while still maintaining a bit of a sparkle.

It’s exactly what you would want out of a New Year’s Eve beer. Tasty, drinkable, but still just a little bit of a punch to it. 

Find it on tap or in bottles at 1840’s tap room in Milwaukee.

What can we learn from Week 18?

Week 18 is certainly a meaningless game with regard to standings and playoff seeding. It’s understandable to be completely bored by the prospect of tuning in to watch a game that doesn’t count for anything.

However, there is still some value to be had in this game, mostly in that it is likely we will get some extended looks at young players without a whole lot of experience.

The obvious name people will think of right away is Jordan Love. I have a very hard time believing Matt LaFleur will let his MVP candidate play past halftime. This means we’ll get some extended Jordan Love action against a bad team. Love can use all the in-game reps he can get, and the Packers will be watching them very closely as well as they figure out how they’ll solve the puzzle with personnel that is to come this offseason.

There are some other young players for whom Sunday could be a big opportunity. Patrick Taylor made the most of his chance coming off the bench late against Minnesota ,and could get quite a few touches. Amari Rodgers has not been able to work his way into the offense this year, but could get some extended looks in the slot. Juwann Winfree is another bubble player who has had few opportunities to show what he’s got.

The defensive side of the ball doesn’t have quite the same number of interesting prospects to watch, but it will at least be a good potential confidence-building game for players after a stretch of bad defensive play up until the Minnesota game. I love the guy, but if it’s TIm Boyle starting for Detroit, there’s not going to be a whole lot of fear in that secondary.

Think of it as another preseason game, with a little more meaningful evaluation after the players have all been in the program the entire season. 

Pickled snacks: a true delicacy

So last week for New Year’s Eve my wife and I decided that we were going to pick up a bunch of snacks and just watch a few episodes of The Witcher on Netflix before passing out around 10 or 10:30 p.m. Great plan, right? 

I picked up a bunch of stuff to make a charcuterie board, and also got some special stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers from the local butcher. We also had some cheese spread with crackers, teenie weenies and plenty of alcohol. 

My wife’s special recommendation for the evening: pickled herring.

Now I personally do not partake in the pickled herring. But it is kind of hilarious how ubiquitous it has been in my holiday experiences throughout my life. My dad always had it around, his dad always had it around, my wife likes it, her family would always have it around.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s a regional thing or not, but I’ve definitely talked to people about it from outside of the state who get disgusted by the thought of it. Maybe not to the extent that they get grossed out by cannibal sandwiches, but certainly close.

That got me thinking about the various other pickled treats I partake in from time to time. While perusing the selection of pickled goods along the grocery store shelves i also picked up some pickled green beans. I’m a fan of pickled asparagus, and recently had pickled brussels sprouts for the first time. A pickled egg every now and then can be quite tasty, and who doesn’t love a good pickled onion?

Anway, a toast to the pickled hors d’ouevres. Often misunderstood and unappreciated, yet always a staple.

Around the NFC North

Here we go once again around the NFC North leading into week 18, the final edition of Around the NFC North for the 2021 season.

-The CHICAGO BEARS are one game away from ridding themselves of head coach Matt Nagy, and possibly general manager Ryan Pace. What does the future hold for this franchise? It’s hard to say. It depends largely on whether the Bears are able to get a hit with their coaching hire. Is the current ownership and front office capable of that? The first priority has to be getting a coach that’s going to put Justin Fields in position to succeed, if they have any belief at all that he’s going to be the guy long term. But Bears fans are sick of seeing coaches get hired and fired every three or four years. Is there any reason to expect anything other than failure? 

-The DETROIT LIONS jare another team with an uncertain future. There’s no denying that Dan Campbell at least got these guys playing hard. But they have SO many needs on their roster before they can become a winning football team. This doesn’t feel like a roster that’s a year away from being relevant–it’s going to take a couple more offseasons for them to undo the damage that was done by the prior administration in town. Fortunately quarterback is not an immediate priority for this team, so they can focus on fleshing out the lines and getting good players at a variety of premium positions.

-The MINNESOTA VIKINGS once again spent a season underperforming their acclaimed talent level and now find themselves sitting at home for the playoffs for the second year in a row. It’s a near-certainty that Mike Zimmer is out as head coach. After that, who knows. This is a team that certainly has talent, but has not been able to gel for the last couple years. Kirk Cousins will probably be back just because the Vikings are so heavily invested in him. But what soft of tweaks will need to be performed to get this team to be a true contender again? It’s not going to be easy, but at least they’re closer than the Lions and the Bears.

Where did this season go?

August and September feel like an eternity ago. Long past are the days when Aaron Rodgers hated the Packers and was attempting to throw the season out of spite. It’s amazing what a few months and a lot of winning can do.

This will be the longest NFL regular season of all time, and yet it feels like it’s been one of the fastest in recent memory. Perhaps this is mostly in comparison to the 2020 season, which never really felt normal due to the lack of fans for COVID protocols and due to everything else that was still shut down or canceled at the time.

Life has been at least slightly more normal this year, despite the pandemic that continues to rage, and as such there have been many other things that have happened between SEptember and now that make it feel like time has passed much more quickly. 

Now we come upon the part of the season that truly matters for the Packers. Can’t wait.

The prediction

This game, like almost every other week 18 game, doesn’t really matter. So, like, good job to the NFL for adding a meaningless week to the season, I guess.

The starters will play maybe a half of football before we get to see the real show that is Jordan Love vs. TIm Boyle.

 

Packers 20ish Lions 13ish I guess.

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

5 points

Comments (80)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

January 06, 2022 at 06:48 am

"First, to get to 13 wins in the regular season three years in a row is literally unprecedented in NFL history. It’s a testament to the quality of the coaching staff"

Yet after beating Baltimore a few weeks ago and the Browns the following week, it seemed all I read was how bad this football team was and there was no way this team would make a SB run let alone win it. I too had my concerns, but EVERY team is flawed in some way, the Packers no way more flawed than others.

Not only that, but the Packers made NFL HISTORY winning 13 games three years in a row while missing a top 3 CB in the NFL, number 1 last year, for the last 13 games. They did it without their best pass rusher for all but 18 snaps in week one, and they did it without the best LT in the NFL for the last several seasons for the entire season. Throw in COVID affecting various players throughout the whole season, yet this team still 13-3!

This team has been through adversity, TONS of drama, is battle tested, and with the exception of week one has lost 2 games by a total of 9 points, one of them without Aaron Rodgers at QB. MLF has been exactly who the Packers needed but so has our GM Gute. Whether it was the late signing of Campbell, or Kelly, or the midseason variety like Douglass or now David Moore and all the others since last season ended, this is a SB winning Roster and I'm loving every second of it.

12 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:01 am

In the interests of reality, some help has been received from our divisional opponents over the three years. 6 games, at least 4 of which have been against really bad teams each year. I don’t give the Pats as much credit as their W:L record suggested over the BB era because for much of it their regular opponents were so poor. The same has recently been true of the NFL North.

What we have seen is both a consistently improving roster, LaFleur growing as a coach. We’ve also seen Rodgers rebound from some down years in terms of personal as well. We look like a more rounded team in terms of not just ability but overall roster design.

8 points
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dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:19 am

I go both ways on the weak division argument. Weak divisions propel teams toward byes...maybe that's more important now that there's only one to be had, but as you look over the BB era--and this was just a quick scan, so I might have missed something--two things stand out...
1. most seasons, the AFCE had regularly been at least average if not better than average division, frequently with more than one playoff team. By definition, a division must be .500 in intradivisional play, so quality based on record for the division is going to be dictated in part by who they play outside the division and how they fare in those games. Most seasons, over .500.
2. BB's teams had first-round byes 13 times (and won 6 SBs) but never won a SB without a first round bye (check this, I might have missed one).

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2000/index.htm

2 points
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Since'61's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:45 am

Nick a good post as usual. I discounted the performance of the Packers the last few weeks because they knew that they had their division wrapped and a playoff spot secured. As I posted a few weeks ago it's difficult for a coach to keep a team motivated once they have secured a playoff spot.

However while it wasn't pretty the Packers defeated both Baltimore (on the road) and the Browns at Lambeau. Then they secured the #1 seed with a dominant performance against the Vikings. It's been a great team effort to achieve the #1 seed again and I believe that the Packers finally have the physicality and mental toughness to get through their playoff games and reach the SB.

The 2 games the Packers lost to the Chiefs and Vikings were due to the Packers defeating themselves.

As long as they don't beat themselves during the playoffs we're going to be fine. GPG. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
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porupack's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:18 am

No team can be discounted in the postseason, but we can sure like the packers chances at this point. However, as I said yesterday, the team that has highest vaccination rate, and/or contains the team's exposure or just gets very, very lucky in keeping players off the COVID list has the best chance to win throughout the post-season. A lot changes if any key players are not available. Just have to remember the difference in perhaps a couple of plays against the Bucs with Bahk not available (due to injury). One sack, one pressure and a soon a couple drives are stopped short.
Injuries aren't that avoidable, but a vaccine is pretty easy remedy to effecting the availability. It comes down to pragmatics, and not even getting into the politics of science. It is now a question for each player to consider their personal preference vs team goals to win it all. A vaccine allows a player a much higher probability to be available. Players better decide how much they want to win, and rally the team to make that little investment and go get a title. After 3 years, and all the investment in cap, drafting and going "all-in" with free agents and in-season signings, to be this close, and then not invest a little in getting a tiny, tweeny prick with teeny tweeny risks when players risk significantly more health concerns on the field......well, that is just a landslide, pragmatic logic. Get a vaccine as insurance to keep your players on the field more than the other team does.

-1 points
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SanLobo's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:00 am

Porupack. You’re kind of right and kind of wrong. Here is why: The immune system is actually a system of systems. When you receive a vaccine administered intramuscularly, not every part of the immune system receives the information it requires to best protect you. Specifically, mucosal immunity may not be fully activated. In context, this means a fully vaccinated person can carry live virus in the nasal passages for some time. They may never have symptoms. Since the NFL uses nasal swabs to check players for the virus they can still pop positive on tests even though they are well protected. I personally think everyone who can take the vaccine should get the vaccine. But because of how this works, players are still going to come up positive for COVID regardless of vaccination status.

2 points
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dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:39 am

True, but don't you have to have a certain viral load to be able to trip the test?...meaning the virus is present and replicating even if it doesn't ultimately result in symptoms in the host. In those cases you're identifying carriers and transmission vectors as much as anything else.

4 points
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SanLobo's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:43 am

You’re right. Which also goes to why the NFL’s testing policy put nonvaccinated players at higher risk this whole season. Non vaccinated were tested daily before being allowed to enter the facility. But vaccinated players were only tested once every two weeks. Because they could carry live virus that was capable of some replication in the nasal passages, they could spread the virus to the non vaccinated players. If the NFL had been serious about protecting all its players, everyone would have been tested every day.

2 points
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porupack's picture

January 06, 2022 at 06:26 pm

I was not going into the science, nor the politics of science. I was simply arguing that getting vaccingated is a pragmatic decision at this point for the team goal to win the chanpionship, because getting vaccinated ensures a player is less likely to miss time and a game. That's all. Just pragmatic decision for the team vs the individual's preference.

2 points
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SanLobo's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:02 pm

I wasn’t trying to go into politics either, but by the down votes I got some folks felt that way. Perhaps folks just didn’t like the critique of the NFL’s testing policy. Or perhaps no one wants to see a discussion about COVID in this fine football forum, though I see several follow up comments on the topic since I last wrote. We really do need to have some rational, non-emotional discussions about this vice just folks having opinions, the impact of the NFL’s policies can be seen across the league.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:04 am

Personally I'm on the side of everybody should be vaccinated. For me personally, as a man pushing 62 years old with COPD, it's a MUST have IMO. I've had both shots plus the booster and if they come out with 5 more booster shots I'll be one of the first in line. This though is MY opinion. Like a booty-hole everybody has one and this is mine and what's best for me.

With that said I agree with this statement form you porupack...

"However, as I said yesterday, the team that has highest vaccination rate, and/or contains the team's exposure or just gets very, very lucky in keeping players off the COVID list has the best chance to win throughout the post-season"

I happen to agree with this 100%. We already lost a game I believe we would have won if we had Rodgers against KC. Other teams have either lost games, lost playoff seedings or been eliminated altogether because of positive tests.

I think home field throughout is a HUGE advantage this year. Not just because of subzero temperatures, but because the Packers won't have to travel, deal with airports, hotels, or anyone or anything else road teams will, The team that survives COVID the best will have at least a big upper hand in winning it all.

5 points
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dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:41 am

I heard that "Booty-holes" is the front-runner for the new WFT nickname...

3 points
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Hematite's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:51 am

😂😂😂

0 points
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Since'61's picture

January 06, 2022 at 03:50 pm

Cookie! Thanks, Since ‘61

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:20 pm

Science over Sorcery. The meek shall inherit the earth, not the Ignorant, Be thy Brother's keeper. Omicron variant attacks the cell structure differently fromCovid-19 and Delta. An Epidemiologist, who is fighting Cancer has stated the Omicron variant will take out 3K persons each Day and is expected to Triple that rate of mortality/Day as it gains momentum and Spreads from east to west coast through May. Reality my Friends. Triage situations in the Hospitals and Care Facilities. Get Vaccinated and Boosted. Mask up and defend this Country.

0 points
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Gman1976's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:57 pm

Did you read about how effective the vaccine was for the 25 people located at an Anartica station? All 25 were quarantined from the rest on the world and all were fully vaccinated, but two thirds of them came down with Covid! Many others who are vaccinated have had terrible reactions and/or got Covid. I'm vaccinated and had problems myself. You are way over selling it.

-1 points
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porupack's picture

January 06, 2022 at 06:28 pm

Glad we;'re not playing in antartica then.

4 points
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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:06 am

Who is it going to be in the Conference?
Dallas has a very average quarterback with reasonably good team, Not a SB team.
Arizona has a Gifted QB but a team that is as jittery a crack whore.
San Fransisco still has not clinched and is at risk of being knocked out.
Tampa ?, with a great QB (who will soon be fitted for a walker) but they have had a "Powder Puff" schedule" They won't know what to do with a top tier team.
So Who's left?

Green Bay, The team who has "DONE IT ANYWAY". The team that started out like a bad scene from the Keystone cops and developed week by week and some how found a way to win. As the IR players are making their way back and the team getting healthy every team and every coach knows, The Green Bay Packers are the team to beat."

5 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:21 am

For the past 30 years (since Favre and Rodgers) how many times were the Packers favored to win a playoff game, or even SB favorites and we had our hearts broken? Home field advantage since 2000 has been about 50% victories thereabouts. I personally feel anyone who thinks the Packers are in the driver's seat is setting themselves up for another heartbreak. Parity is what exists in the NFL. Yes, the Packers are situated as well as they can possibly be going into the playoffs but we still have one game left. Since MLF appears to want to appease AR (3 or 4 yards from 4,000 passing yards), and Adams (22 yards from breaking the Packers single season all time reception record (Jordy) what happens if another key player gets injured unnecessarily in a game of zero importance? 😳 Throw in the unpredictability of covid amongst a dozen other unpredictable factors and in my mind the Packers are starting from scratch with no better or no worse chance than any other team in the playoffs. Will the Packers get bounced unceremoniously from the playoffs because of a single turnover, a bad officiating call, a missed Crosby FG, playing prevent defense, Rodgers not playing up to his usual standards, or maybe a questionable coaching decision? More likely than anything will it be because of a superior front 7 defense putting too much pressure on Rodgers once again, or will it be a team that keeps running the ball down the Packers throat defensively?

The Packers won several games this season in the last seconds because of a miracle defensive play. The odds are the Packers cannot continue having this type of success.

Yes, once again I'm hopeful but trying to keep expectations in reasonable check. It's the playoffs and no one knows how it will shake out, which is exactly how the NFL likes it!

1 points
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fordguy's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:41 pm

You could also look at it as the Packers have lost 2 out of the last 3 games coming back from the bye week. Can't imagine the chances would be favorable with 2 weeks off.

-2 points
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dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 02:11 pm

Seemed to work just fine against the Rams last year.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:24 pm

Irrelevant.

0 points
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pacman's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:22 am

It all comes down to one line - " The team hasn’t really played a complete game to date".

What's missing is the mental part of the game. We have the talent, even with all the injuries. It's not the first time the last 10 years. But continually coming out flat, letting teams get back in it, etc. Some of it is play calling so the rest must be basic mental attitude. Obviously, it's on the players to execute but coaches, as good as they have been, have been missing something in getting the team ready.

Let's just hope they figure it out this year. GPG!

6 points
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murf7777's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:22 am

I believe the last game was their first strong complete game throughout. It felt good to beat up the Vikings and erase any playoff hope for them. Especially, since my biz partner is a Viking fan.

The difference between this year and last isn’t very much. Both teams are not dominate, but find a way to win the close games. .the point scored vs given up are similar each year. The big difference I see is how much adversity this team has faced and succeeded thru. Also, the contributions from the new players has been exceptional from Campbell and Douglas. The O-line especially gets cudo’s. But, I would say a lesser QB would struggle with the current O-line. Rodgers makes a big difference.

If we get Bak and Meyers back, along with Alexander and Z and even if we don’t, this team is prepared to win a SB. Reminds me like the injury riddled 2010 team.

2 points
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dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:36 am

"I believe the last game was their first strong complete game throughout. "

I wouldn't overlook the Rams game.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:06 am

The Rams game to me is much more compelling. It’s easy to look complete against a team in the position of the Vikings last week. An unrecognized QB who hadn’t practiced with the starters, down key rushers, receivers and DBs and knowing as soon as we had more than a TD on them that their season was done.

6 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:02 am

They still had a slow start and left a lot of points in the red zone early on.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:33 am

Basically its now or never no other way to put it , 13 wins is nice but that's not the goal.

10 points
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egbertsouse's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:46 am

The history of the GBPs in this millennium, other than in 2010, has been to choke in the playoffs. Let’s hope they can reverse that trend. If they do, I will hop aboard the LaFlower is a great coach train. Maybe AR will win his coveted 4th(?) MVP, quit fighting with sports writers, and direct his energy toward winning the Super Bowl. Who knows. It’s a beautiful mystery.

-2 points
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mrtundra's picture

January 06, 2022 at 07:59 am

Regarding your "Around the NFC-North" segment: I think the Bears are closer to where the vikings are, than we want to believe they are. I think Justin Fields will become a solid starter for the Bears, but only after Nagy is gone. The Bears run defense is adequate and even without Mack playing. This weekend, the final weekend of regular season play, in the NFL, the Bears play the vikings at the Stapler. If the Bears show up, they can give the vikings a run for their money, in this game. If the Bears happen to beat the vikings, they could move into 2nd place in the North, if they meet the tiebreaker requirements. Both teams are out of the playoff picture, again! There cannot be a better picture than that for our North foes, if you are a Packer's fan! Fields can play with confidence, whereas Kellen Mond just got thrown under the bus, by his, soon to be gone, HC. The vikings seem to be stuck with Kark, basically because of horrible front office decisions based on delusions of how good they think he is. Mannion is their only viable back up and Mond will need a psychiatrist to figure out how he got hit by that bus, disguised as a head coach.

3 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:23 am

Week 18 - Still feels weird to say, but here we are.

While the game is meaningless in the playoff category, there is a lot to play for. First they are 13-3. They would be the first team in history to win 14 games on a 17 game schedule. There are a number of personal records to play for.
But the biggest thing is to keep momentum going. They need to keep the momentum going. They are getting a week off the week after so there is plenty of time to get rest. I get there are risk factors involved, but this isn't the preseason. Starters will be playing.

If they decided to sit some of the starters or take out early in the game, I have to think the most likely candidates would be Rodgers, Jones, Adams, Lewis, Clark, Gary and or Preston, Campbell, Amos.

As for players I would like to see more of. I want to see Amari Rodgers get involved on the offense. Same with Winfree. I was impressed with the runs that Patrick Taylor had at the end of the vikings game. I would like to see him get some more opportunities. Tyler Davis on offense I'd like to see a few more balls thrown his way. On defense I would like to see Scott get some action at Safety. Heflin on the DL. Maybe McDuffie at LB. Its time to see how some of the young guys do in this game.

NFC North

Lions - I don't think they will be getting rid of Campbell, but there will be a serious overall. I expect them to draft a QB high. Try to find their future.

Bears - I expect Nagy to be gone. Not sure if they will keep the GM either. If they feel Fields is the future, they are going to have to find a better system to fit them.

Vikings - I'm not sure if Zimmer will be gone. But I wouldn't be surprised if a number of changes are made. They have plenty of talent on the team they should have been better then what they were.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:28 pm

How would Belichick approach this game? Annihilate the Lions and keep the Momentum moving Forward.

0 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:37 am

I'm enjoying this feeling now and hopeful the Packers best football is ahead. Having clinched the number one seed, a game against the Lions to close out, then the well-earned bye, is like the period after having accepted a new job and having to start work. Pure joy, but knowing that Monday morning start date is coming and you have to go to work.

I admire what this team has accomplished. I'll be disappointed if the season ends in anyway other than a Super Bowl victory.

9 points
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Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:08 am

Well put.

4 points
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NicholasGigot's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:58 am

Hate being that guy, but anything less than a Super Bowl appearance is a failure. Can’t keep getting so close without making it to the final dance at least once over the span of what’s now more than a decade. Get it done, Pack!

6 points
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PeteK's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:07 am

Very disappointing, but not a failure after a 13-3 season filled with distractions and injuries.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:31 pm

They have accumulated enough ribbons and bows. Win the Big Game.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:33 am

Nicholas,
Agreed!

Additionally, the Packers have gone all in last year and again this year. Whatever happens in the playoffs happens, but the Packer organization will be trying to rectify having gone all in for the next 2 or 3 years with the cap and player personnel.

Much easier to deal with major roster modifications due to the cap these next couple of years if the Packers add another Lombardi trophy to their collection this year vs should they once again get dissapointedly get knocked out of the playoffs.

4 points
4
0
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 08:59 am

"Second, to come back from such a devastating end to the season in 2020 only to once again seal up the #1 seed, and this time even before the final week of the season, shows incredible mental toughness and maturity from this roster."

Not to be the naysayer, here, but I would argue 2020 comes nowhere close to 2014 in terms of devastating losses. The TB game was a battle, not a collapse. I echo your sentiment, though, that this is a resilient group. We presume that comes from the hand on the tiller, but it also comes from the guys in the locker room. Regardless of the outcome this season, one of those two will remain intact for 2022...hopefully the right one.

"Pickled snacks"

Our German heritage brings us "meat pie" (think beef wellington, only with pickled pork and venison instead of beef) as our family's pickled treat. I haven't been able to find anyone outside our family that will eat it...but we do. Cold, warm, doesn't matter. A little malt or cider vinegar on there and it's a treat.

"Around the NFC North"

Lions--they do play hard--not always well, but hard--and that's part of what the Packers need to worry about on Sunday, especially as it comes to injuries. Campbell will be back, but he's the filler coach for a year or two as they try to find help for their roster, and the next coach will reap the benefits of their draft capital.
Vikings--going the wrong direction. Need a lot of help to fix their secondary. OL is still a mess. When they hire a new coach, they need to seriously consider trying to find a taker for Cousins, get some added draft capital, and not do a partial rebuild. He's an albatross on their cap whether he's there or not...be brave and forward looking. He's clearly not the future. Will they do that? Of course not.
Bears--Nagy is out, but ownership is so lousy in handling management that Pace may stick around. He's a survivor, just not one who's good at his job. So long as he sticks, he'll crap out their cap and deal out of the draft to try to persist. I hope he hangs around.

"This game, like almost every other week 18 game"

Because there's only been one?--namely the two bye schedule of 1993.

Tim Boyle = Scott Tolzien.

Prediction--I yell at my TV a lot and drink one too many, but the Packers still win and I'm asleep by 4:30.

7 points
8
1
Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:16 am

I’m not a fan of Nagy, but I can’t help wondering who would have done much better with those rosters. In Minnesota, I just think it’s a case of a GM who has run out of road due to past missteps trying to jump the odds at huge cost. The Lions have (finally) gone for the tear down and rebuild needed to rebuild from the ground up. Their success depends on how well their GM constructs going forward. They are finishing a year of cap and contract resetting as a precursor to the real rebuilding. Many of those players are playing for their future in the NFL. I agree, they will likely play hard.

4 points
5
1
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:33 am

You make a good point...there are plenty of fingers to point in Chicago, and more should point at Pace than at Nagy. Injuries haven't been his friend, either. Both Chicago and Minnesota over the last 4+ years point to the cautionary tale of leveraging for making runs.

I think Detroit's GM is more with-it than anyone they've had in recent memory. I agree: how they handle the skill positions will have a lot to do with their path to success, but I think he makes Detroit one to watch down the road.

-1 points
1
2
PeteK's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:18 am

Lions have many high picks coming this off season with a SB QB who showed some improvement. We have seen how one great draft choice can greatly improve a team, Cowmanure's Parsons. Bears gave their #1 to Gents. Vikes have talent, but can't seem to put it together.

2 points
3
1
Bearmeat's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:05 am

I’m personally very excited to watch Jordan love play!

9 points
10
1
pacman's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:18 am

Do you want him to play well or poorly? :)

It's almost a no win situation. The odds of him playing 'lights out' are virtually nil. So does he play well enough that Packers aren't going to work that hard to resign AR? Does he play poor enough that he isn't worth much as a trade.

0 points
2
2
Bearmeat's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:27 am

I want him to play very well. As well as possible. I want the team to have as much leverage as possible over number 12 and the rest of the league going into the off-season. Other than getting the MVP in winning the Super Bowl the next best thing for my favorite team would be for the heir apparent to play as well as possible.

6 points
7
1
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:28 am

It's always better for the team for their backups to be good.

3 points
4
1
Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:20 am

It’s always better to get back ups playing time in season when it doesn’t matter. Any active player may be forced in to action in the coming weeks. Whether they are hidden gems or JAGs, they will perform better when needed with experience. A little less incompetence (if one is a pessimist) may make enough difference in a tight game, as may a few less nerves and more comfort with their role in our system.

2 points
3
1
RCPackerFan's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:31 am

Exactly!

1 points
2
1
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:27 am

Put together a game plan that caters to what he does well and see how he executes against Detroit's 1s. Not only do you get some live film to work with, you get #12 off the field and don't expose him to overzealous nobodies.

Win-win.

5 points
6
1
NickPerry's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:41 am

Me too BM... My hope is MLF designs a game plan FOR Jordan Love. It doesn't matter if Rodgers starts or not (personally I'm hoping for the 1st quarter and no more) design the plan for Jordan Love and let him go.

Obviously he won't have Adams or other starters on the field with him. But design a plan for him and let him rip it!

6 points
6
0
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:46 am

I am as well for all the reasons being mentioned in regards to your comment. Fans need to manage expectations as when Love is in the game as either all the Packer offensive starters, or many of the offensive starters will not be playing. Certainly Adams will not be playing. Detroit will have all their defensive starters playing against many of Packers backups.

Not excuses just reality! I thought against MN Jordan looked more poised and confident than against KC. My expectations for Love is not that he throws for X number of yards and x number of TD's. I want to see him play with confidence and making good decisions without turning the ball over. Is he able to make several long drives picking up key first downs? Does he show good leadership skills? Does he stand strong in the pocket under duress? Is he accurate on his passes?

I want to see the above traits to determine whether Love has the requisite skills to be the long-term QB for the GBP's.

1 points
2
1
NickPerry's picture

January 06, 2022 at 09:42 am

This morning I saw something interesting, ESPECIALLY for those who love PFF grades.

What I saw was Aaron Rodgers listed at #4 overall, Davante Adams listed #1 overall, but another ranking really caught my eye. Right now, after 17 weeks of football, AJ Dillon is listed #2 overall, and Aaron Jones #6 overall. Whether you agree with PFF or nor, I for one LOVE those rankings for the all of them but especially the RB's.

Home field, IN January, AT Lambeau, and having the 1-2 punch the Packers have a running back is pretty friggen awesome and IMO they have the best tandem in the NFL. When you add in Patrick Taylor who IMO could be a starter on several NFL teams, and you have a huge advantage, IF you take advantage of it.

8 points
8
0
Coldworld's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:33 am

I am looking forward to seeing what Patrick Taylor can do outside of garbage time. I’m hoping that he is the featured back for the majority of the game in order to protect others.

I’m also looking forward to see what Winfree can do with Love, whom he’s actually practiced with enough to build a basic rapport. I wouldn’t mind getting Moore a few snaps too, but Covid may have precluded him getting practice time. Rodgers, if he is healthy: that’s an investment for next year if nothing else. We are likely to see Braden, Hanson and Van Lanen get snaps under their belt too. I’d like to see Kaufusi elevated and play the Lewis role (not sure how realistic that is).

On D, I want to see if some of the back up safeties can function deep. It’s time to get Heflin some action and some mix of back up ILBs. That’s if I’m still close to knowing who is actually off Covid reserve and on the roster. I admit to have lost track over the last week or two.

3 points
3
0
stockholder's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:51 am

Adams will tell you Rodgers is #1. I'd believe the players.

1 points
1
0
NickPerry's picture

January 07, 2022 at 06:26 am

I think so too SH... Hell, throw out the first week against the Saints and he probably is #1. Like I mentioned above, I really like where Dillon and Jones were ranked. Is Dillon the 2nd best RB in the NFL? No, but I think he's a hell of a lot better than his part-time stats indicate.

0 points
0
0
Swisch's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:28 pm

What may be a good idea is for the Packers to have a party in which they all purposely get COVID -- which means they'll all be recovered by the playoffs and have natural immunity.
Since they would all have it, they could all practice together.
After all, it seems zero players in the NFL have been significantly harmed by COVID. Apparently, the omicron variant, though highly transmissible, is even more mild.
Indeed, I wonder if the shot is more dangerous to young and healthy people than the virus -- if the supposed cure is worse than the disease.
If the shot was as wonderful as advertised, why would those who have taken it care about those who haven't? Oh yeah, it seems a lot of people with the shot are still getting COVID -- but then why get the shot?
***
In all seriousness, it's hard to know what to believe these days about COVID. I'm for everyone being allowed to make their own decisions about the shot and related matters -- and I truly pray good health for all.
What I am certain of is that the current regime in the White House will lie to us for political gain. If they ever did tell us the truth about something, I wouldn't know when to believe them.
It's very sad to not be able to trust our political leaders, but these are the people who tell us that Donald Trump is a Russian spy, while Hunter Biden and his father are free from all foreign influence.
Another especially timely hoax is that those who support Trump in any way are insurrectionists and domestic terrorists, but the BLM and Antifa mobs are mostly peaceful protesters.
I could go on and on and on, but will limit myself to these two examples and bring all this back to the Packers.
***
For those interested in more than the party line, there's a new book by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Dr. Fauci and the corruption of our health care system, as well as Alex Berenson's, "Pandemia" (and his daily offerings on Substack).
To conclude, whatever happens regarding COVID and the NFL playoffs, I fear it will have more to do with ideology than epidemiology, more to do with a highly politicized NFL than the science as to whether or not to get the shot.
Tragically, we live in a Machiavellian era in which some consider it perfectly fine to lie, cheat, and steal as means to achieve their supposedly good ends.
Their triumph would mean the ruination of everything good about America, including Packers football.

-3 points
8
11
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:50 am

You will get down votes but not from me!

-3 points
3
6
Ya_tittle's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:07 am

Kennedy is a nut.

3 points
3
0
PeteK's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:23 am

Nah, just the sack.

0 points
1
1
CWolf's picture

January 06, 2022 at 12:26 pm

"After all, it seems zero players in the NFL have been significantly harmed by COVID."

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32930392/ryquell-armstead-reveals-po...

At least one has.

1 points
2
1
-1 points
1
2
RCPackerFan's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:20 pm

I am trying to avoid the covid talk on this page, one thing I wanted to pass along. I have been following this doctor on youtube for a while. He explains things well.

Hopefully this link works.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH1u1GIPU2A

0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:36 pm

"What may be a good idea is for the Packers to have a party in which they all purposely get COVID"

Holy second-grade chicken pox, Batman!

0 points
1
1
Swisch's picture

January 06, 2022 at 06:14 pm

It may also be a bad idea for people to purposely get COVID, perhaps a terrible idea, but I'd like to live in a society in which we can sincerely discuss our ideas.
I'm not saying I'm always right. I'm not saying RFK, Jr. and Alex Berenson are always right.
What I am saying is that average Americans are generally a caring and intelligent people who can have good and fruitful discussions to help each other in our decisions.
I am saying it's wrong for certain politicians and other elitists to censor us and insult us and cancel us and ostracize us.
I don't want to live in China or Russia or anywhere else.
I want to live in an America that has traditionally been uniquely open to hearing what the other person has to say without ridicule and scorn. I want to live in an America where we appreciate each other.
I want to protect and promote a free exchange of ideas.
I want an America with a government that doesn't dictate to the people but serves us.
To borrow from Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, I want a government not controlled by a tiny few elitists, but a government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- and I'm concerned about this rare and precious form of government in America soon perishing from the face of the earth.

-3 points
1
4
jurp's picture

January 06, 2022 at 02:03 pm

You asked why people who are vaccinated care about the unvaccinated. I can give you a couple of reasons:

1. Because we're human and think that people unnecessarily dying is a tragedy for themselves, their families, and society in general.

2. Because we're human and selfishly think that the unvaccinated people clogging the ICU will actually wind up killing those of us who are vaccinated but have had a heart attack or stroke and can't get into an ICU bed.

Pick one.

I won't bother countering the rest of your post because we're on a Packers site, not Drudge or Alternet.

1 points
2
1
Swisch's picture

January 06, 2022 at 05:51 pm

Jurp, your concern for others is appreciated, and it doesn't surprise me.
I think most Americans are caring and intelligent people, although we may disagree as to the best way of acting in any given situation.
None of us wants to endanger others, and all of us want to help others.
So, it seems to me, we really need an open dialogue in America to share ideas with each other robustly but respectfully.
If we still disagree, then we need to still find a way to get along.
***
Sad to say, one side of the debate about COVID wants to force others to get the shots.
Sad to say, one side of the debate about COVID wants to censor others with different viewpoints.
It's not just about COVID, either. The side that pushes COVID shots through manipulation and intimidation also wants to censor debate about everything that goes against their ideology. We're not allowed to question global warming, for example, or transgenderism.
Moreover, the side of censorship seems to truly despise average Americans as being stupid and hateful. I don't see my family and friends and neighbors over the last several decades as being that way. I see basically good people who are generally kind to everyone, including those we disagree with.
I'm not going to condemn all the people I've held dear in my 59 years of life. I'm not going to hate average Americans, including myself, and our common heritage.
Yes, average Americans have their flaws and have at times acted in ways that are bad, but I support them as for the most part people who are sincerely good.
We're not insurrectionists and domestic terrorists and white supremacists. We're not rubes and bigots.
I'm sad and angry that one side that continually vilifies us in this way with incessant lies.
***
I'm on the side of being highly reluctant to force people to do things, and being highly reluctant to censor them.
I'm on the side of persuasion rather than coercion.
I'm on the side that admits we're all wrong at times.
I'm on the side that affirms America as a great country even as we try to make it better.
I'm on the side that says the solution to our problems as a country is not to reject America, but to be truer to our historic ideals of faith and family and freedom.
I'm on the side of Bedford Falls versus Pottersville when it comes to making a society in which we can truly say, "It's a Wonderful Life."
By the way, I think I'm on the side of most Packers fans.
My heartfelt best to all.

-3 points
1
4
holmesmd's picture

January 07, 2022 at 11:38 am

You mean this White House lies to us as opposed to the previous administration?! Please tell me you are joking.

0 points
0
0
Swisch's picture

January 07, 2022 at 12:08 pm

The Democrats habitually accuse others of doing what they in fact are doing.
Who lies about Trump being a Russian spy? Is it the Democrats or Trump?
I think it's a lie to compare January 6th to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, as does this administration.
I think it's a lie to call average Americans insurrectionists and domestic terrorists and white supremacists.
I think it's a lie to say there was a water pipe break in Georgia on election night in order to send Republican poll watchers home, then pull out ballots hidden underneath tables to count them in secret. Now these liars want total federal control of elections.
***
I don't understand how so many Americans trust an elitist regime that despises us and dictates to us -- unless you agree with their hatred of us, and hatred of everything about America before they came along.
By the way, I'm an independent. I don't trust the shot based on what Trump or Biden has to say. I try to follow the science and common sense.
At least Trump doesn't try to force the shot on us.

-1 points
0
1
Starrbrite's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:01 am

Frankly I would love another shot at Tampa in the playoffs. I feel they were extremely fortunate to win in light of the three INT’s by Brady.
I also feel Bahk was the missing piece in our loss and while he may possibly return, it is Tampa who will be playing with some missing pieces this time.

6 points
7
1
HarryHodag's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:36 am

Sorry for the bucket of cold water, but I'm not sold on the Packers winning it at all. I've been a Packers fan since 1961, but much of their record is an illusion.

I'm first to say what Matt LF and staff have done this year with an injured and sick team is remarkable. But it isn't going to be enough in a 'one and done' format.

1)The North Division is weak.. The Packers have to beat the weaker teams but they often play to the level of the competition. So they can get 5-6 wins that way. Halfway to 11 wins and the playoffs.

2) The defense has shown some real lapses all year. There are times they looked good, but they can be frustratingly inconsistent. The Packers offense is potent, but the better teams also have a good offense.

3)Does anyone believe this team can continue to win with special teams that are this bad?

In the NFC you can't discount Tampa Bay. They have their flaws, but like Green Bay has Rodgers, Tampa has Brady. You can poo-poo the Cowboys all you want but if I had to grade who has the better personnel, position-by-position, Dallas has an edge. You can upchuck about McCarthy all you want but he does produce playoff-caliber teams.

In the AFC, the Chiefs look like they're on a roll, the Titans are getting Derrick Henry back and never count out the Patriots.

Home field will help the Packers but an off game by the offense is more than likely doomsday.

-2 points
1
3
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:53 am

Well stated Harry!

The playoffs everyone starts from scratch and every team is talented. Tighten your seat belts and hold on as it is going to be a bumpy ride from here on out!

0 points
2
2
PeteK's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:59 am

A great many buts there Harry, but remember ours has less black and blues and we'll be sitting on ours the first week of playoffs.

1 points
2
1
dobber's picture

January 06, 2022 at 02:09 pm

"1)The North Division is weak.. The Packers have to beat the weaker teams but they often play to the level of the competition."

If the season ended right now with the playoff field currently in place, the Packers would be 4-1 vs. playoff teams this season. They can't help what their division looks like, and they can only play the teams on their schedule, but they've beaten almost all of the teams that have proven to be good enough to advance.

Other teams' records vs. playoff teams:
AFC:
Tenn 6-2, KC 4-4, Cin 1-3, Buff 2-4, NE 3-4, IND 4-4, LAC 3-3
NFC
TB 5-1, Dal 3-3, LAR 3-4, AZ 5-3, SF 3-5, Phil 0-5

They've done about all they can do: put themselves in the best position they can, and let the chips fall.

1 points
2
1
Ya_tittle's picture

January 06, 2022 at 10:50 am

The example of a team that reels after a major playoff disappointment is the Packers after the debacle in Seattle. MM was never the same as a coach. The other is the Atlanta Falcons meltdown in the Super Bowl, and they were never the same after that. Not sure our loss to Tampa last year is on the same level as those, but you're right to commend the team for fighting back from that as if it never happened.

2 points
3
1
Since'61's picture

January 07, 2022 at 10:13 am

To be fair MM lost his younger brother unexpectedly 10 days after the debacle in Seattle. Suffering such major professional and personal losses within 10 days would be difficult for anyone to come back from.

I never felt that MM was the same coach after losing his brother and who would be? The team itself wasn't the same after the loss in Seattle but they also went through injury plagues in 2015 and 2016.

Our loss to Tampa was not the same as the loss to Seattle. The loss to Tampa was a hard fought game. The loss to Seattle was a collapse that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a game the Packers had dominated until the last 3+ minutes of the game.

The current Packers team has been much more resilient and mentally tougher than the 2014 team. They keep finding ways to win. The 2014 team did not have that quality when they needed it the most. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0
PeteK's picture

January 06, 2022 at 11:01 am

In this season filled with ups and downs by the best teams, Packers rate the best because they find ways to win which other teams have not. Also, wins against Cards, at their house without Adams, and Rams give me confidence especially since we will be rested and home. We need to win it now because changes are coming, and that will make for many very interesting discussions this offseason.

3 points
4
1
stockholder's picture

January 06, 2022 at 02:40 pm

Every game is important. Just ask the 1972, 17 - 0 Miami Dolphins. 13-3 is wonderful. And if Rodgers does get his 4x NFL MVP. It sets the bar to Tie/ beat Payton Mannings 5x. (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013) Someone has to take down Payton Manning. It's not impossible. And while Rodgers never won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. How awesome would it be if Rogers can do it with the same team. Think of the motivation. The history. That the Packers have, and have had, some of the greatest players in NFL history. That Rodgers and the Packers were made for each other! I remember Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. And a few more. It's like they had a good season. But Rodgers skills are much superior. And the fear he strikes into an opponent is priceless.

5 points
5
0
jurp's picture

January 06, 2022 at 02:07 pm

Dan Marino was great for pretty much his entire career, but I never heard of this Morino kid...

0 points
2
2
Qoojo's picture

January 06, 2022 at 01:30 pm

Given the defense's issues the two weeks prior to MN game, and the MN game being a scrimmage due to covid replacements, so not a real test to see if they improved, I have to go with what I saw in those two weeks. That defense isn't good enough. Maybe it gets better if Alexander can make it back. If they can get healthier on OL, it will help a lot too.

I just have a lot of doubts based on those two weeks, and that's not even mentioning the ST woes. But it seems like it will be the same ol', Rodgers is good enough to get the team very far, but you need a defense to carry it over the line, because eventually the offense will score less going against playoff defenses.

-3 points
1
4
packerbackerjim's picture

January 06, 2022 at 03:53 pm

Any anxiety I have about the postseason is the Any Given Sunday Syndrome.
As for pickled snacks I miss pickled pigs feet I first experienced thanks to my grandfather.

-1 points
0
1