Maggie's Pre-Game Six Pack - 2021 Bye Week

The Week 13 bye is the latest the Packers have ever had. On the off week, here are six things to keep in mind moving towards the conclusion of the regular season:

1. Offense Catching Fire

The Packers offense has started to find its stride. After averaging 21.6 points for the first 10 games of the season, Green Bay put up 30-plus points in two straight weeks against the Vikings and the Rams. 

Still, the offense looks unfamiliar compared to last season’s No. 1 ranked unit. That Packers offense averaged 31.8 points per game and also ranked first in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on a whopping 80% of trips. This season, Green Bay continues to struggle in the red zone, ranked 25th in the league with only a 55.3% success rate. 

What’s more, quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished the 2020 season winning his third MVP award. While his 2021 numbers are still solid with 23 touchdowns, four interceptions, and 2,878 yards through 12 weeks, his 2020 totals were unprecedented. Additionally, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones combined for 29 touchdowns between the two of them, but we’ll talk more about Adams in No. 3. 

With Marquez Valdes-Scantling back in the lineup, Adams should see less Cover 2, making the offense more productive as a whole down the stretch. Veteran Randall Cobb has also been a welcomed addition to the lineup, ranked second on the team in receiving yards (375) and boasting the highest catch percentage (71.8%) of the wide receiver room. 

2. Third Time’s the Charm

Per the dope sheet, this is the fourth time in franchise history that the Packers have won at least nine of their first 12 games in at least three straight seasons, with the most recent stretch being 1965-1967 (good years for the Packers). 

According to Stathead.com, Green Bay is also the only team in the NFL to start the season 9-3 or better in each of the last three years. That’s an impressive start for Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who after a win against the Rams last Sunday has still yet to lose back-to-back regular season games. 

3. All-Pro Adams 

This one is worth revisiting after writing about Davante Adams in Week 6. He’s well on his way to another All-Pro season for the Packers. His 104 yards last Sunday against the Rams brought his receiving total to 1,083 yards on the season. That marks the third time in his NFL career that he’s eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, though he came close with 997 yards both in 2016 and 2019. 

Adams is averaging 98.5 yards per game in 2021, which would put his season total at 1,576 yards (if we subtract his one-game absence), surpassing his previous total of 1,386 yards (in 15 games) in 2018. That 98.5 yard per game average, should it stick, would also set a career high for Adams, whose previous high came in 2020 (98.1). 

For his career, Adams has 7,651 yards. That’s sixth all-time in franchise history. With 484 yards through his final five games of the regular season, Adams would surpass Jordy Nelson (7,848), Don Hutson (7,991), and Sterling Sharpe (8,134) for third all-time behind only James Lofton (9,656) and Donald Driver (10,137). 

Adams has already climbed the franchise record books this season, becoming second all-time in receptions with 626. He trails only Driver’s 743 receptions, though Driver did that in almost 100 more games. Adams is also third in franchise history with 67 touchdowns, and while Hutson’s 99 scores seems insurmountable, he’s on pace to surpass Jordy Nelson’s 69 touchdowns for second all-time.

4. No Place Like Lambeau 

The Packers have won 10 straight regular-season games at home. Per the dope sheet, it’s the longest streak for Green Bay since a 12-game stretch in 2014-2015. It’s also the longest streak in the NFL since the Patriots won 13 regular season games between 2018-2019.

Green Bay finishes the season with three home games meaning they could potentially tie New England’s record. Those matchups include next week against the Bears on Sunday Night Football, on Christmas Day against the Cleveland Browns, and again on Sunday Night Football in Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings.

5. We Really Got a Defense 

The Packers defense has been impressive under coordinator Joe Barry. According to the dope sheet, Green Bay’s 3,860 yards allowed this season are the fewest through 12 games since 2010 when the team only allowed 3,797 yards. What’s more, Green Bay’s 242 points allowed are the fewest by the team through 12 games since 2015, when the Packers allowed 238 points. 

Even without All-Pros Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander in the lineup, a number of Packers are having some of their best seasons, including free agent acquisitions Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell. Campbell is playing a career-high 98% of snaps, allowing the lowest passer rating, completion percentage, and yards after the catch of his career, while Douglas had his first career pick-six against the Rams on Sunday. Third-year pro Rashan Gary also leads the defense with 6.5 sacks which is his career high. Green Bay has 28 sacks and 12 interceptions through 12 weeks, and the team is 9-0 when forcing at least one turnover on defense. 

6. Finding Something Special about Special Teams

The Packers are going to need to get special teams figured out quickly, as kicking gets more difficult as the Frozen Tundra freezes. Normally, inclimate weather is an advantage for Green Bay, but that hasn’t been the case this season. 

Despite having the best statistical season of his career in 2020, hitting 100% of his field goals, Mason Crosby has had a rough start to his 2021 campaign. While some of that hasn’t been entirely his fault, as the field goal protection hasn’t always been up to par and there have been issues with the entire operation from the snap to the hold, Crosby hasn’t looked like Crosby. 

He’s missed at least one field goal in four straight games, as well as in six of his last eight games. He’s inching closer to the worst season of his career statistically, the 2012 campaign where he missed 12 field goals and completed only 63.6% of attempts. For comparison’s sake, he’s missed nine field goals so far in 2021 with a completion percentage of 66.7%. 

If you’re looking for a special teams silver lining, look no further than punter Corey Bojorquez. His 82-yard punt is the longest in the NFL this season and the second-longest in franchise history behind only Don Chandler (90 yards). He’s also averaging 47.8 yards per punt. For context, that 47.8-yard average ranks third all-time in franchise history, behind only Tobin Rote (56y/p) and Bob Cifers (49y/p). I know. Just what you asked for. Punting stats from the 40s-50s. But for a more recent comparison, punter JK Scott had a career average of 44.6 yards per punt with a long of 67. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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9 points

Comments (14)

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Spock's picture

December 03, 2021 at 06:39 am

Interesting stuff as always, Maggie! Wow, you had to go back to the 40's and 50's to compare our punter's stats. That's cool. Now if we can just get our kicker right again.

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jurp's picture

December 03, 2021 at 09:12 am

A QB has the franchise record for punting. Wow.

Actually, if you look up Tobin Rote's stats, he had one hell of a career, and may be the only QB in history to take three different teams to three different playoff games in three different leagues (Detroit NFL, Toronto, CFL, SD AFL). He won two championships, too (lost in the CFL playoffs). He also has a still-standing team-record 108 yard passing touchdown for Toronto.

In a what might have been, what might Bart Starr's career have been like if Rote had never been traded by the Packers? Rote played at a high level through 1962 - would Starr have been a career backup? Or would Scooter McLean or Lombardi have traded Starr away? Or would GB have exposed him to the 1960 expansion draft, only to see him develop into greatness with Dallas? Or (gulp) Minnesota?

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dobber's picture

December 03, 2021 at 07:47 am

"With Marquez Valdes-Scantling back in the lineup, Adams should see less Cover 2, making the offense more productive as a whole down the stretch."

The Packers need the deep threat in the lineup. Nobody else on the roster scares anyone deep or commands the help of safeties in the deep zones. He might not catch or be targeted on as many shorter or routine passes as you'd hope, but he's pretty important to this offense. I think it's looking like he's finally starting to trust that hammy and running with more confidence. The LaF passing game is all about making defenses defend both laterally and vertically...you've got to have the vertical element.

The Packers will be forced to cut contracts this off-season, but I think 83 gets re-upped and shouldn't be terribly pricey.

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Brockrice99's picture

December 03, 2021 at 08:49 am

I always hate to see injuries, especially to players in contract seasons. But with that they are not having that breakout year where they will demand to be paid in the offseason. So guys like Toynan who is out and MVS who missed some time might be easier to keep around on affordable deals.

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dobber's picture

December 03, 2021 at 10:45 am

On the other hand, you have a guy like Jenkins whose contract is up after 2022. He's likely to miss a lot of it, but I bet the Packers extend him before he plays a snap...and for big money.

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Spock's picture

December 03, 2021 at 08:00 am

Unrelated: Just saw that Cliff Christl's 4 volume history of the Packers first 100 years has finally come out.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/four-volume-green-bay-packers-histo...

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Swisch's picture

December 04, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Thanks, Spock, for the heads up on what could be a fascinating telling of the history of our favorite team.
It seems as though this account of the Packers is also about the industrial town of Green Bay, and in that sense tells the stories of many of our families as average Americans in what was the manufacturing heartland of the Midwest.
Until the 1960s -- which coincided with the glory years of the Lombardi Packers -- the humble blue-collar settings of pro football were a world away from the blue-blooded havens of college football. While the college game was largely played by wealthy WASPs who would go onto highly paid office careers after graduation, the pro game was the stomping grounds of impoverished laborers who played in their spare time for a little extra cash after grueling days in factories and mines.
These rugged and ragged warriors were considered the grimy deplorables of their day. With strange Polish and Italian and Irish names, they were deemed uneducated lowlifes and superstitious papists of a dirty and disreputable rabble.
For many of us, though, they were the stuff of our beloved immigrant ancestors -- whether or not they actually played pro football, or just cheered on the likes of the Green Bay Packers, Decatur Staleys, Potsville Maroons, and Canton Bulldogs.
The point being that the woke narrative of white privilege being pushed on Americans these days -- even by the NFL -- is a terrible myth.
Most Americans of all colors who have made their way to the middle class have done so through dingy and deafening and dangerous jobs with endless hours and paltry pay.
***
It fascinates me that the core of the fan base of the NFL is made up of such families of regular citizens who have built America with their sweat and defended it with their blood -- and yet we are trashed by the NFL as white supremacists of white privilege.
Nowadays, after all the effort expended over generations to reach the middle class, that status is being increasingly taken away, as our economy is shipped overseas for the benefit of a tiny class of executives in big business colluding with politicians in big government.
We are falsely being divided along racial lines to distract us from the troubling fact that a tiny few in America own almost everything, and we own almost nothing. Even home titles are largely an illusion of mortgaged debt to big banks.
Those among us who are better off are living in gilded cages that are dependent on the whims of the mighty, and we can be cancelled into destitution whenever we may incur their disfavor.
Then on a Sunday afternoon when we try to get away from it all as fans of the Packers, we're portrayed by the NFL as bigoted and backward rubes.
***
Just this week, Jersey Al wrote about playing tackle football in his youth -- apparently not in grassy parks but on the hard streets of working-class neighborhoods in or around New York City.
So even though my assessment of the conditions of pro football fans past and present may contain some unintentional errors, I would venture to say that many others here at CHTV can relate to the big picture. Not many of us have had life easy, even as we consider ourselves blessed.
In my opinion, we do well to unite as average Americans in a solidarity of all colors to reclaim our country for faith and family and freedom -- which are the basis of prosperity.
It's something to keep in mind this Christmas when watching, "It's a Wonderful Life."
It's something to hold onto as fans of football. The history of the Green Bay Packers is mostly made up of our stories.
Overwhelmingly, we the people are the sustenance of the NFL, and the heart and soul of America.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 04, 2021 at 10:07 am

Well said!

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Brockrice99's picture

December 03, 2021 at 08:46 am

It's going to be a war to the end with the Cardinals and Buccaneers fighting for that 1 seed. Then we get a separate war of having to go through all of these impressive NFC Playoff teams. If we can get a few games at Lambeau, have Jaire, Bak, and Z back that will make us even more of a physical presence, because physicality is what's going to get us to the Super Bowl. But if we get those playoff games at Lambeau I want to see a heavy dose of number 28 running down hill and let's make Vince Lombardi proud and lets ride the Quadzilla through the freezing and snowy Lambeau Field all the way to LA.

8 points
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jurp's picture

December 03, 2021 at 09:15 am

I'm still dreaming about seeing Dillon running to daylight behind an old-fashioned Packers sweep in the snow at Lambeau.

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Brockrice99's picture

December 03, 2021 at 09:43 am

If I see a Packer Sweep with AJ Dillon where he runs over a Linebacker for a TD on a Frozen Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship game... I may just cry.

7 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

December 03, 2021 at 01:17 pm

Great work. Thanks.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 04, 2021 at 10:15 am

Am I the only one to wonder if Myers, Bak, Alexander and Z will be back before the playoffs? When they were first reported injured I was happy to hear that it was not season ending injuries. And with each player injured since then my hope for their return has grown. Yet there is no real news on their progress. I suppose that makes sense because of medical rules. But it would sure be nice to have them back.

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Starrbrite's picture

December 04, 2021 at 10:59 pm

Yes—would be great to hear something about their progress.

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