The Green and Gold with Three to Play

I didn’t foresee entering any more notes about the Green Bay Packers here this season.  The team had been surprisingly disappointing in all three phases of the game; it seemed best for the squad in the long run to be eliminated from playoff contention as soon as possible so the coaching staff could play former first-round draft pick Quarterback Jordan Love and we could finally confirm that, despite apparently being a nice guy, Mr. Love is not THE FUTURE.

The Packers beat the reigning Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams in Lambeau Field last night.  It was a remarkably less-notable achievement than it sounds, given a Rams’ 2022 season even more horrendous than Green Bay’s, the fact that Los Angeles was missing key players, it was a cold night for a west coast team, and its quarterback, Baker Mayfield, while possessing a decent-if-mixed pedigree, had only been with the team about ten days.

And yet … it was Green Bay’s second victory since the math determined that the team is eliminated from the playoffs upon its next defeat.

Those with long memories will recall that in 2010, Green Bay, despite having Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Cornerback Charles Woodson, and Linebacker Clay Mathews, was having a dawdling season with dwindling playoff prospects until, at mid-season, it discovered that undrafted free agent Sam Shields had premier cover corner skills.  The discovery enabled the staff to move Mr. Woodson from the outside to slot corner, where he could wreak havoc on opposing offenses in multiple ways, and the team – which, starting with two regular season games to go, was going to be eliminated from championship contention upon its next loss — snuck into the playoffs as the lowest seed.  Green Bay became the proverbial Team Nobody Wants to Play, and the team rode its defense to the Lombardi Trophy.

I don’t have the same high hopes for the current Packer squad.  Although the emergence of speedy Rookie Wide Receiver Christian Watson has enlivened the team’s offense, and Keisean Nixon has sparked its special team return game, I believe that defense wins championships, and I simply don’t think that the team’s defense is good enough.  Even so, having watched the last two Green Bay victories dispassionately, each time anticipating a loss that would effectively end the team’s season, the Packers’ contest against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday (Christmas Day; the NFL should NEVER schedule games on Christmas Day, even when it falls on Sunday) will be instructive.  Miami is over .500 in a tough AFC division. It has its own battle to get in the playoffs.  It just went head-to-head in a narrow loss to the fearsome Buffalo Bills.  Pundits are almost unanimously picking Miami to beat the Packers.  If Green Bay nonetheless prevails, its prospects with two games to play – grudge matches at home against their NFC North rivals, the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions – become more intriguing.

And if the team loses … football entries in these pages are likely to go into hibernation until the late summer.  There is plenty else to talk about 😉 .

One thought on “The Green and Gold with Three to Play

  1. I’m similarly not expecting them to make the playoffs. It did strike me last night that the bright spots of late are all coming from rookies (with the notable exception of Nixon and the return game). Watson certainly. But now Tom, Walker, Engabare, and Daubs all seem to be emerging. While not expecting a run this year, it does add some more interest for next year.

    Nixon’s returns are an interesting view into the vagaries of the NFL. The Packers are unquestionably in a better spot without Amari Rogers and his penchant for coughing up the ball. Rogers didn’t impress with returns even when he caught it. Yet, he’s had his best games with his new team, catching more passes in 3 games with the Texans than he had in 10 with the Packers. Nixon has been a revelation and offers a sense of hope every time he’s back there.


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