Despite yesterday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Green Bay Packers still hold their destiny for a first round bye. Everything about that game was ugly form the coaching to the execution to even the commentating. David Diehl should find another post-retirement hobby. However, it is hardly a season killer for the Packers. After putting my geek on and working the playoff machines all night I think I have the scenarios down. Don’t trust ESPN’s playoff machine because it has many errors.
– Here’s what’s simple. If the Packers win their two remaining games they get a bye. Make it happen
– If you’re still interested in the one seed that is still possible. In addition to the Packers winning out, Seattle will have to beat Arizona next week, Arizona will have to lose to San Francisco in Week 17 and St. Louis will have to beat Seattle in Week 17. Arizona losing twice seems quite possible without Drew Stanton, but St. Louis winning in Seattle with home field on the line seems like quite the stretch.
– Now for the real craziness. The Packers should make the playoffs as a wildcard with a victory over Tampa Bay and a loss to Detroit. However, there is a scenario they can be out at 11-5. If Dallas loses to Indianapolis and beats Washington and Philadelphia wins out, the Eagles would win the division. The Cowboys would get in over the Packers based off common opponents. Confused yet? Unfortunately, this does not seem that far fetched.
– It seems like the two seed and the sixth seed are the most likely scenarios for the Packers right now with the third one being missing the playoffs.
The Packers have nobody to blame to be in this position but themselves. You can talk all about what a great job Buffalo did defensively — and they did a fine job — but the Packers absolutely blew it. Seven drops and nine penalties are self-inflicted wounds. Running the ball only 25 times compared to 42 passes when you averaged 6.3 yards per carry is another. Missing Jordy Nelson wide open down the sideline when you throw an interception is another. Missing what seemed like a gazillion tackles in the backfield and Tramon Williams not picking up a fumble that was seemingly right in his hands. I could go on all day.
I’m generally a big supporter of Mike McCarthy, but this game was not his finest hour. Not only did the team look unprepared, but he fell unto his worst habit of getting way too pass happy for no reason. Why does this continue to happen? Is it arrogance? Too much confidence in Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers checking out of running plays? All of the above? It’s hard to get the arrogance thing because why would McCarthy call plays just to fulfill his ego? I think he wants to do the best thing to win just like everyone else. We’ve seen him try to fit square pegs into round holes far too often.
I don’t necessarily buy into the fact that the Packers needed this game for a wake up call. Wasn’t the second half against Atlanta supposed to be a wake up call? The Packers needed to win this game for the scenarios I laid out above. The players can say what they want about it, but it’s just covering up what happened. I thought going in like a lot of people that this would be a close game, but watching it play out there was no way the Packers should have lost. Look at all the mistakes they made and they were still right in the game, and that is because they’re a better team than Buffalo.
However, I don’t necessarily buy the narrative that the Packers have to have home field advantage to reach the Super Bowl. Just look at 2010 when the Packers were 3-5 on the road and won the Super Bowl winning every game away from Lambeau Field. Then look at the next year when they were 15-1 and looked ready to easily roll at home and got clobbered. You just never know. Playing Seattle away is a different animal, but again you do not know if they will even be there or what will happen. Also, how many teams repeat in his day and age of the NFL?
No matter what happens this game against Buffalo will be looked at back. It will be looked back at as the loss the refocused the team or the one that knocked them out of the playoffs. If it’s the latter they can look at themselves right in the mirror. It was a true total team effort in the wrong fashion.