A closer look at third quarter of Packers’ season

This weekend was about as perfect as it gets to be a Green Bay Packers fan.

The Packers looked dominant against an injury-ravaged team on Thursday night, nearly every top NFC team lost, and Aaron Rodgers firmly put his name back near the top of the MVP conversation.

This is a welcome sight to see, because, quite frankly, last Monday sucked.

But we’re not going to talk about last Monday. Positive vibes only.

After a good butt-kicking in Santa Clara to round out the first half of the season, the Green Bay Packers are now 6-2 and have 10 days to get healthy for Jacksonville on Sunday.

I don’t think you can understate how important getting healthy is – especially this season.

Now that we’re halfway through the season – or two quarters, if you will – let’s take a look at the third quarter of this game we call the 2020-21 season.

vs. Jacksonville (1-7) Nov. 15

Although I see all four of these games as very win-able games, this game is one that everyone is already taking to the bank. Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew, although exciting at times, hasn’t proved his worth as a franchise guy yet. What’s worse for Minshew is he won’t get chances to prove it any time soon either.

Backup Jake Luton will look to lead the 1-7 Jaguars to their second win of the year in Lambeau Field. A tough ask for the guy. Green Bay will be much healthier for this game too. There’s a good chance that Christian Kirksey and Allen Lazard will be activated. Kevin King and David Bakhtiari also returned to practice, so I wouldn’t be surprised either way to see them play as well.

A 1-7 team with a backup quarterback at the helm against a 6-2 team with an MVP candidate leading them at home. I like Green Bay’s chances.

@ Indianapolis (5-3) Nov. 22

I think a major key in the Jacksonville game is sitting out the guys who are close to being 100 percent healthy, while also keeping healthy guys available. The last thing Green Bay needs before playing a physical Indianapolis team is more injuries.

The Colts have had a roller coaster season with some ups and downs. They’ve beaten all three of the other teams in the NFC North, but have head-scratching losses to Jacksonville and Cleveland. However, they are 3-1 at home, and Green Bay has struggled against teams who stick with the run game.

I’ve got this game as the game I’m most worried about in the third quarter of the Packers’ season.

vs. Chicago (5-4) Nov. 29

Ahh yes. Finally, the NFL’s oldest and most storied rivalry will play out the latest installment in the series. The Bears have a bye-week and then play Minnesota the week before playing Green Bay. Chicago had some puzzling wins in the first half of the season, but look about as efficient as a broken copier offensively in the past couple weeks.

To the Bears’ credit, like most seasons, Chicago’s defense isn’t one to joke around with. I really think this game will be a case of the unstoppable force against the immovable object – Packers’ offense vs. Bears’ defense.

Because of Chicago’s incompetence on offense, I really think this game comes down to the Packers’ defense. If they can force a few stops or a few turnovers that give the offense good field position, Green Bay should be heavily favored to win this game at home.

vs. Philadelphia (3-4-1) Dec. 6

The Eagles have been the most inconsistent team on this list. They’ve shown they can compete with good teams. But they also have ugly losses (and ties) with bad teams. Carson Wentz has been fantastically average, with 12 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions through eight games.

Philadelphia, not unlike many teams in the league, has been hit hard by injuries. That’s made guys like former Green Bay signee Travis Fulgham into stars. If the Packers can stay healthy up until this game, I like the squad’s chances to avenge last year’s loss at Lambeau this time around.

In the end I’m hoping for four wins and a healthy roster. That’s the dream. Hopefully our guys can make it a reality.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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