The Packers have lost three regular season games in each of the last two seasons and the way the Cardinals are playing, they will likely need to lose only three this year to get the playoff bye. That means the team can’t lose another game. Let’s go over what needs to happen in the remaining five games for a Packers win.
I would actually give the Bears the best shot to upset the Packers. They will certainly be motivated by Aaron Rodgers’ proclamation of ownership from earlier this season and LaFleur teams have not played well after the bye week.
There’s a theory that the team doesn’t play well because LaFleur leans toward lighter practices to keep the team free of injuries and, after a bye, they need a week to play back into shape. Who knows if that’s true and the team has done well after playoff byes the last two years.
In the end, with the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, the Packers just have too much firepower on offense for the Bears to handle. Even if the defense looks a little off and they have two turnovers on special teams, I wouldn’t be surprised for an offense lead by Rodgers, Davante, and AJ Dillon to drop a 40 burger on the Bears this week.
The Ravens are an enigma this year. Their defense is still good despite the fact that they’ve lost even more impact players than the Packers. Their rush offense is still second to none, and their pass offense is still a mess, though they’ve hit more deep shots this year than ever before.
I don’t expect this game to be close. No one targets JAG 5th string cornerbacks better than Rodgers and, so far this season, the Packers defense has done a good job stopping the run when it needs to and stopping the deep pass at all times. Add in that players like Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, and David Bakhtiari could be back, and I see a blow out to start the Packers real end of season run.
Like the Packers (and like the Ravens and Bears to be honest) the Browns have suffered from an endless supply of injuries this season. Right now, the team has no true number one wide receiver and a host of starters playing injured or all the way out. Starting with Quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The key here will be slowing down the Browns edge rusher duo of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Garrett should be defensive player of the year and Clowney can be the most disruptive run defender in the league when he’s on. The Packers have done well, even with injuries, slowing down the edge rushers of teams like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. I expect them to keep it up in this game.
In the end this game may come down to run defense. The way Joe Barry has stopped the run so far is with alignment. The down lineman lineup in a bear front to clog the inside and the edges line up super wide to push runs back inside for De’Vondre Campbell to clean up. The Browns have one of the most diverse and well coached run games and can take advantage of teams playing base personnel with their multiple tight end sets.
If Jaire Alexander is back for this game, I want to see Rasul Douglas in the Henry Black role. He is bigger than Black and has shown better instincts. Let him defend the Browns stable of tight ends.
This game will be another blowout. The first matchup should’ve been, but a combination of dropped interceptions, blown coverages, and bad or missed calls turned it into a Vikings win.
As the penultimate game of the season, the Vikings (who just lost to the Lions) will be hearing all kinds of rumors about their coach being fired. The wide receivers will be ready to move onto the offseason and away from Kirk Cousins. And the defense won’t have any remaining pass rushers.
After impressive wins against the Browns and Ravens and a boring blowout of the Vikings, the Packers may sit their starters against the Lions. Even then they can probably pull off a win against the team. Zero of the Lion’s defensive starters would be a plus starter on any other team. Maybe two of their offensive starters would be. The Packers may be putting a preseason type of roster on the field for this game, but the Lions do that every week.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.
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