Week 10 of the NFL season is upon us, and the Green Bay Packers have already lost hope of making a run into the postseason. At 3-6, the Packers still have games against Philadelphia and Miami on the road, as well as home games against the Vikings, and next week, the Dallas Cowboys. Looking at the schedule it’s hard to see any games the Packers will win, so most fans have lost hope about making a run and winning most or all of them.
With the playoffs out of mind and the season being a considerable failure in terms of expectations for the team, what’s left to root for? Ultimately I believe that we should root for young Packers players to play well and look promising for the future. As a fan of the team myself, I want them to have prolonged success. Sometimes prolonged success means if the current season is lost, don’t break your back trying to win your remaining games.
For the remainder of the season the main hope is that you don’t see any more long term injuries such as the torn ACL that we saw from Rashan Gary a few days ago. If players can end the season healthy without the weight of a long recovery on their shoulders, things will look better for the start of next season. This hope comes with the caveat that if injured players aren’t feeling 100 percent, the goal is no longer to let them try to go to help the team win. This caveat brings us to the reality that many fans don’t want to accept for various reasons — reasons usually of the “rah rah” variety — the reality being the fact that losing games can really only help the team at this point.
Everyone can be a fan in their own way, maybe you live in Florida and you want your team to beat the Dolphins later this year so you can have bragging rights — and that’s awesome — but the wins will end up being only moral victories, with no bearing on this season’s aspirations. You can root for the Packers to beat Mike McCarthy in his return to Lambeau FIeld, and I will too, but not because I think they’ll then have a chance at postseason success this year.
I’ll say now that the Packers are not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention yet, but with the three wildcard spots looking to be secured by two NFC East teams and an NFC West team, the race looks insurmountable. The only thing wins and losses for the Packers affect from here on out are their 2023 draft position. Last time the Packers picked in the top half of the first round they took Rashan Gary, and it wouldn’t hurt to have another player of his caliber on this roster for next year and beyond.
We know that all hope isn’t technically lost, no matter what kind of hope you have. If you have hope for playoffs, great, but that window is closing so enjoy it or stress over it while you can. More realistically, hope isn’t lost for the future. The Packers can make smart decisions for the rest of this season that will put them in position to win in the coming years. Being at odds about what to hope for is where things can get muddy. Would a player like Odell Beckham Jr. help the Packers to look a little bit better this season if they were to sign him? Sure, but that would likely come with salary cap implications that hurt them down the line.
I am still of the opinion that the Packers should take the realistic approach of continuing to coach hard and try to play hard to retain the mindset of playing championship football. I just don’t think that mindset will help them with anything meaningful until at least next year.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.