In six days, the Green Bay Packers will be kicking off their 2nd straight game played on Christmas Day. Last year they came away with a 24-22 victory vs Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. This year the Packers play the Dolphins on Christmas Day, but before that, 51 weeks after that 2021 Christmas Day game, they face Baker Mayfield again. This time, he’s playing for the Los Angeles Rams.
Baker Mayfield started this season with the Carolina Panthers but was released on waivers and claimed by the Rams. Mayfield then made his Rams debut 2 days later on Thursday night against the Raiders and pulled off a stunner, throwing two touchdowns in the final three minutes to win the game 17-16. It was an absolutely mind-boggling performance considering Mayfield again, had only been on the team for 2 days.
After this performance of course, the NFL is buzzing to see if Baker Mayfield can now revive his career in Los Angeles. The Packers need to shut that down tonight in Green Bay. They need to make sure if it does happen, it doesn’t come at their expense. To make that happen, they need a repeat of their performance vs Mayfield last year.
In 2021 Santa brought 4 INT’s
When the Packers faced the Browns on Christmas Day in 2021, they were gifted with four interceptions that essentially won them the game. Those interceptions weren’t brought in Santa’s sleigh though. They came from the right arm of Baker Mayfield.
At the receiving end of those gifts were Darnell Savage, Chandon Sullivan, and Rasul Douglas twice. Apparently Rasul Douglas had been pretty good last year to get two gifts. He was also sacked five times. So, you could say Mayfield was in a very giving mood.
Different teams different year
At that point in the season, the Packers were cruising on all cylinders at a record of 11-3. The Browns were trying to make a playoff push at 7-7. This year, the Packers are sitting at 5-8 hoping to keep any postseason hopes alive, and the Rams are having an awful post-super bowl win hangover sitting at 4-9.
One would think the Rams have nothing to play for and this could be the Packers game to lose. Not so fast. With Baker Mayfield trying to prove himself worthy of a starting position, he has nothing to lose. With Matthew Stafford tied to the Rams until 2026 on an expensive contract, it’s hard to think the Rams could become Mayfield’s team. But after this season, Mayfield will be a free agent, and if he closes out the season with some great performances, he could be in for a big payday with a new team in 2023.
So, the Rams may have nothing to play for, but Baker Mayfield sure does.
Packers Defense Better Be Ready
Now that’s a sentence that’s certainly hard to say this season. The Packer’s defense has been far from a lock to have a great performance regardless of the team they are facing.
Oddly enough however, the Packer’s Defense ranks fourth in the league in passing yards allowed, and 13th in passing touchdowns allowed. So, they might have a shot at stopping Baker Mayfield from having a big day.
Rasul Douglas hasn’t quite been as flashy this season as he was last, but he’s definitely still having a decent season. So, he could be poised for a repeat. If there’s any X-Factor this season, going up against Baker Mayfield between last season and this season, I think it’s Jaire Alexander. Alexander was hurt with an ACL injury last season when they met with Mayfield on Christmas Day, and this year he is 100% healthy.
Jaire seems to be heating up at this point in the season. He’s definitely continuing his role as an energy player. He’s becoming that in-your-face player that the Packers desperately need at this point.
The Packers active players are the healthiest they’ve ever been this season coming off the Bye week. They’re well rested after celebrating a big win vs the Bears and then getting a week off. Hopefully they’re ready to show up in the cold on Monday Night Football. Go Pack Go.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.