They are still alive, and they control their own destiny. Let’s crank that excitement meter up to 11, shall we? The Green Bay Packers Week 17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings was just simply glorious. It seems lately that whenever this team makes me nervous heading into a game, somehow, they pull it off without question.
The tables were turned after Week 1, and a 41-17 New Year’s drubbing of the Vikings was simply priceless. There was a lot of chirping done before this game, even actions taken right before the kickoff that showed this game was personal. I’m looking at you Za’Darius Smith with your handshake snubs, a little bush league, isn’t it? But I guess that’s what happens when you put on Vikings purple. Luckily the Green and Gold held up their end of the talk and we have a chance to play our way into the playoffs next week.
After maybe a short spurt of questionable play early in the game, suddenly the Packers turned on the jets, ran away with the game, and never looked back. Let’s look at the good and the bad with this week’s edition, of Toasts and Roasts.
The Packers Secondary
I can’t just choose one here and calling out each in an individual Toast would probably make this article way too long, so it has to be the entire Packers secondary. Jaire Alexander definitely set the tone with his words early in the week calling Vikings receiver, Justin Jefferson‘s week 1 game a “fluke.” He backed it up by holding Jefferson to just one catch for 15 yards. The rest of the secondary didn’t do too bad either. With Adrian Amos, Rudy Ford, and Darnell Savage each intercepting Kirk Cousins, with Savage’s being returned for a TD, it was the secondary that without a doubt, guided this team to victory. It’s crazy to think what was considered a weakness early in the season, is now a major strength.
I’m toasting the Packers secondary this week with a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). This bourbon barrel aged stout is the standard for beers of its kind. You haven’t had a bourbon barrel stout till you’ve had this one. With its flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate, toffee, molasses, almond, and dried fruit, it’s hands-down one of the best out there. Not to mention it boasts a 14.3% ABV. WOOF!
I chose BCBS for the Packers secondary because whenever I find this beer in the store, it’s like a big victory. I know that I’m going to get an outstanding beer and I’m going home to happily enjoy it once I crack it open. When your secondary is playing like the Packers secondary did Sunday, all you can do is sit back and happily enjoy it. Of course, you then add the kick in the pants of the ABV content and it’s like that Darnell Savage kick return, almost like a dagger before things truly get started!
T.J. Slaton finally gets his fair share of Defensive snaps after Dean Lowry goes on IR and he definitely makes the best of it. After a blocked punt lands the Vikings on the Packers 1-yard line (We’ll get to that later) the defense held the Vikings offense to a Field Goal. The best play was by far Slaton blowing up the Vikings Offensive line on 3rd down, getting a hand on Dalvin Cook and tackling him in the backfield to force the Vikings to kick a Field Goal. He wasn’t done there with making a splash as late in the 2nd Quarter, with the Vikings nearing the Red-Zone, Slaton tipped a Kirk Cousins pass which was then intercepted by Adrian Amos.
I’m toasting T.J. Slaton with Kringle Monster by Mobcraft Brewery. I just tried this beer last week and it’s a delicious pastry stout made with 800 lbs. of raspberries and 360 lbs. of Uncle Mike’s raspberry Kringle. It definitely holds up on the Kringle taste. This new beer was a pleasant surprise for me that I hope to enjoy more in the future.
I’m handing a Kringle Monster to T.J. Slaton because even though we’d seen flashes of promise from Slaton, not anything definitive yet. But this was like a coming out party for him. So, this new sweet pastry stout next to his new sweet breakout game, just seemed fitting to me.
Guess who’s back, back again, Nixon’s back in the Toasts column, tell a friend. Can I use an Eminem song with Snoop Dogg’s nephew? Yeah, I think it’s fine. Especially when Nixon finally has his first Kickoff return for a touchdown. This was the first kickoff return for a touchdown for the Packers since Randall Cobb’s 108-yard TD return in 2011! I feel like that’s wrong, but everyone tells me it’s true, so I guess I’ll go with it. Nonetheless, this 105-yard kick return TD was simply priceless after the Packers had just held the Vikings to a Field Goal when the Vikings started on the Packers 1-yard line after a blocked punt. Special Teams giveth, Special Teams taketh away!
For Keisean Nixon I’m toasting Holiday Party by Company Brewing. This is a Belgian Quad beer aged in rum barrels with raisin, toffee, and vanilla. The 12% ABV emphasizes flavors of banana, nutmeg, and molasses. This beer was a fun surprise for me this holiday season, was exactly the type of Holiday beer I was looking for during a long search, simply delicious.
Keisean Nixon gets Holiday Party because, well, look at the title. This kick return on New Year’s Day was without a doubt, a holiday party. I like to emphasize ABV’s with game-changing performances and well, this touchdown saw the Packers take the lead and never turn back as they then scored 41 unanswered points. That kick return was a good kick in the jaw of the Vikings, and they never recovered.
The blocked punt
This is going to be the lone roast in this great game for the Packers. After a terrible three-and-out for the Packers offense, the Vikings blew up the Packers interior on the punt and blocked it. Dallin Leavitt luckily picked up the blocked punt, landing the ball at the Packers 1-yard line and prevented the Vikings from waltzing into the end-zone. Of course, as previously mentioned, the Vikings were luckily held to a Field Goal. But this blocked punt hits the roasts column as it could’ve set a poor tone to start the game, if the Packers didn’t have temporary amnesia and decide it basically didn’t matter.
This roast is receiving a glass of Analog Escape from Component Brewing. This is an apricot saison beer with hints of clove and pepper. It’s not terrible, but it’s just kind of, meh. It’s a bit of a miss, but it’s not so terrible that you hate it.
The blocked punt is receiving Analog Escape because all in all, it was just, meh. It was a bad play, but it really could’ve been way worse, and it ended up just not mattering. Hopefully, we won’t have any more Analog Escape’s in the future.
In the end
The Holiday season certainly brought some outstanding games for our Packers. Now it’s time to keep going. We need to defeat the Lions in Lambeau next week to make the playoffs. I can’t believe I’m saying that with all the woes we had this season, but hey, we’re still in it, and that’s pretty exciting.
I believe this team could be dangerous in the postseason with the run they’re on right now. They seem to be clicking on all cylinders. So, let’s hope our Packers get a win next week and we can ride that hot streak into the playoffs. 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.