Hello Wisconsin: So You're Saying There's a Chance

Suddenly, the playoffs aren't that crazy of a goal.

A year ago at this time, the Green Bay Packers were 4-8 and looking completely dead in the water. There was little reason for any kind of optimism. 

The team would soon go on a four-game winning streak, with literally everything going their way in the standings, only to blow the possibility of a playoff berth in a win-and-in game at home against the Lions in prime time.

Now, the 2023 Packers are 5-6; definitely in a better spot than they were in a season ago despite playing with a roster many would have said before the season was worse than the 2022 edition. After an absolutely brutal October stretch where they looked like one of the worst teams in football, the Packers have won three of four and are improving weekly. 

They’re currently a half-game out of the playoff race, something that would have been unfathomable a month ago. And with a favorable remaining schedule combined with some really tough schedules for their chief competition in Minnesota and Seattle, this year the Packers enter December football with much better playoff odds than they did a season ago, even with a tough matchup coming up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Winning five of their remaining six games is not out of the question, given the schedule (games against Kansas City, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota, Chicago).

So how did we get here?

I mean, the simplest answer is players started playing better. After a pretty dark month, Jordan Love has steadily improved, to the point where he played what one may consider his first truly excellent game as a starter (after having had several consecutive good ones) in a situation in Detroit where many expected the team to flounder. 

The Packers’ young receivers, who had been having difficulties with grasps and wrong routes, have been putting it together and making more plays for their young quarterback. It was particularly excellent to have Christian Watson return to his late 2022 form on Thanksgiving, making contested catches and showcasing the talent he has always had but has not really managed to convert into strong play this season.

Even the defense has stepped it up in recent weeks. Carrington Valentine has been playing out of his skull since assuming starting duties in the absences of Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander and in the wake of the Rasul Douglas trade. The pass rush has been getting home more often. Kenny Clark in particular has come alive in recent weeks, and Karl Brooks has been contributing more than anyone would have reasonably expected out of a rookie.

After a really rough first couple months, the offense now sits at 16th in DVOA and the defense at 18th. While these rankings might not look like anything special, the level of improvement it took to get them to this point should not go unnoticed.

It feels like game planning has improved as well. Matt LaFleur called an absolutely brilliant game against Detroit (and even Joe Barry managed to look like a competent coordinator). I was beginning to develop some real concerns about LaFleur earlier in the season, as the team kept coming to games looking completely lifeless and unprepared. While I still harbor extreme concerns about Barry, I have certainly been reassured that LaFleur still has a very good handle on this team, despite some pointed flaws he has as a coach.

All this is certainly not to say we’ve fully emerged from the darkness and it’s going to be all sunshine and roses moving forward. But it does feel like this team reached a turning point. Perhaps it was against the Rams. Perhaps it was even in the loss against the Steelers, where it really felt like the offense was putting it together. 

But one thing is for sure: the Packers team that came out and took it to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day was a completely different team than we’ve seen for most of the season. And I would expect we’re going to see a team that’s much closer to that one than what we saw in the first Lions game for the rest of this season.

If the Packers can finish this season with nine or 10 wins, a playoff berth, and clear improvement from Love (which we’re already seeing), it’d be hard to call this season anything but a success, given the expectations in the offseason. 

I never thought I’d be saying this five or so weeks ago, but there’s a pretty good chance they are able to accomplish exactly that.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

It’s been a bit since I last featured a beer from Humble Forager!

These folks do really excellent work, especially with their pastry stouts and sours, but they’ve got some fantastic IPAs as well. The particular beer I’m sharing today is basically dessert in a glass–excellent stuff if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat.

The brewery does its Coastal Sunrise series, which is a variety of pastry sours featuring different ingredients depending on the season in/for which it was brewed. This particular edition features apricot, orange, cinnamon, cranberry, vanilla beans, plum, and brown sugar. The result is a delicious, flavorful concoction that provides a seasonal flavor without being too over-the-top sugary sweet. Yes, it’s sweet, but it doesn’t make you feel like you have to go to the dentist like some other types of pastry sours and stouts I’ve had before.

These types of beers always grade out extremely well on Untappd, the beer tracking app I swear by. While the purists will likely scoff at the collection of flavors and the density and opacity of the beverage itself, it is a tremendous example of how this style, which has grown very popular among today’s beer drinkers, can actually be done quite well without feeling like a cheap smoothie.

Humble Forager does great work, and you can find their beers at Woodman’s Liquor Store (and many other liquor stores) around the state.

Watching that Jordan Love tape from the 2021 Chiefs game…

…and man, what a completely different player.

I said this on Twitter, but it probably won’t be long before we’re looking at the tape from that game in much the same way we look at Aaron Rodgers game tape from the 2005 and 2006 seasons. 

If you go back and watch those early Rodgers appearances, you see a quarterback that does not at all resemble the quarterback he turned into. There was the completely different throwing motion and technique, the general skittishness in the pocket, the relative lack of velocity on his passes compared to later in his career (and after he adjusted his technique), the accuracy issues (lots of balls in the dirt)... it’s hard to believe it’s the same player who became one of the greatest throwers of the football to ever walk the planet.

While I certainly am not saying Love will ever ascend to Rodgers’ height in the football stratosphere, there’s already a pretty striking difference between the player in that 2021 Chiefs film and the player we just watched carve up the would-be NFC North champions. 

In that game, Love was under an absurd amount of pressure, and the coaches never made any adjustments to give Love a fighting chance. And, as you’d expect from a second-year player with minimal experience whose rookie year was basically a redshirt due to COVID, Love did not handle the pressure well. Lots of errant and off target throws, lots of floaters, lack of technique in his throws (he throws off his back foot quite a bit), all kinds of bad stuff.  

The Love we have seen on the field this year has been much more decisive, has much more juice behind his throws, and seems to be nearly unflappable on the field. 

This makes the parallels between the Rodgers 2007 appearance against the Cowboys and the Love 2022 appearance against the Eagles even stronger, really. Just as no one saw Rodgers coming out and giving the Packers a better chance to win than game than Brett Favre did, no one expected Love to come out in fairly significant action and run down the field against the eventual NFC Champions. 

This is also a very different Chiefs team. It’s a much stronger defense, but also a much weaker offense. Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes can still give defenses nightmares, but the wide receivers are weak and unreliable, and the team has had troubles scoring in the second half; this past week was the first time they scored points in the second half in like a month.

The Chiefs are deservedly favored to win the game, but it’s not all that outlandish to suggest that the Packers could notch a second major upset victory in a row.

Around the NFC North

As always, it’s time to go around the NFC North. 

  • The CHICAGO BEARS gave the Packers the best possible result on Monday NIght Football; they took down the Vikings, and looked absolutely terrible in doing so. The 12-10 snoozefest gave Bears fans  a look at the JUSTIN FIELDS GAME-WINNING DRIVE they’ve been praying for, which is hopefully enough for them to overlook the fact that he was a bum for the entire game. Meanwhile, the team worsened its draft position and ever so slightly increased the chances that both Fields and head coach Matt Eberflus will be back next season. Just masterful, really.

 

  • The DETROIT LIONS finally had what they wanted: a matchup on Thanksgiving day where they were the favorites over the Green Bay Packers and could display to the full country the glory of their NFC North dominance. Unfortunately, Lions gonna Lions, and they simply cannot have nice things for too long. While this is still a good football team, the Packers surprisingly underscored some significant weaknesses that they have, and it’s difficult at the moment to see the Lions being able to surpass the other top-level NFC competition. 

 

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS go into the bye week at .500 and with a very tenuous hold on a playoff spot in the NFC. They’re going to need to get better play out of their offense to have any chance of making it to the postseason. Kevin O’Connell said the team will be evaluating the quarterback position over the bye, but what really is there to evaluate? There’s not a guy on this team that’s going to be significantly better at keeping the team afloat than the others at his position, so they’re kind of stuck with the level of quarterback play they’ve got. 

 

Checking in on the Bucks

I’m writing this on Wednesday 11/29, a day after a thrilling Milwaukee Bucks victory over the Miami Heat on the road to advance to the quarterfinals of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

Boy, we’re really starting to get glimpses of what this Bucks team can be.

Over the last 10 games, Giannis and Dame are absolutely COOKING. Huge stats across the board. It’s our first look at the power this team has when its stars are firing on all cylinders, and with Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez also on point last night, it was a great night of basketball.

There were Bucks fans who were ready to bury this team in early to mid-November after a stretch of some rough games. Even as recently as Sunday afternoon when the Bucks went down big there were people who were calling the Adrian Griffin hiring a mistake, and saying the Bucks’ defense was incurable.

But right now, Milwaukee has the second-best record in the league, despite having a new coach, a new offensive system, new players, several injuries, and generally not playing their best ball.

This team is only going to get more cohesive as the year goes on; the sky's the limit. It’s important to remember just how long the season is.

At this point, I’m having a hard time picking any team in the league to beat the Bucks in a seven-game series, and that’s as the team currently stands (yes, I believe the Bucks take care of Boston in six). This team still has so much growing to do, and is already one of the league’s very best.

This could be a special season.

Special teams still a disaster

I mentioned earlier that offense and defense had significantly improved their DVOA rankings (16th and 18th, respectively). Special teams, though, is sitting at a dismal 30th.

At this point, you have to wonder what it’s going to take to make some real improvements. The Packers spent big to bring in Rich Bisaccia, one of the most respected special teams coaches in the league. If he’s not finding success, then what is the issue?

Is it the personnel on the field? If so, what is it that the Packers are lacking?

Is it the way special teams is prioritized on the practice field? If so, then why has this continued to be an issue across two different and completely unconnected head coaches and multiple different special teams coaches?

Is it simply bad luck? Some sort of black magic preventing the Packers from ever having competent special teams units?

At this point, you take for granted that the Packers are going to be atrocious on special teams, and always welcome the surprise tackle short of the 30 yard line on kickoffs, or an extra point that goes off without a hitch.

It’s just mind blowing that this still continues to be the weakest part of the team. What’s it going to take to get better?

THIS or THAT in Mr. Backes’s room: Week 13 Update

As I’ve done the last several weeks, I’m going to give a quick update as to the latest THIS or THAT polls in my classroom.

Without further ado (fewer polls this week due to holiday):

  • Rain defeated snow
  • Fake tree defeated real tree
  • Turkey sandwiches obliterated turkey soup (most kids had never heard of turkey soup?!)

If you have additional THIS or THAT prompts you’d like to poll my high schoolers with, give your ideas in the comments! I’ve pulled a few from the comments so far.

Predictions for Packers vs. Chiefs and Week 13

I had a hard time believing the Packers wouldn’t get blown out last week, but then they proved me wrong in Detroit.

This week, I don’t think the Packers will get blown out. But I’m also still not able to talk myself into them beating the Chiefs. 

I do think the Packers will keep the game competitive and show plenty of things to like. I also do actually like them to make the playoffs. But they don’t need a win in this game to get there, and I think expecting them to win a game against an opponent of this caliber at this stage in their development is a bit unrealistic.

Give me Chiefs 27, Packers 20 in a game that still provides plenty to like, but ultimately comes down to the Packers being in just a bit over their heads.

 

LAST WEEK: 11-5

SEASON TO DATE: 114-65

 

THIS WEEK’S PICKS:

 

Cowboys over Seahawks

Titans over Colts

Falcons over Jets

Lions over Saints

Texans over Broncos

Chargers over Patriots

Steelers over Cardinals

Dolphins over Commanders

Bucs over Panthers

49ers over Eagles

Browns over Rams

Chiefs over Packers

Jaguars over Bengals

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

5 points
 

Comments (49)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
HawkPacker's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:16 am

"And I would expect we’re going to see a team that’s much closer to that one than what we saw in the first Lions game for the rest of this season."

Tim, I would agree with that statement.

I do believe we will see some regression and hopefully more improvement as well. The Lion's games showed us great improvement and gave us an idea just how good these packers can be.

I also do not expect to see us win on Sunday but hope we do look good. (this is pretty much the same take I had against the Lions on Thanksgiving and look how that turned out) In reality, I do feel much better about where the packers are right now than just before the Lions game. Hopefully it doesn't all come down in the game Sunday. We should get some injured players back but not sure how much difference that makes based on how well the healthy players played against the Lions which was pretty unbelievable.

6 points
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Cheezehead72's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:46 am

If the defense is playing well and Berry has a good game plan I expect the Packers to have a good chance because it will be a low scoring game. This is one of those games that it will come down to coaching. So I expect the Chiefs to win a close one because their coaches are better than the Packers' staff.

4 points
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NickPerry's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:04 am

"While I still harbor extreme concerns about Barry, I have certainly been reassured that LaFleur still has a very good handle on this team, despite some pointed flaws he has as a coach."

And THIS is my concern regarding this team and MLF. YES, Matt LaFleur has done a better job the last few weeks and had them playing better. His gameplans seemed much better as well. BUT, he still has several flaws and do we REALLY want a HC with flaws? Perfect is hard to get and maybe LaFleur IS the guy who can lead them to the promised land. But for me personally, I have a LOT of doubt about that. HEY, if they come out and punch the Chiefs in the mouth just like they did to Detroit, then perhaps MLF is starting to GROW with this team and his position as a NFL Head Coach. Better late than never?? I guess we'll find out over this season and next.

Jordan Love...I LOVE what Love has been doing these last 4 weeks. Even those who aren't on-board "The Love Train", HAVE to admit he's been better. MUCH better. I don't care if he develops into one of the "Best Throwers of a Football" like I've heard over and over about AR. I'd more than be happy with a guy who's a great leader, gives you a chance in ANY game, and ALL his teammates would run through a wall for. Yes, Rodgers was/is great. But he also has as many SB wins as Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, or Joe Flacco to name a few...Just saying. There's more to playing QB than throwing though that is pretty friggen important...LOL

I just want to see Love play like he did against Detroit this weekend against the Chiefs and every other team moving forward. Love always talks about consistency, being more consistent as a team and a QB. As long as Love and the rest of these guys are doing that, I think GREAT things are ahead for Love and the Packers.

-2 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:08 am

I keep on seeing people talking about how bad Love was against KC in his first start. That he was a deer in the headlights.

Love's first two drives were shaky as can be, but after that, he continued to settled in and improve with each drive despite constant, harrowing pressure the entire game. He was learning on the job, taking hard lessons. He wasn't efficient- completions were rare as the Chiefs threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Love pressure wise and the OL did not provide protection - but an awful lot of those incompletions were a result of no time in the pocket, no targets open (I challenge Packers fans to point me to a game where a Packers QB faced more pressure in the pocket). What many saw as "off target throws" were not "off target throws." Many were safe, legal throw-aways that actually demonstrated that Love had a firm understanding of the eligible recievers on any given play, where safe throwing lanes existed, and where he could put the ball legally without unnecessarily risking a sack or an INT. Yes, that was often putting the ball at the ankles of a target or even in the dirt 2 yards from an H-Back, TE, or RB that was basically a blocker but eligible. He generally surveyed the field with the often limited time he had in the pocket before being swallowed up by defenders, and then he either got off the spot or safely got the ball out (even if into the dirt.)

It wasn't a good performance from a production standpoint, but there many positive aspects of that performance for a young QB's first ever start on short notice (4 days before a road game- that's literally one or maybe two practices to prepare), in one of the toughest/loudest stadiums to play in, with a gameplan tailored for Rodgers that was never altered.. Love showed poise, pocket awareness and situational awareness, a deep understanding of the play book, some mobility when the pocket collapsed around him, too. He didn't wither under the immense pressure, he actually continued to improve as the game worn on. It was a game that portrayed a player that wasn't ready for the day but had a great deal of promise and tools to work with going forward.

This is going to sound like revisionist history, but that was my take on the day as it happened, and I shared as much here at the time.

3 points
7
4
murf7777's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:36 am

Great write up Oppy. Many QB’s in that situation would have played horrible. I was at that game, it was a very windy day in addition to the loud crowd. He basically matched Mahommes numbers and he didn’t have to deal with the crowd. He showed poise that I thought was impressive at the time. I like the draft pick and I still like Love.

Side note: That week on Wednesday after we found out Rodgers wasn’t playing we ordered 4 Love jerseys and had them sent to our rental in Kansas City. People continuously came up to talk to us about them.. We made signs on game day that said “all you need is Love” and “Love is all you need”. Great fun and their fans were really cordial.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:40 am

Great memories, Murf.
I have heard KC fans are as nice as they come, sounds like GB fans!

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2023 at 10:26 am

Especially when they don the comical war bonnets and chant along with the "tomahawk chop."

0 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:48 pm

If you're insinuating racism, Green Bay and WI in general has plenty of that to go around, too.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:13 pm

I won't argue, it is endemic.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2023 at 10:45 am

That was an infamous moment for LaFleur. Despite it being a Covid year, he’d failed to draw up, let alone practice, a game plan for Love having to start, let alone one versus the Chiefs.

If that wasn’t baffling enough, there was no true practice with Love and the starters that week. Love was told to go out and play the Rodgers game plan and LaFkeur called it as if he was Rodgers. All this LaFleur admitted.

I can’t think of a worst way yo manage a first time start by any QB. Not even a basic set of practiced Love plays and a system that relied heavily on Rodgers’ veteran reads and calls and timing with skill players.

The Chiefs saw that and just let him have it, blitzing often and from all over. LaFleur had no plan for that either, though it was not unexpected. The outcome of that game was never likely to be good, but the way LaFleur handled it was kerosene on that fire. That is how to ruin a QB 101. Unforgivable.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:17 pm

I recall Belichick revising his game plan during halftime of the AFCCH game and dispatching the Jaguars. Hackett happened to be the OC, both games.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:35 am

I would be thrilled to see the Packers perform at the same level they did on Turkey Day, but that's probably not realistic- that performance was a firing-on-all-cylinders preview of what the future could hold, and I don't think a team this young can be expected to repeat that back to back quite yet.

However, I would like to see them play at a level greater than they performed vs. the Chargers.

The #1 thing I will have no tolerance for regression in, is the needless pre-snap penalties- the mental mistakes, the discipline mistakes. IMO, that was the single biggest factor in Thanksgiving day performance improvement- the Packers weren't lining up in the neutral zone or in illegal formations, they weren't jumping offsides, there wasn't the false starts. They weren't moving backwards making critical 3rd&shorts into 3rd&13. They weren't throwing away defensive stands on 3rd or 4th down before the ball was even snapped. They stayed out of their own way.

I definitely want to see the Packers play a clean game on Sunday. Penalties have been a quiet killer all year long.

7 points
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T7Steve's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:42 am

The biggest thing that happened on "Turkey Day" was the D getting turnovers. While the O didn't help them out and score off those, it at a minimum kept 6 points off the board and realistically probably 10.

Don't give up the ball and take the ball away, is a pretty good game plan.

2 points
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Guam's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:11 am

Excellent summary of the team's prospects going forward Oppy! This team is too young to achieve full consistency yet and I expect to see some ups and downs over the next six games. The hope is the general trend line stays headed up and they gain some solid growth and experience headed into 2024.

I think the playoffs are a long shot despite the schedule as they will have to go 5-1 or at least 4-2 to have a chance. The Chiefs are a highly likely loss. That's a lot to expect from the youngest team in the league. Keeping my expectations tempered and looking forward to more growth than lots more wins.

7 points
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Razer's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:11 am

...This team is too young to achieve full consistency yet and I expect to see some ups and downs over the next six games. The hope is the general trend line stays headed up...

So true. I am enjoying this journey more than I expected. I have adjusted my expectations and am more patient with the players. It is hard however, waiting for the results we have grown to expect. Just play hard and keep improving is all I ask.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:47 am

Guam, I expect the team to be up and down for another full season before they start to hit their stride with consistency.

Young, well managed, and talented teams tend to build up for 2-3 seasons, hit their full stride (super bowl window) for the next 2-3 seasons. That superbowl window is all about trying to hold the key pieces (both players and coaches) in place while the whole league is attempting to poach personnel, and production raises everyone's value to a point where you can't keep them all.

All of this hinges on personnel management / development, health, and a dose of good luck... but I'm hopeful. I expect up and down through 2024.

3 points
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Packerpasty's picture

November 30, 2023 at 11:58 am

now its "another full season"....I doubt many will patient for that long...and they shouldn't have to be.

-3 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:55 pm

Edited to remove unnecessarily crude statements.

Instead, my new comment will rise above such low brow commentary, and instead strike at the heart of the matter- get down to why I reacted the way I did.

If you think a team this young just instantly becomes a consistent winner over the course of a single season, I have to question if you just started paying attention to football.

0 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:11 pm

Sadly Oppy, they also tend to have their quarterbacks on the rookie deals. We have some obstacles in that Love is about to get paid. I trust them to get the cap back under control, but it's going to be a heavy lift.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:21 pm

Following the Denny Green criteria, by mid-season rookies should be acting like professionals. Second year players are veterans. No excuses.

0 points
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T7Steve's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:35 am

"While I certainly am not saying Love will ever ascend to Rodgers’ height in the football stratosphere, there’s already a pretty striking difference between the player in that 2021 Chiefs film and the player we just watched carve up the would-be NFC North champions."

Tim, as Oppy says above, by the 4th quarter of that game, when the Chiefs were playing back a little to protect their slim lead, Love did start to cut them up and mounted a good-looking scoring drive. He came up just short on the last drive or they might have pulled it off.

Weren't there other receivers and players out of that game also? Even #17, I think (but not sure)?

1 points
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MainePackFan's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:25 am

"Weren't there other receivers and players out of that game also? Even #17, I think (but not sure)?"

DA played. caught 6 passes for 42 yards.

2 points
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10ve 💚's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:05 am

Adams did play in '21 vs Chiefs: 6 catches for 42 yards off 14 targets

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2023 at 02:12 pm

Cobb and Lazard played too. Cobb had the most yards on only 5 targets, Lazard the only TD on his only target Adams’s 14 targets out of 32 total pretty much encapsulates the game plan for the passing game.

Adams was not at his best and only caught 6 of the 14 at a 7 yard average. Dillon had more passing yards on the day.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:49 am

Adams was healthy and played. However, re-watching that game, I hate to say it but he didn't put forth the kind of effort we've come to expect from him.

I think he was half mentally checked out without Rodgers at the helm to an extent.

4 points
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MainePackFan's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:28 pm

"I think he was half mentally checked out without Rodgers at the helm to an extent."

Oppy....C'mon man, you think DA checked out cause his buddy wasn't playing? Love ya Dude, but you don't seriously believe that do you?

0 points
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Oppy's picture

November 30, 2023 at 06:46 pm

I mean.. watch the game. Don't know what to tell you.

0 points
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MainePackFan's picture

November 30, 2023 at 07:05 pm

I watched the game. I will admit, I've never re-watched the game. If you have, Kudos to you, and maybe I should watch it again, but I don't remember thinking damn, Adams doesn't seem to be giving it his all.

I mean, don't know what to tell you, but your take seems like a reach : )

I did give you a thumbs up for standing up for Lafleur in response to Since"61' s post. Even though I generally agree with Since'61, I thought you were spot on.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:02 am

You can think my take -seems- like a reach, or you could go re-watch the game and see for yourself. It's subjective either way... just know I'm not just making a wild assertion to attempt to make a point or I'm basing it off of a cloudy memory from two years ago.

I will say this, Adams' performance in that game was nowhere near the absolute disappointment that Jordy Nelson put on the field for multiple weeks when Rodgers went down and Hundley was under center. I would have benched Nelson's ass ASAP back then. Interestingly, Davante Adams balled out and worked hard for Hundley at that time.

1 points
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mrtundra's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:07 am

I think the Packers have a good shot at beating the Chiefs, on Sunday. KC has not been clicking on all cylinders, lately, so I see reason to hope the Packers can continue to improve and come away with the victory. We must pressure Mahomes, a lot and cover Kelce, well. Our OL has to come together to protect Love from Spagnuolo's defense. We can do this! GO PACK, GO!!!

2 points
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HawkPacker's picture

November 30, 2023 at 10:50 am

I don't know if we can win or not but I am sure looking forward to the game.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:10 am

This is a very different team offensively to that we saw last year. It’s not merely at QB, we’ve seen a transition from old and slow (Cobb, Lazard, Watkins, TEs) to young and unproven. This roster, Rodgers aside, looked more talented on paper and equally obviously completely unproven outside RB.

As a result, 2 things seemed certain, that we would be a different team in December than August and that it would be true roller coaster. Exactly how we’d be different was the big question.

Would we be able to lean on the run to maintain possession? Would our D prove able to get us off the field and handle runners and particularly when teams had an effective air and ground game. Would the personnel management be more effective without Rodgers and the O more diverse in intent at least?

I’d argue that the coaching aspects have disappointed. The OL is a weak point and seemingly consistent only in its seeming refusal to adjust to play and strengths. That’s despite the further emergence of Tom.

I’d argue that it’s taken 3 months of failure of scripted plays and game plans for LaFleur to actually try aggression and trusting his players till deficits forced it. Our OL remains a joke in the run game and they still fight playing Nijman and Rhyan who it’s clear improve it. They still are irredeemably wedded to Myers.

On D, Gary, Clarke and Smith have been mainstays, but the D is otherwise eerily similar to that of last year. Even in the win against Detroit, we gave up 4.8 YPC and 330 yards in the air.

We are seeing players, when unleashed, flash ability and more often. They are going this despite the continuation of almost everything else we knew had to change. We had seen that, when behind, this O was more effective than playing the system we saw last year and in the first halves and scripted plays this year. That was the difference versus the lions. We went for it and it worked and the Lions melted. It’s a little sad that Love had to campaign to keep that approach pre game.

The players are improving. They are better playing to win on both sides of the ball. It will still be up and down, but aggression put pressure on opponents and increases the chance of completed scores. As Rodgers complained last year, 3 yard gains is a strategy that promises a high probability individual plays but a very low probability of ultimately scoring. When your youth is better let loose than scripted, it shows that the anchor is off the field.

So we may make the playoffs. I think we are making a team, but the true win here and for the future requires us to realize that these coaches are the dampers we need to shed to truly win. Once we stop fighting ourselves, this talented core may really shine.

2 points
5
3
murf7777's picture

December 01, 2023 at 09:45 am

Maybe MLF not throwing everything at this young team was what the Doctor ordered vs overwhelming them with aggressive play calling. Your way very well could’ve ruined the young players confidence. We all know you don’t like Mlf. The reality is he is a winner and many people in the know, who played NFL football think differently than you.

Personally, I’m impressed he has taken a 1st year starting QB with basically no experience with pass catchers, an average, questionable OL and RB’s that continuously get hurt has kept them in the running for a playoff spot. Does he make mistakes, yes, but guess what, everybody does. He’s a much better game mgr than MM.

1 points
1
0
Razer's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:18 am

The Chiefs offense brings all the things that are Packers kryptonite - mobile QB who will run, solid run game and a great TE game. I have less concern about Love doing well as I do about the defense getting swamped. It will be a multi-front war pressuring/containing Mahomes and stopping the run. This game rests with the defense. Where are we at Joe?

5 points
5
0
dobber's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:39 am

I'll be honest in that I think we saw what amounts to a ceiling game for this team against Detroit. Just about every unit played well against the Lions...and that's been hard to get from this team in a single game, so I don't want to take that away from them. I'm still not going to expect it every week, and I certainly don't expect it against KC this week. KC has experienced veteran leadership and good coaching, and they know that the ramp-up for the post-season really starts at Thanksgiving. Even though we've seen some middling games from them, they played well in a tough game against Philly and I'm expecting them to play well on Sunday.

The goals for the Paackers are the same: get better every week. Grow your young core players--especially Jordan Love. He needs to continue to show he's settling in and can be a quality player. Hopefully that translates to wins, but build momentum for 2024. If it turns into playoffs in 2023, I won't complain.

As much as we expected the 2023 Packers to lean on its OL and run game, this is a "pass-to-run" team. That puts a kind of pressure on Love that we hoped wouldn't be there, but he seems to be growing into that. I'm expecting significant changes in the depth chart at both RB and OL for 2024.

"Around the NFCN"

The Bears suck. Monday's game drained hours from my life. I'm glad they beat the Vikings, and I hope they scarf up just enough wins the rest of the way to deflate their draft position and lead them to make more iffy calls in March-May. They ARE going to win a couple games yet. They play just well enough in spurts to occasionally give other teams fits. So long as they don't beat the Packers...

The Vikings have gone from "Dobbs is our savior" to looking at Nick Mullens as a starter when they come off bye. There's a reason why Dobbs was available at the deadline. I think they're better off with the much more mobile Dobbs, truth be told, but Mullens might be better able to distribute the ball with Jefferson coming back if they can protect him. I think they win just enough to be relevant in that last Lions matchup, and that the last NFC WC gets in with a sub-.500 record.

The Lions got "goffed" for the second week in a row...in part because their OL is beat up and hasn't played well. He was bad against the Bears, and he fumbled the game away against the Packers. If he doesn't get on track, they're a .500 team the rest of the way, and Lions fans will be wondering "what happened?"--if they're still paying attention.

"Special Teams"

It wasn't going to turn on a dime...and with Keisean Nixon not getting the opportunities he had a year ago, it's hard to hide the warts. Carlson's recent kicking woes are likely playing into this, too.

"Packers-Chiefs"

I expect a game that won't be all that close. I think 34-17 Chiefs. They're a really good team, and they'll be taking some of last week's loss to Philly out on the Packers. At this stage, Andy Reid knows he's got to get this team humming for January.

2 points
3
1
Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:47 am

The Chiefs have a really good D and perhaps the best QB in the league. Yet they have not been a juggernaut because of issues on O despite that. There’s only one way we win, and it’s the same mentality as we showed last week. Get ahead, go for turnovers. That’s a boom or bust strategy and I don’t expect Reid to help us as Campbell did.

It’s going to be tough, not least because the way to beat that D ought to start with a credible run game, but playing safe is almost an inevitably futile strategy this Sunday. Force them to try to rely on MVS and we have a fighting chance. That means taking away not only the run but the middle TE game.

1 points
1
0
T7Steve's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:14 am

The best way to defend against the Chiefs QB and TE is to be in their backfield and making their life miserable. Just like they did against the Lions.

You're right by saying we need to score first and regularly which puts the D in a position to play to their strengths (if allowed).

Would have taken me more than 4 hours to write dobber's post! Good one!

2 points
2
0
Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2023 at 11:04 am

Dobber, an excellent reduction of how the NFC has shaped up this far. The fact is that all this playoff talk is only possible because the Bears need a few more years of Fields, the Vikings had regressed as expected in key ways not merely mathematically, and then lost a decent QB as well as their main receiver and the Lions D is flawed and it’s OL is currently so. Goff without an OL is a sitting duck and looks like his pre Detroit self. On D, without a stellar rush, it’s showing that the impact of a slot DB isn’t a saving grace.

In short, the Lions are a good in parts but flawed team that has started to be figured out and had a coaching howler to boot. The Vikings are a not very good team now missing their QB and best skill player, and Fields just isn’t ready yet (and has a dreadful D).

So a back door to the post season couldn’t be more open for us, but, at the same time, padding through it couldn’t be much less meaningful. What matters is growth and picks, not the problems of division mates. The rest of the league has plenty of better teams, and those are the ones we need to judge ourselves against and surpass.

I want us going all out to win games by being aggressive on both sides of the ball, but not to squeeze into the playoffs but rather to give players opportunities to grow and to reward performance on the way. That’s how we really win here. Then we need to learn the lessons and be willing to address obstacles in the off season, not hide behind not being out of it in a rank division.

I do not mind losing if we lose as a result of going for plays to pressure the opponents off their game and steal a win. If we lose through the ineffectual caution of the O we saw attempted for much of last year and in first halves this year before Detroit, we learn nothing and also stunt growth potential. That would be unforgivable. Sadly, it’s the more typical LaFleur, Barry/Pettine modus operandi during their time here.

2 points
2
0
Bitternotsour's picture

November 30, 2023 at 02:09 pm

While past performance surely do not guarantee future results, I think it's fair to say that Matt LaFleur will not have scheduled or received a personality transplant prior to the KC game. To expect him to do something he hasn't shown the inclination to do is pretty wishful, no?

1 points
1
0
TxFred's picture

November 30, 2023 at 08:53 am

Comes down to choices.
If the team chooses to play at a high level, hard nose basic & fundamental blocking and tackling, they will win.
They chose the prevailing entertainment style shit, then they get their heads handed to them.
It's totally this teams choice. Make the right decision. GPG!!

-1 points
2
3
HarryHodag's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:18 am

I'm happy for the positive vibes. But positivity without reality is a fantasy only.

The reality is this team is becoming competitive again after a season and a half of 'meh'. What is very encouraging are the players who no one expected much from...like McDuffie and the defensive backs among others. But Green Bay is facing a team Sunday that has it all, especially a defense that takes no prisoners. If the Packers lose Sunday I don't want to read a bunch of carping about how stupid everyone is.

It's a long road back to respectability, but that progress is showing itself. The idea Sunday is to upset Kansas City even if it doesn't happen. But taking a Super Bowl contender to the wire shows this team is not far away.

"Playoffs?" to quote Jim Mora. It's possible but not probable. Even if they make the the playoffs it will likely be a quick exit which is maybe more frustrating than ending the season without the playoffs.

1 points
1
0
T7Steve's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:51 am

Even a quick exit from the playoffs is another game of experience and learning for the youngsters. One week more of study. One week more of practice. One more week of expectations and planning against a playoff caliber team and coaches.

For us it's one more week of hope and one less week of offseason.

Win-win even IF they lose.

1 points
2
1
ricky's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:20 am

Please, please never again tell me how well the defense is playing, or how Joe Barry called a good game. The same thing happened last year. Everyone knew he would be gone after the season was over. Then, the defense turned it around the last few games, the DB's played tighter coverage, and, to everyone's shock and dismay, Barry was not fired. Barry needs to go. Period. But if he again somehow manages to put together a few good defensive schemes, and, more importantly, if the players continue to improve, he could be retained.
As far as ST's go, I pointed out earlier that the Packers had one of the worst units in the league. At this point, it would seem to point in two directions. First, lack of practice. There is no cohesive group, just a bunch of guys who get together occasionally and try to function as a unit. Second, not getting guys who are specialists, who are in the league because they are willing to take on the dirty and underappreciated tasks on ST's. You get better at what you practice and emphasize.

3 points
3
0
RCPackerFan's picture

November 30, 2023 at 09:53 am

(and even Joe Barry managed to look like a competent coordinator)

I hate to admit this but that as a good game plan against the Lions. I have to ask though, was it the game plan or was it the players?

Because Clark and Gary basically destroyed the Lions OL, which made things impossible for Goff. So I just have to ask how much of it was Barry and how much of it was on the players?

NFC North -

Bears -
Seeing the Bears win was huge in multiple ways. First it gave the Vikings the loss which helps GB in playoff scenarios. BUT it also helps because it gives them a lower pick in the draft. They will most likely own the 1st pick because of the Panthers. But currently they are 4-8. The same as 2 other teams. There are another 4 teams that are 4-7. They could easily go from the 4th spot they currently own to the 11th spot. Had they lost. they would be 3-9 and in the 4th spot a game a head of 6 other teams.

Lions -
How good are they really?
I only ask this because they got destroyed by us. They barely beat the Bears. Got destroyed against the Ravens. Beat up some other bad teams, and kind of got lucky in the Chiefs game.
So my question how good are they? Good teams don't get blown out. And they don't take beatings more then once.

Vikings -
I'd almost feel bad for the Vikings with losing Cousins, if I didn't have the organization, and fan base glorifying breaking Rodgers Collarbone years ago imprinted into my brain. So F*ck them, Karma's a bitch.

2 points
2
0
stockholder's picture

November 30, 2023 at 11:04 am

The only reason the packers are doing better.
Is because they "Started to believe in Themselves".
They turned speed into strength.
And the OL gave Jordan Love Time.
The success of OL is on Myers.
If he gets creamed, Love is done for the day.
Myers play has been the key.
It must continue.

The special Teams are about field position.
Regardless where they rank.
They still have not given the game away.

2 points
2
0
mnbadger's picture

November 30, 2023 at 12:13 pm

On another thread, I predicted Pack winning 26-24. I took some fair questioning about how we get to 26 points?
Take my prediction for what it's worth: one knucklehead making an optimistic guess!
With that cleared up, here's how we card 26 Pts:
- 2 TD's - one from defense or special teams
- 2 xtra pts
- 4 FG's. Three of which come after arriving at the red zone then sputtering out.
The last coming on a last minute, 3 first down drive after falling behind by one with 1:27 remaining on the clock and only 1 TO.
Don't even ask why we only have one timeout.
Enter Anders (never call me Mason Crosby's replacement again) Carlson.
He boots a 54 yarder as time expires!
That's my optimistic prediction with detail of how it we get to 26.
I think the more appropriate question is how do the chefs get to 24?
Pack 26 - chefs 24!
GPG!

2 points
2
0
Hitnhope23's picture

November 30, 2023 at 01:48 pm

Just two weeks ago, you were all calling for mlf's head and looking for JL's replacement. I suppose after they get crushed by the chiefs you'll be on that bandwagon again. They are not going to make the playoffs, if they happened to pull off that miracle we all know mlf's playoff record. One and done. They should be tanking for a higher draft pick, IMO.

-3 points
0
3
T7Steve's picture

November 30, 2023 at 02:15 pm

At whom are you directing this?

Tim's been optimistic all season and experiencing the ebbs and flows of a young team with a new QB.

Of course, he's been questioning the coaching staff. What fan of any team wouldn't?

1 points
1
0
Starrbrite's picture

December 01, 2023 at 12:34 am

During the preseason I predicted 6/7 wins, but it now looks like we can win 9/10. I thought our wins would be early in the season, over the Broncos, Falcons Raiders, Bears, New Orleans. When we lost to most of them I thought we might win only three or four.
Last week however, I felt strongly we would beat Detroit and I have the same feeling about beating the Chiefs; if the Broncos can beat them, so can we.
If we make the playoffs, I’ll be eating huge amounts of humble pie…and that’s okay.
Go Packers!!!

0 points
0
0