Packers Have to Win on the Road Before Talking Playoffs

If the Packers want to make the playoffs, they need to worry about winning on the road first.

There is a lot of excitement around the Green Bay Packers and their fans after the win last week against the Atlanta Falcons, as well as some key losses from NFC teams, which helped Green Bay keep its playoff hopes alive.

Of course, had the Packers beaten the Cardinals, they would be tied for the final playoff berth or if Mason Crosby had made his game-winning field goal attempt against the Vikings, they would be in the same position.

Instead, the Packers are sitting at 5-7-1 and in addition to having to win their next three games, Green Bay still needs a lot of help. Minnesota has to lose twice and teams like Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington all need to lose once.

While that seems like a lot, it pales in comparison to the challenge the Packers face Sunday and that's beating the Chicago Bears on the road. 

For one, the Packers are 0-6 on the road this season, losing to Minnesota, Detroit, LA, Seattle, New England and Washington. Granted, five of those teams were playoff contenders if you consider the Redskins had Alex Smith at the time. But still, the Packers aren't making the playoffs unless they can win on the road.

And against Chicago, that is going to be much tougher than some people think. Yes, the Packers did beat Chicago back in Week 1 but these two teams have gone in dramatically different directions since.

The Bears are 9-3 since then and recently, have dominated both the Vikings and Rams at Soldier Field. Chicago has the third-best defense in the NFL, both in terms of points allowed and yards allowed, while also boasting the No. 7 scoring offense.

Obviously, beating the Bears would be great because it would keep the Packers slim playoff hopes alive, but more than that, it would easily be the best win of the season.

Chicago looks like a legitimate contender in the NFC and if the Packers can beat them, I'd bet every dollar I have that they will win out. Like in 2016, when they whipped Seattle after getting back to .500, the momentum from a win over Chicago could propel this team to a 4-0 finish. 

Who knows if the Packers would get the help they need to make the playoffs, but beating this Chicago team on the road would certainly prove that the Packers are capable of playing like a playoff team. And at the very least, it could help the team end 2018 on some kind of positive note.

But before we get too crazy talking about playoff scenarios and everything else, let's see if the Packers can beat the Bears and prove once and for all that the 2018 team can win on the road. Then, we will have something real to discuss. 

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (52)

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Bearmeat's picture

December 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm

The Packers have been a disorganized, but talented, mess on offense until last week. They completely deserve the record they have. The talent that GB has on offense should be able to move the ball against CHI's defense. If they play a clean game.

This is the game where we see if Philbin has cleaned up the operation, or if the Falcons were just that bad. My guess is the latter, and if that's the case the season will be over soon.

That said, if they beat Chicago, I think it's very likely that we're looking at the 6 seed and being right back in CHI the first weekend in January. How sweet would it be to be the reason the Vikings didn't make the playoffs, then end the Bears year, before going down to New Orleans the following week?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 13, 2018 at 12:54 pm

"This is the game where we see if Philbin has cleaned up the operation"

If Philbin can beat these Bears at Solder, I'll start checking out seats on the Philbin 2019 bandwagon. A win this week would be a BIG deal.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 13, 2018 at 01:26 pm

True statements, jeremy. It would be a gift, and a grand surprise.

It's important to remember this is not the 1985 Bears defense we're facing, and 12 is not only a part-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, he's a longtime owner of the Chicago Bears.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 13, 2018 at 01:28 pm

Mostly agreed.

I mean, I despise the Vikings, and have no respect for that organization or (especially) its fanbase. But I grew up hating the Bears as our cheif rival. Further, I lived in IL from the age of 19 to 26 - Right during the height of Lovie Smith's success and I still have many crap-eating Bears fan friends from undergrad. It would be awesome to be able to throw obnoxious memes and gifs at them all next week. Just awesome.

That said, even if we win on Sunday, I still don't want Philbin as our next head coach.

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dobber's picture

December 13, 2018 at 01:35 pm

Short of winning the SB, I just don't see Philbin back with the team after the season ends. I think there will be significant pressure to clear out the coaching staff.

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Lare's picture

December 13, 2018 at 01:48 pm

That could go both ways dobber. If the Packers win out there will be a lot of pressure on Murphy/Gutekunst to keep Philbin as HC and Pettine as DC.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:49 am

By all accounts, Philbin is one of the most decent human beings around. That would seem to make it harder to look him in the eye and say 4-0 record means nothing.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:10 am

Unless they told him up front that it didn't matter how he did...they were moving into a full search and he was free to put his name in the ring. No guarantees. He's auditioning for jobs all over the league. He has motivation to do well.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 13, 2018 at 03:15 pm

I'm not convinced they are not auditioning Philbin. BG and Mark M seam to be pretty damn organized. I doubt they fired McCarthy when they did without thinking of all the ways they can leverage the move.

I am not advocating Philbin as the next HC. If they win this week I will start to consider it as a feasible option.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 13, 2018 at 08:09 pm

I suspect that this is more Gute's call, than Murphy's. Executive committee has in the past followed the GM advice on selecting a new coach. We'll see.

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4zone's picture

December 14, 2018 at 07:54 am

Of course they are auditioning him. It's THE best way to evaluate a potential candidate.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:48 am

ya think there's a reason Joe hasn't even been mentioned in any of the HC jobs since Miami? Do you not think GM's haven't looked at his work and studied him? Please no Joe as Packers head coach...unless you want more of the past two years...

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TheVOR's picture

December 13, 2018 at 02:00 pm

PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS?? DID YOU SAY PLAY, PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!!!????

Gosh, were is Jim Mora when you really need him!

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pacman's picture

December 13, 2018 at 02:20 pm

I tried giving this 1000 thumbs up.

This article is a not worthy of being on this blog. Packers are too injured and didn't show anything new with Philbin. Why would he be much different than MM? MM brought him back because it was an easy fit. They needed someone to take MM out of his comfort zone.

But I will be watching to see if Philbin/AR team can come up with something this week. Not hopeful though.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

December 13, 2018 at 07:12 pm

Couldn't agree more. Maybe the Packers should win 2 games in a row before we start talking about some amazingly playoff run

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 13, 2018 at 07:19 pm

I guess you missed the title of the article...

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:16 am

I'm dismayed by the number of 'this article sucks' comments that have popped up recently. Maybe it's just frustration over the season leaking out, but come on, folks, this is volunteer-generated content for us to consume--or not--based on our interests. If the title, itself, turns you off. Don't read. If you don't like the article, fine. Read, smirk, go do something else...or participate in the discussion in some constructive way. Just because you didn't like the article doesn't mean that you aren't going to find meaningful and engaging ways to add to the resulting conversation.

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Samson's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:43 am

When you leave, don't forget your soapbox.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 01:03 pm

Soap?

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Samson's picture

December 14, 2018 at 02:28 pm

A soapbox is a raised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech, often about politics and/or sports. The term originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves by standing on a wooden crate originally used for shipment of soap or other dry goods from a manufacturer to a retail store.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:51 am

but aren't you also allowed to "think it sucks"??? I'm sure anyone posting articles on the internet on a site such as Cheesehead TV is hardened enough to withstand some criticism...we could all go over to the Packers.com site where your banned for saying anything against the team.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 15, 2018 at 04:52 pm

I disagree, dobber. If you're putting your work out there and your bio indicates you are a "sports writer" and a "journalist", it's fair game to critique your work. Also with those titles comes an expectation of a level of quality, both in writing skill, and informed opinion.

Some writers here are strong. Others consistently offer cliche-ridden, grammatically incorrect content badly in need of editing. At the end of each piece we are offered a chance to interact, and for me that's where the fun starts. It gets us interacting with each other.

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4zone's picture

December 14, 2018 at 07:09 am

Not sure we make the playoffs if we win this week but if we do we should win out. I expect we got at least 2-1 the rest of the way.

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4thand10's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:52 pm

This is not a playoff team.....after Adams...there’s not much for WR. The running game is good, but not special. Special teams is improved but not special. The defense is improved but it’s not great. As much as a fan as I am...they are not going anywhere this year.

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Lare's picture

December 13, 2018 at 01:29 pm

I'll consider the Bears game a success if the OL doesn't let Rodgers get injured.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:27 pm

Me too.

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Kb999's picture

December 13, 2018 at 02:06 pm

I'm afraid it's too late. This ship has sailed.

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pacman's picture

December 13, 2018 at 02:45 pm

At this point, I would like to beat the Bears and lose the next 2 games to get better draft picks.

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CAG123's picture

December 13, 2018 at 02:47 pm

My thoughts exactly everyone was a little too excited last week after beating another bad team at home now I must admit a win this week and even I might start talking about playoff possibilities but until then lets settle down.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 13, 2018 at 05:32 pm

Of course beating the Bares is job one.

I always want that to happen, and frankly I expect it.

There can never be too much beating of the Bares after the 80's crap we endured.

Playoff talk? Save it for when the queens lose to miami.
Next to Pack winning out, that is the biggest hurdle of "help" the Pack needs to even think about the P word.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 13, 2018 at 05:34 pm

and BTW, even if Miami beats the queens and the Pack beats the Bares, even if everything else works out, the bares still have to beat the queens in week 17.

the bares would rest players and drop passes, drop fumbles, anything at all to keep GB out of the playoffs.

I just cannot see GB making the playoffs this year no matter what.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

December 13, 2018 at 07:15 pm

I get the line of thinking but disagree. These Bears don't have any reason to be thinking about resting. There a young team that is going to win the NFC north, but they have had some ugly loses and looked like crap plenty of times this year. Nagy is a terrible coach and should be fired on the spot if the Bears pretend they have been here before

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Leatherhead's picture

December 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Beating the Bears is always fun.

Especially when they've had a good season and we haven't.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:29 pm

Yes sir!

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

December 13, 2018 at 05:32 pm

Nice article Chris. Thanks for putting the horse back out in front of the cart.

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4thand1's picture

December 13, 2018 at 05:59 pm

How bad have the bearsstillsuck been? The Packers have won 7 straight games at Soldier field. Here's to number 8 on Sunday.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 14, 2018 at 06:33 am

Isn't it more like 10 straight regular season wins for the Packers in the friendly confines of Soldier Field? And 11 straight including playoff. After all, there was that time the Packers were awarded the Halas Trophy as NFC Champs in the friendly confines of Soldier Field.

Included in that streak is two regular season finales where the Packers were facing playoff elimination with a loss...making them 3-0 when facing elimination in the friendly confines of Soldier Field.

I think it would really grind the beans of the Bears and their fans if the streak continued this year, And it would mean the Packers would enter the 2019 game going for a clean sweep on the decade. That's a bigger deal to me than all this pie in the sky playoff talk.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:23 am

Just try to be 1-0 this week. Be a better team than they were last week.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:31 pm

That is enticing to think about.

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Donster's picture

December 14, 2018 at 05:50 am

As has been said here before, Sunday's game is our Super Bowl. Beat the Bears would be great, and I would love for it to happen. But still, this team is not going to the playoffs. They do not deserve it, and they don't have the players left on the roster or are injured to get the job done. You have to believe in Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, and the Great Pumpkin to think this team will make the playoffs.

They're better off in the long run if they don't. Get better draft position. Right now that is more important than squeezing into the playoffs then not going any farther. Write this season off, with the main accomplishment of finally combing MM out the organizations beard.

And please no to Philbin. The coaching staff and the Strength and Conditioning department need to be cleared out and rebuilt. TT completely out of the organization, Russ Ball gone, and Murphy gone after his contract is up. Give Gute full control of football operations. If he fails after 3 years or so, you replace him if need be. The cancer (like Zook and Lovat) must be cut out and new strong cells brought in to replace them. So many of these coaches and training staff have been in GB way to long, just as MM was. No guarantee who they hire is going to right the ship, but you have got to try with a fresh approach, not with Philbin who is just a thinner MM. I do feel sorry for Pettine, as he probably won't be retained by the new head coach, but that is how it goes. I think the only way he stays is if the keep Philbin. Or give Pettine the head coaching job. And I don't think that will happen. And offensive minded coach is what they are after.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 14, 2018 at 06:32 am

"....the Strength and Conditioning department need to be cleared out and rebuilt. "

That's a common thing around the league if you take a gander at this list from week to week.

http://www.nfl.com/injuries

Or maybe it just means football is a rough sport where injuries cannot be prevented by paying more attention to preventative measures.

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Packerpasty's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:55 am

Amen brother!!! You speak the common sense truth!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 14, 2018 at 07:47 am

Strength and conditioning coaches has very little to do with injuries. Believe it always comes down to individual players and their commitment to taking care of their bodies. Nutrition, core workouts, strengthening, and especially to flexibility. The latter is area most players do not spend enough time on.

I am very impressed with Matthew's and his hamstrings. He hasn't had issues for long time. I'm guessing he has really worked at loosening muscles and flexibility. Be interesting if a Sports writer should do a article on Matthew's about his workout program to avoid hamstring injuries.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:24 am

It's called the "contract-year workout".

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flackcatcher's picture

December 14, 2018 at 03:33 pm

HEH....hehhehhehheh......:)

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PatrickGB's picture

December 14, 2018 at 07:49 am

Nah, we are not going to win this one. I just hope we play a good game and the staff gets a good look at the players they plan on keeping/replacing for next year. GPG

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Packerpasty's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:57 am

I wouldn't be too surprised if we get to see what our backup can do when Rodgers gets mercilessly hammered behind this terrible offensive line..

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4zone's picture

December 14, 2018 at 07:57 am

If we make the playoffs this year it will be a shock, but a welcome shock. If not, I just wanna see us play up to our potential and get our brain funk behind us for next year.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 08:26 am

I could go for some Brain Funk Railroad right about now...

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JDK52's picture

December 14, 2018 at 09:09 am

Stop telling me how to be a fan.

I mean, I agree they have to beat the Bears, but they have to beat the Bears and get a whole lot of help for playoffs to be possible, but geez. Let fans be fans. Literally the reason I watch football is to talk about all the scenarios that can play out over the season.

Going to be a tough, tough game on Sunday. Can't wait.

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cheesehead1's picture

December 14, 2018 at 11:01 am

“IF” we can win the turnover battle, we have a chance. Rodgers record for not throwing an interception in so many pass attempts is fine, but here we are sitting at 5-7-1. The only stat that matters IMO, are wins and losses. GO PACKERS!

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2018 at 01:04 pm

I have a hunch that record ends this week...

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