Packers Stock Report Week 16: ZZZZZ Puts Captain Kirk to Sleep En Route to NFC North Championship

This victory Tuesday has me basking in the glory of a NFC North Division Title.

Christmas came a little bit early this year with a division championship, an 0-8 record going to 0-9, 3.5 sacks from Za'Darius, and two second half touchdown runs by Aaron Jones.  This win was especially sweet because it was against the hated Vikings in their house for the NFC North Division Title.  Personally, this is the happiest piece I've written in my three years covering the Packers because it gives me great joy to kick the ass of the most classless organization in professional sports.  

This is a particularly satisfying win because it came at a time when everyone doubted whether the Packers were the real deal or not.  This win shows that the Packers can go into a hostile environment, face a lot of early adversity, stick with their game plan, and still find a way to win.  I think this win gave the team a reminder that they have just as good a chance as anyone to make some noise in the NFC playoffs this January.  

Buy, Buy, Buy

1. Za'Darius Smith:

This guy, at this point looks to be a homerun of a signing.  Like if he does this for 4-5 more seasons in Green Bay, we are putting him in the same stratosphere as a Charles Woodson signing because of his on and off of the field leadership.  Like always, Z had his biggest game in the Packers biggest game of the season.  His 3.5 sacks single handedly knocked Kirk out of rhythm and caused him to struggle all game.

2. The Packers Run Defense:

Yes, it wasn't Dalvin Cook, but the Packers defense made Kirk Cousins one-dimensional by slowing down the Vikings rushing attack which allowed Pettine to dial up blitzes all night long. 

3. Kevin King:

Good for him! This guy has been injured throughout his career and is finally healthy.  King has to be one of the most resilient players on this team because he is always able to shake off a bad play by making a game changing interception on his next opportunity.  I never thought I'd say this, but this guy is going to find another way to save our season with a turnover.  Congrats to Kevin King!

4. Matt LaFleur and Mike Pettine:

Matt and Mike had great game plans to take advantage of the Vikings weaknesses.  However, what made me buy their performances was the fact that it was "all gas, no f*cking brake" despite turning the f*cking ball all over the field in the first half.  Both coaches stuck to their game plans despite all of the first half adversity and blew the Vikings off of the field in the second half.

5. Adams, Jones, Lazard, and Rodgers second half performances:

The difference between the first half and the second half results was the play of Rodgers, Jones, and Adams.  In the first half, the trio were responsible for 3 turnovers and an abundance of miscues leading to a 10-9 Packers deficit.  In the second half, they got their heads out of their asses and came up with a bunch of key runs, receptions (3rd down receptions for Lazard), and @showtyme_33 touchdowns.  As a result, the Packers outscored the Vikes 14-0 in the second half en route to a 23-10 win.  

Stock Falling

1. Aaron Rodgers:

Still not a big fan of what I'm seeing right now.  If he picks it up and resembles his former self, watch out NFC, if not, it'll be a struggle moving forward.   

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (44)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
edp1959's picture

December 24, 2019 at 10:27 am

Yep, another opinion piece proving you don't know squat. Last night I saw a QB lead 3 scoring drives at the end of the game that put it out of reach. He did this by throwing darts on key plays that extended drives. You obviously didn't watch the game. I have Sunday Ticket and watch multiple games every Sunday...Brees, Brady, Wilson, Mahomes, it doesn't matter. I see them all make bad throws every game. You seem to know so much, show me a game where one of these QBs have made perfect throws on every pass in the game. You can't, so go ahead and sell Rodgers.

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 10:40 am

Of course you're correct... This author is in the wrong business.
He's been wrong since before game 1 of the regular season... Ask him what his projected record was for the Pack before the 2019 season. (8-8 maybe 9-7)--- He won't admit it.
Hopefully, CHTV will make a few cuts from their roster after the season finishes.

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DavidMichalski's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:23 am

Yea I thought the Packers would go 8-8 or 9-7, they definitely surprised me and I’m happy to be wrong.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:45 am

Lots of people thought 9-7.

Don't feed the Trolls.

Merry Christmas.

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dobber's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:29 pm

Preseason expectations are immaterial once they start playing games. No point in using them as ammunition for or against anyone.

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Guam's picture

December 24, 2019 at 10:46 am

Wow guys! How about a little Christmas spirit. I don't always agree with David either, but he offers his take on the game and engages in dialog with the commenters which I find commendable. How about giving him a little break on Christmas Eve and tone down the negativity......

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 10:54 am

It's referred to as "calling someone out"..... The holiday season has nothing to do with it.
This author is a "click baiter" who puts very little effort into anything he publishes... I doubt he gives a rat's a$$ about the Packers.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:36 am

His opinions are not any worse than some of yours.

If you don't like the content here fine, go read elsewhere. But there is no reason to attack an author here who is on a site that is giving you free access.

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Guam's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:37 am

Sorry Samson, asking for someone to be fired ("Hopefully CHTV will make a few cuts.....") is not "calling someone out", it is over the top inflammatory rhetoric. You are more than welcome to disagree with any author, but some editorial restraint and fellowship for CHTV participants is also appropriate - in the holiday season or out.

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Sorry Guam, please quit trying to be the CHTV cop on patrol.... My posts have been for years based on facts & events... I'm not out to achieve any clicks, views or responses from anyone.---- Your naive rhetoric also needs to be restrained so all CHTV participants can practice the 1st amendment.

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Guam's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:01 pm

The first amendment has limits (slander, libel, calling out "fire" in a public place, etc. etc.)., you should practice some too.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 24, 2019 at 02:00 pm

You do realize nobody is forcing you to read him?

It’s an opinion. It’s not your job to “call people out”. You just like to do it.

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 02:37 pm

I've only read anything from the writer by accident. --- It's everyone's job to point out the "scams" that exist in our culture.... BTW. OS, when are you going to admit to your wrongs about everything Packer in reference to season 2019... You're better now but only because the number is 12-3... Hard to 'sham' the crowd when facts get in the way. right? .... LOL.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 24, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I was wrong about the Packers record.

But I’m right that your persistent personal attacks aren’t necessary or appreciated. Try making your posts about football instead of just insulting people.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:03 pm

How do you read his articles by accident??? His name is right there. I’d love to know this, really?

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:12 pm

Sorry, Old School, you're NOT on a need to know basis.

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Packers0808's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:33 pm

"Click bait" belongs elsewhere here, most likely your back pocket!

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HankScorpio's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Festivus Spirit is also timely for the season. The game was played on Festivus Day, after all. We saw the defense demonstrate feats of strength with Z leading the charge.

Why not also have the airing of grievances?

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:45 pm

Rodgers maintained his composure and dialed in the key hitters. One bad toss due to a Classic Zimmer safety stunt. Another 3-4 drops and Adams fumble or this Game goes to forty points. Why get in discussions with fantasy Fans?
A.Jones running through traffic was Sanders-like. Good Karma on this team. Rodgers will explode when the time is ripe. @ Lambeau. Home Field as a #1 or 2 seed. Stay tunesd.

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splitpea1's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Not selling AR at all. He was a little off at times, but he made key third-down completions to keep the chains moving. And I love the way he took what the defense gave him with those short throws from late in the second quarter on--that's the sort of thing we've all been wanting to see. I was surprised to see the Vikings allow it for so long.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:57 am

More of those quick throws, please. Much more. Sure they bring terms like "game manager" with them. I will never understand why people consider that a pejorative term. Managing the game is the #1 priority of a QB.

Rodgers doesn't need to throw for 350+ and 3 TDs+ every week for this team to win. If he plays like he accepts that---as he did last night in the 2nd half---they will be a very tough out.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:45 pm

Queens were in a lot of two high safety. Where are you going to go deep. Cut them up with the run and hit it inside the zones.

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dobber's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:22 pm

It was clear last night that the offensive game plan was to run the football and to get the ball out fast to keep ahead of the Vikes pass rush. Was ARod perfect? Of course not (case in point: the dropped TD pass at the end of the first half). But I was encouraged that he mostly played within that game plan and they stymied that Vikings defense virtually all night.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 25, 2019 at 05:27 am

I agree in general. I also thought the ball came out faster more often. Now, I thought it came out faster when Davante and/or Lazard were the first options. Those two got 25 targets out of 38 pass attempts. I'd like to see more often passes to the RBs be the first option and have the ball come out fast. Still it was encouraging.

I expect Dusty's passing chronicles to be interesting. I noted several mesh plays and some nice spacing on slants with Adams deeper but wider than Lazard. I am not sold on Lazard and still view him as a #3 or #4 WR, but he generally catches the ball and AR seems to trust him.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:46 am

"....because it gives me great joy to kick the ass of the most classless organization in professional sports. "

The football gods frowned upon showing highlights of Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone on the scoreboard, both in larger sense of the outcome and the more on the nose point of having Anthony Barr cramp up and leave the field for Aaron Jones dagger throwing TD run. It is truly distasteful how much joy they take in that injury.

It is TBD on the price they extract from the Vikings for Zimmer's salty behavior toward ML during the post game handshake.

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GVPacker's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Zimmer is a good coach but has zero personality......he makes Bill Belichick seem warm and fuzzy!

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dobber's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:44 pm

Zimmer has good front-line personnel at most positions except the OL. His CBs aren't what they once were: Rhodes has fallen off fast...as happens to most bump-and-run CBs. They age quickly. Still, it's Spielman's great failure that he could never draft a QB or an OL to support his skill players and his defense. What you think of Zimmer has a lot to do with whether or not you expect that he should have been able to coach this team above it's shortcomings, or whether you believe he already has.

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Minniman's picture

December 24, 2019 at 04:08 pm

This was not a good game for whomever was calling offensive plays for the Vikings. If it was Zimmer, then this loss is on him.

- 3 turnovers and only 1 capitalized on. There aren't too many games when the team that wins the turnover count loses the game.

- Going for it on 4th and 4 on the Packers 42 near the end of the second quarter when the Packers front 4-5 had already been asserting itself defensively (no faith in the kicker - or your defense to pin the Packers deep and get a stop).

- No extra blocking assistance for the run game (Thielen was a suited up spectator this game - the Packers worked that out early) so the Packers only had to watch Diggs and Rudolph as their D front 4-5 were already doing great things against the Vikings o-line, Cousins' play-action and the run.

- I'll have to re-watch, but Rudolph was quiet this game (probably pre-occupied with his impending Christmas commitments! :) ). With Thielen not right he needed to have a bigger game if the Vikings were going to prevail

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GVPacker's picture

December 24, 2019 at 11:55 am

I think Matt LF should consider creating a new assistant coaching position.... Celebration Coordinator! Guys what do you think?

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HankScorpio's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:12 pm

"2. The Packers Run Defense:

Yes, it wasn't Dalvin Cook, but the Packers defense made Kirk Cousins one-dimensional by slowing down the Vikings rushing attack which allowed Pettine to dial up blitzes all night long. "

The improvement in run defense has much to do with Kenny Clark's late season surge, IMO. Controlling the center of the field with a beast like Clark makes run defense look so much easier. I dislike using terms like "Pro Bowl snub" for guys like Clark (and others). I don't know if he's better than Aaron Donald, Fletcher Cox or Grady Jarrett. I just know I'm glad he's a Packer. He's a big part of 12-3. Like the rest of the so-called Pro Bowl snubs.

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dobber's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:35 pm

IMO the Packers helped to expose the Vikes offense as being Dalvin Cook, et al. The Vikes are a run-first team, but do it on the skill of Cook, not on the strength of their OL. I'll admit, the Packers' front took it to Minnesota last night, but a decent OL would have had some response. There was nothing from the purple side.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 25, 2019 at 05:12 am

I predicted that Clark would get well against Daniels/Cody Whitehair and against Bradbury/Klein. Those interior offensive linemen simply are not very good. Still, Clark did dominate. He will have a tougher time against Ragnow in Detroit.

Z destroyed the OC and RG, but he also destroyed Reilly Reiff, who is at least a pretty solid LT. ZaDarius beat Reiff multiple times, and also terrorized the interior linemen (not sure about MN's LG - I don't remember that one way or the other). I've seen 3-sack games, but I can't remember a 5.5 TFL plus a 3.5 Sack with 5 total QB hit games. I mean MN only ran 54 plays and Z had 5 QB hits and 5.5 more TFL. [ESPN also credited him with 8 total pressures.] That's 11 plays we know Z was in the backfield out of 54 plays.

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Lphill's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Rodgers was making some critical throws on slants and across the middle when it was needed , I think Adams should have made the catch for a TD , they don’t win this game without Rodgers , he lets the clock run down because he is watching every move the defense makes , other QB ‘s take the snap at 15 seconds , too many doubters here , ok he threw a pick but they are far and few. An ugly win is better than a loss , keep it ugly.

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canadapacker's picture

December 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm

I looked backed at my post before the game - I had said stop the run which we did and I kind of thought that we would. I was really worried about the short crossers and the fact that tightends have killed us and and thought that Rudolph might again - but 1 catch for 7 yards and our pass rush. Dont know what happened on that play in the secondary when Fackrell got held but sure was a scary moment for me - I could just envision us losing by a point when Crosby missed the extra point. Now people want to dump on AR but he still makes some great throws but I just dont know why he is missing the easy ones - ie TD pass to Adams is usually there as well as some of the running back dump offs. The int was another bad one but he can be forgiven for having only one of those every 300 passes although there have been some dropped INT's but every QB gets lucky and has that happen. As a matter of fact a few games might have ended differently if our guys had not dropped an INT

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pacman's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:18 pm

AR is not playing as well as he was a few years back. That's all there is to it. Anybody argue with that?

Without running game and our D, we are the same as the last 2 years. AR has been in decline for a while now. Some of his production loss is due to the receivers but it's mostly on him. And at least he is not throwing many INTs. If he started a new game plan to get rid of the ball quickly, then maybe FINALLY he has come around. I think he knows that he just hasn't been the same. It just didn't seem that he was enjoying this win as much as he used to. He wasn't nearly as smiley.

I'm sad that we don't have an elite qb anymore, but the team is playing better. I was more hopeful than the 9-7 predictions but that was based on the hope the MLF could scheme guys open better than MM. Nobody predicted this strong of a D that keeps them in most games even when offense isn't very productive.

I wouldn't be stunned if Packers drafted a potential franchise qb this year, if one is available.

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canadapacker's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:52 pm

I wouldnt say that AR isnt elite. His stats are not elite most definitely but his win/loss record is elite. His running is still ok, his arm strength is still great, and unless it is a direct rush he avoids the rush. He is probably overly cautious on throwing the ball up - probably the exact opposite of when Favre didnt have a good team and he didnt care about his INT record. He also has been missing some short passes and dump offs and earlier on was waiting for the bomb rather than taking the early open shorter routes.
I think that Rodgers ego has slowly dissolved as the season has gone along. While the team has revolved around the Offense at least now he knows it is just not about him and the bad habits that had built up the last few years under MM have somewhat dissipated.

Should the Pack draft a project to be - yes if he has the potential ie 5th or 6 rounder. But AR still has several good years left as did Favre. But we still need help defensively and while we might get some better interior linebackers in free agency, we cannot overlook getting help there. Oline and recievers as well are needs.

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Lphill's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:33 pm

I think an elite QB leads his team to a division title and maybe more. So far so good.

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dobber's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:48 pm

We'll have to see how he does with another off-season and maybe better skill position players.It could be that #12 is more Troy Aikman than Aaron Rodgers anymore, but Troy Aikman won a few games with the help of a good supporting cast.

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Houndog's picture

December 25, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Lphill,
You might be right, some of the time.
However, it's been the defense that has won at least half of the Packers' games for them this season.
So, your point is?

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Lphill's picture

December 24, 2019 at 01:59 pm

I think Lazzard is the number 2 and when brown returns I think 1,2 and 3 are set for next season, then add through the draft or a veteran free agent.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 24, 2019 at 02:59 pm

David, I liked the article.

We’re going to have an entire offseason to bloviate about strengths and weaknesses and direction of the team. I’m 100% in favor of different opinions and I reject people who try to shout down opinions they disagree with.

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Samson's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:18 pm

Come on, Old School, put your soapbox away.... As soon as GB exits from the playoff scene (especially without the Lombardi if it should happen), you'll be back to trashing everything GB, as usual.
Quick question.... Who's better... AR or Trubisky? .... LOL.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 24, 2019 at 03:24 pm

This is a great win. I am really liking Lazard. He should have caught that one pass that was over ruled and that would have been 6 catches and 2/3 completion rate. He is good at the screens, blocks and I was surprised with the slants. A bit better throws by Rodgers and it could have been a 31 to 10 win. That score would have been a signature win. We are that close.

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4zone's picture

December 25, 2019 at 06:37 am

Can you drop the feau profanity from your articles? There's no need to lower your standards as a writer to bar room ribaldry.

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