Packers Writing a Different Narrative Now

The Packers vs Seahawks matchup has plenty of appealing storylines, but what matters right now is the story the 2019 Packers are writing themselves. 

There’s a lot of history between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. For starters, three previous playoff games, with the Packers winning the first two at Lambeau Field and Seattle winning the most recent matchup in 2014. From the “we want the ball and we’re gonna score” game to the NFC Championship collapse at CenturyLink that’s still so delicate most fans still refuse to talk about it, the storylines have written themselves for most of the week. 

There are plenty of stats that lend themselves to Sunday’s narrative, too, if you simply glance at the dope sheet. For starters, the Packers are 6-1 at home in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Home games matter. In fact, Green Bay is 9-1 all-time at Lambeau when facing the Seahawks, including the last eight games hosted in Green Bay dating all the way back to 2003. 

Whoever has home-field advantage between these two teams generally comes out on top. At least, that’s how it’s been in the past. In 2019, though, the Packers are 7-1 and the Seahawks are playing better on the road. Four of Seattle’s five losses this season came at home while they went 7-1 away. This is a different kind of season. 

Plenty can, and will, be said about the NFC Championship Game in 2014 and what all of these storylines mean for both teams, but the reality is that it doesn’t mean all that much. Past history, whether it be successes or failures, doesn’t do anything to change what’s at stake for a 2019 Packers team where the majority of the players weren’t even on the roster for the 2014 collapse. 

As much as the media wants to push the narrative that this is any type of revenge game for Green Bay, it’s hard to see it as such. For the fans? Sure. But a win in the Divisional Round can’t expel the demons of a missed Super Bowl opportunity. It never will. But I’ll stop being pessimistic now. 

What a Divisional Round win can do is give this Green Bay Packers team momentum. Winning ugly is no longer the storyline. This is playoff football, where you win or go home. Winning “ugly” still keeps you in contention. Losing ugly, or even losing pretty, ends the season. 

Aaron Rodgers is 36. He’s played in 15 playoff games and one Super Bowl. He knows how significant this game is. Brian Gutekunst was active in free agency in 2019, completely overhauling the edge rush position with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and shoring up the safety position with Adrian Amos. Veteran guard Billy Turner has also started every game so far for the green and gold, giving the Packers some consistency along the offensive line for the first time in years.  

If there was ever an “all-in” opportunity for the Packers, it’s right now. Davante Adams and Aaron Jones are the offensive stars of this 2019 team, and they’ve proven they can shoulder the load the way Aaron Rodgers used to. 

This is a different Packers team. These aren’t the traditional playoff Packers that live or die by the arm of Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers called it Week 1 when he said, “we got a defense” in his on-field interview post-game. 

The 2019 Packers don’t only have a defense, but they have an improving special teams unit, a star wide receiver, a dynamic running back that can do it all, and plenty of role players who might not get all of the praise but are still playing high caliber football, too. Oh, right, and the two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, future Hall of Fame quarterback on the roster doesn’t hurt, either. 

The revenge narrative, the ugly winning narrative, none of that matters anymore on Sunday. What matters is the fact that the Packers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016, with a core group of players locked up under contract that should be able to get this team into playoff contention for at least a couple more seasons, although this season is the only one that matters right now. All-in. 

We’re watching the Green Bay Packers play playoff football again. At Lambeau Field. It doesn’t matter how they got here, and it doesn’t matter what happened five seasons ago. At least not right now. Not this week. What matters is Sunday. The Packers will take care of the narrative from here. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (29)

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Bajacheese's picture

January 10, 2020 at 05:23 am

The current team is so different than what Packers fans are accustomed to and I’ll take that. This defense should get a lot of pressure on Wilson with their patchwork line and limited running threat. I believe they will hit Wilson early and often. On the other side, Seattle’s defense is down this year and it appears on paper the Packers can dominate the line of scrimmage. Outside zone runs and a good dose of play action will control the clock and keep Seattle’s offense on the sideline which is the best defense there is. ARod doesn’t have to be a hero, just hit his guys in rhythm and move the chains. Packers 30, Seahawks 13.

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Razer's picture

January 10, 2020 at 06:09 am

...ARod doesn’t have to be a hero, just hit his guys in rhythm and move the chains...

The cry heard around the world. Let's hope he is listening because, like you, I think it could be that simple as well.

Go Packers

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Houndog's picture

January 10, 2020 at 06:31 am

"ARod doesn’t have to be a hero, just hit his guys in rhythm and move the chains".
I'm with both of you, I've been screaming all year about 30 yd bombs on 3rd and 3, WTF?
Dink and dunk, run the ball, move the chains, run the clock, and take the longer shots it creates.
On "D", work to keep Wilson in check by collapsing the pocket and limiting big plays. Don't let him loose!
Sounds like a win.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 10, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Seattle's D may be down , but they are not out with Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright. They control the middle and the short zones of the passing game. You have to move them out of their territory. Their DTs play fast and low(pad level).
Clowney is a savage and he will have to be beaten down by Bhak and Bulaga. If he gets inside on Turner and LIndsley , there may be trouble. The deep ball is effective on the outside and one of the Packer TEs has to show up. Should be a great contest.

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NickPerry's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:16 am

Once again I agree with what Razer said...Rodgers just needs to hit the open receiver. In other words play WITHIN the offense the way it's DESIGNED. Rodgers has a Defense and doesn't need to do it himself. Rodgers has a RB unlike any he's had in his career and doesn't have to do it himself. Rodgers has a #2 WR right now who BELIEVES he's a #2 and when given the chance like in week 16 against Minnesota he DELIVERS, especially on 3rd down.

Rodgers also has some decent role players to lean on and HE SHOULD. Jamal Williams has been excellent this year, especially when on the field AT THE SAME TIME with Aaron Jones. He's got a TE who is the best blocking TE in the NFL but can also still catch the ball. USE him.

This defense matches up well with the Seahawks. Whether or not the Seahawks starters on the O-Line play, Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, and Za'Darius Smith can absolutely wreak this Seahawks team this week. SQUEZZE Russell Wilson in the pocket and don't let him escape and do his thing, this game shouldn't be close.

Snow in the forecast, 20 degrees temps, and as good of chance at making the SB in years. Don't look ahead OR behind. Win big, win ugly, who cares...Just win.

Packers 33-16...GO PACK GO!!!

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pooch's picture

January 10, 2020 at 05:01 pm

Rogers only plays the 1quarter and follows the offensive plan.After that he free lances and looks like shit

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NickPerry's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:15 am

Double Post...Sorry Guys...GO PACK GO!!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 10, 2020 at 08:38 am

It was worth it NP. Go Pack Go

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Crazytim87's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:25 am

Just WIN!! GO PACK GO!!

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porupack's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:43 am

I don't buy the "win ugly' thing. It is sugar coating bad execution and slop. Nice after a game to put a positive spin, but on Monday morning, a coach should make all that unacceptable.

Having said that, Maggie is right, winning got us to this point. Now nothing in the past matters. No historical trends, e.g., 7-1 record at Lambeau really matter. It will be about strategy, execution, readjustment. Simple as that. The weather and all that, I don't think it favors GB.

I don't see GB Dline as dominant as Eagles showed against Seattle, and still Wilson toasted the Eagles D. It had ripple effect, by Eagles having to compensate, and letting Metcalf and Lockett find soft spots. That wore down Eagles D. GB is vulnerable to the same. All Wilson needs is to buy time, and have an unexpected receiver or RB to dump. A few sustained drives from the escape artist, and GB defense will wear down.

The win will depend on GB countering with a bold Offense, based on a running attack. But they got to be more unpredictable. First down must mix in passes and trickery. GB offense has to score, or sustain drives in the first half to wear down Seattle D. The TE group has to play, and I'm counting on my man, big dawg, to be a surprise factor in pass. Or....another surprise TE, such as Sternberger, Tonyan or...., it could be, yes, could be that other TE, making a storybook ending.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 10, 2020 at 08:39 am

I do love story book endings.

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pacman's picture

January 10, 2020 at 08:40 am

I hate that phrase. Always have. And hated it more when AR started adopting it.

I'm not saying they win it all but they match up well against Seattle - if they don't play ugly. It is playoff time. It is time to play your best.

I don't think I am happy about the snow. It makes things more unpredictable when one slip here and there can change the game.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 10, 2020 at 09:53 am

I agree in general. Winning ugly is sugar coating things. It simply means that the offense isn't very good.

Clark was "very limited" at practice (per LaFleur) on Thursday. Philly held Seattle's running backs to 19 yards on 17 carries. GB needs a healthy and dominant Clark.

Wilson did have a nice day despite Philly getting a whopping 11 QB hits. Philly has some of the worst CBs I've seen. Adams goes well over 200 yards if he hadn't got hurt, and perhaps GB beats Philly with Adams, who missed most of the 4th quarter. Instead, Adams settled for 180 receiving yards. 11 QB hits should make the QB play poorly, but Wilson is good (108.3 passer rating against Philly), and had two good receivers playing against a horrible secondary. That leads to scratching out 17 points.

Seattle's defensive line had a great day in the stat line (and obviously the team only gave up 9 points). 12.5 TFL is massive, and so is 7 sacks on 9 QB hits.

But Philly played backups at RG and RT. Philly was missing its top 3 WRs: DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, and Algohar all were out. That means Seattle's defensive scheme can be completely different since they don't have to respect Philly's receivers. Wentz went out with 6:43 left in the first quarter. McGown only threw 4 deep passes all day, and only hit one, to Ertz.

So, what do I think that all means? With a healthy Clark, GB should be able to stop the Seattle rushing attack. It should be able to hit Wilson. GB's DBs should be able to make Wilson hold the ball just a tick longer on pass plays because they are considerably better than Philly's. If Clark can't play or his effectiveness is hindered, IDK. It should still be pretty good still against the run, and probably still gets decent pressure. Let Jaire cover Lockett straight up - not a big deal if Lockett still gets 50 to 60 yards. Double Metcalf all day with a safety providing bracket coverage over the top. Make the TEs and RBs beat us. The RBs are not good receiving threats and not much better as rushing threats.

GB should be able to run it. Philly averaged 4.6 yds/carry and had 120 yards despite those 12.5 tackles for loss. Seattle has good free safeties (including some backups) and McDougald is okay at SS. Seattle played 3 safeties about 40% of their defensive snaps against Philly. They are short on CBs, with Tre Flowers being a weak starter. The backup CBs aren't good. Take shots when Adams is matched up on Flowers one on one.

Wilson scratches around but puts up 20 points. I think GB can put up more points than that.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 10, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Spot on TGR. You took the words, paragraphs and essay right out of my mouth. Go Pack.

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CAG123's picture

January 10, 2020 at 01:06 pm

The Eagles have one of the worst secondaries in the league and have the worst starting CB duo in the league and still held the Hawks to 17 points despite Russ’s numbers if Wentz doesn’t go down the Eagles win that game. This idea that the Packers need trickery is quite ridiculous especially against a team that’s suspect at best defending the run. The Hawks lost three games by double digits against the Ravens, Rams and Cardinals when they gave up over 160 yards in each game with Cardinals running for 253. I do agree the Packers should incorporate the TEs in this game to give Wagz and KJ something to do but trickery isn’t really necessary.

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NickPerry's picture

January 11, 2020 at 02:02 am

"I don't buy the "win ugly' thing. It is sugar coating bad execution and slop"

I sort of agree with you BUT if your old enough to remember football in the 60's or 70's for example winning ugly was about the ONLY way most teams won. I mean do you remember those 70's teams with Scott Hunter as QB? Even in 72 when they went 10-4 just about every win was ugly.

"Winning Ugly" is a creation of the media...Nothing more, nothing less. I like the "Pretty Wins" where my heroes in Green & Gold run and pass up and down the field but at the end of the day the same thing holds true...

A win is a win is a win is a win..

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Bure9620's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:43 am

Every time the name Brandon Bostick is uttered an Angel is incinerated.......

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Philarod's picture

January 10, 2020 at 07:52 am

Good post, Maggie.

I'm not a betting man, and I've always wondered about multi-season trends involving many players that won't be playing this Sunday.

One thing that is getting overplayed is this notion that Rodgers suddenly just has to be Trent Dilfer (or insert the game manager of your choice). Yes, AJ is very good, and there's finally a good defense, but an offense with one proven WR and bad TE play does still require him to play great.

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Handsback's picture

January 10, 2020 at 08:38 am

Before that NFC championship game in Seattle, it was clear that Green Bay's oline was strong and the team's health was great except for Rodgers. I said then Green Bay should win by more than 10 points but wasn't sure how their ST would affect the outcome. We know that outcome and the memory is still irritating.

This year I'm looking at a similar healthy team, except the QB has diminished skills. The oline is formidable for the Packers, the dline is also pretty good as well as the DBs. Their pass rush is very good so I'm back to the game's outcome. Unlike 2014, Green Bay's ST is better and could POSITIVELY be a difference in the game in a good way.

I really think Green Bay wins this by over 10 points. I really don't care if they win it by 1, I'm content and surprised to see them make it this far.
GO PACK GO!

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Packers0808's picture

January 10, 2020 at 08:40 am

Really wonder what Lynch has left and his roll after another week of planning for him! Just keep him corralled and the Packers play within themselves and should collect a good win!

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Lphill's picture

January 10, 2020 at 09:44 am

The first Packer drive will set the tone for the rest of the game. If they get a few first downs and some points then that’s a good sign , if they go 3 and out and maybe lose yards then we’re in for a long day.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 10, 2020 at 09:44 am

Maggie, the narrative in a few days is going to change. Either we’re going to be talking about the 49ers or we’re going to talk about next year.

Either way, this has been a really good season. If we can improve in the offseason then next season should be really good too.

Rodgers is our QB and if we protect him he’ll take care of the ball and run the offense and occasionally make a big throw. To me, that means more running and better blocking. A good defense makes it so we don’t have to score a lot of points and our defense could be the league’s best next year with a few key additions.

This is a good time to be a Packer fan. ........ a lot better than some other seasons.

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mnbadger's picture

January 10, 2020 at 01:54 pm

Well said Maggie. Nothing matters but the final score on Sunday.

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PatrickGB's picture

January 10, 2020 at 03:34 pm

I don’t think that this team can pull off a win against the Seahawks on Sunday. Our offense is still learning how to play in the new coaches scheme. Of course I will be happy if they win. More than happy.

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Turophile's picture

January 10, 2020 at 05:27 pm

While you sometimes have to look at the problems on this team (and there are almost always some on display), I do appreciate the generally positive tenor of Maggie Loney's posts. Just remember that occasionally the critic should poke it's head above the battlements.

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WisconsinStrong's picture

January 10, 2020 at 05:57 pm

Maggie is my favorite Cheesehead TV writer by far. She manages to be a clear and compelling analyst while fundamentally expressing Packers love. Like Nagler, Wes, and Spoff, she finds the balanced and yet motivational perspective we crave. I needed this article tonight. Keep up the great writing and keep carrying the "G," Maggie! Go Pack Go!!!

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Ovent1965's picture

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harryolder's picture

May 15, 2020 at 05:16 am

what a great!

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harryolder's picture

May 15, 2020 at 05:17 am

i like it

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