Playoffs? Are You Kidding Me? Playoffs?

Jim Mora deserves royalties. Also, the key to stopping the Vikes.

 

This Packers season suddenly has a pulse, and Green Bay faithful are  filled with the kinds of daydreams that come with buying a lotto ticket when the jackpot is $100 million.

Yes, the odds of reaching the playoffs are a little better, but the consequences are vastly different. Hit Powerball and you’re rich, with some tax issues. Reach the playoffs with this team and you hit yet another early-round buzzsaw, and go from having a top-10 draft pick to one in the 20s. 

Here’s the thing: The Packers aren’t the Panthers, the Lions, the Jets or the Jaguars, for whom merely making the playoffs is an important milestone. For Green Bay it’s winning the Super Bowl or it’s yet another bust, and the odds of that happening this year are as long as winning that lottery jackpot.

I admit, I thought Miami would be where this winning streak to nowhere would end. But that was before Tua pulled on a Santa suit at halftime and delivered three interceptions in glittery green and gold wrapping. 

Nothing about the Miami game shows the Packers can get through a post-season gantlet, or even past the Vikings and Lions to get there. Green Bay averaged 3.2 yards per carry and 9.9 through the Florida air. One of their best plays on offense, the deep completion to Marcedes Lewis, was another Christmas gift, this time from the refs who did not see the ball jar loose as he hit the ground. And the Packers appear genetically incapable of getting touchdowns from inside the red-zone.  

Meanwhile, the defense gave up 270 yards in the first half, and can we please dispense with the “Joe Barry made the right adjustments at halftime” nonsense? The Dolphins had four possessions in the second half, three of them being the picks a grandmother could have made and which had nothing to do with scheme.

I don’t enjoy being Debbie Downer, and like all Packer fans, I can’t help but root hard for them in the moment. Let’s just be clear-eyed that each of these meaningless wins adds to a bill that will come due in the offseason. 

Nonetheless, we’re trapped on this obstacle course now, and next in our way are the Purple People. A couple of things are in Green Bay’s favor:

— It’s a home game.

— The Viking defense has been mediocre or worse most of the year.

— Minnesota’s O-line is a bit banged up.

On the other hand, Za'Darius Smith will again be loaded for bear. The Packers will need to match his intensity. And Minnesota's offense is loaded. We all know about Jefferson and what he did in week 1. Dalvin Cook is capable of wreaking havoc against any team, let alone one that struggles against the run. 

But the X factor is TJ Hockenson. Why Detroit traded him within the division is inexplicable. Not only is Hockenson dangerous, he stresses the defense trying to cover everyone else. Top tight ends are difference makers. It will be interesting to see how Barry tries to contain him. If the Packers don't, Kirk Cousins is capable of shredding Green Bay’s defense like so much cheese. 

How would you do it?

__________________________
Jonathan Krim grew up in New York but got hooked on the Packers — and on hating the Cowboys — watching the Ice Bowl as a young child.  He blames bouts of unhappiness in his late teens on Dan Devine. A journalist for several decades who now lives in California, he enjoys trafficking in obscure cultural references, lame dad jokes and occasionally preposterous takes. Jonathan is a Packers shareholder, and insists on kraut with his brats. You can follow Jonathan on twitter at @Jkrim.

5 points
 

Comments (40)

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

December 30, 2022 at 06:28 am

Put Alexander on Jefferson and play 3 down lineman and a lot of Wyatt is the key.

2 points
5
3
egbertsouse's picture

December 30, 2022 at 07:45 am

Jefferson would torch Jaire one-on-one, unless it was a trash-talking contest. They better have a safety over the top on every play and hope Dalvin Cook doesn’t run for 200.

2 points
3
1
Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:12 am

I think Jaire on Jefferson would be a fun matchup to watch. Alexander has the athleticism, can he deliver?

The run game approach is less obvious, but I don’t see a lot if 2DL being the answer though I can see it being Barry’s, particularly with Hockenson’s addition.

2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

December 30, 2022 at 11:03 am

Campbell will have to man up Hockenson and provide Pro Bowl form. If Barry sits in zone, they will be annihilated. Best result is the offense grinds out drives and scores TDs in lieu of FGs.

3 points
3
0
LLCHESTY's picture

December 31, 2022 at 08:42 am

Walker has actually been better in coverage than Campbell, albeit in a much smaller sample size(48% completion percentage and 55 QB rating given up, 3.2 yards per target). His blitzing numbers have surpassed Campbell's in the 2nd half of the season too.

0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:24 am

Every quality WR wins more than they lose, even against high-end CBs. The league is set up that way.

5 points
5
0
mrtundra's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:24 am

Jefferson will almost act like a decoy. He will get his catches, no doubt, but we cannot ignore Osborn and Theilen on short yardage plays and Hockenson, as well, under the coverage. If our Defense can pressure Kark, we can create turnovers. Kirk can get rid of the ball, with accuracy, so our DBs and LBs have to be ready for those late-in- the-play throws, he'll try to make when pressured. We cannot have Barry play his soft zone scheme, against these guys. Their receivers will eat us alive. Cook can be stopped. Our Defense has done it before. I look for Quay Walker to have a big role in defeating these posers. Preston, Kenny C, Jarred, Slaton and Wyatt all have to get to Kark and plug the running lanes. We will need a Safety over the top of Jefferson to help Jaire, which gives us another pair of hands to force a turnover. Do this for 4 quarters and we are one game closer to making the playoffs. I pray that Watson and Nixon are healthy enough to play. Rudy Ford, too! If Watson cannot play, I hope Doubs, Lazard and Toure realize the significance of this game and play well. GO PACK, GO!!!

3 points
3
0
dobber's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:35 am

I think you're right--you want to mix up coverages,, put the ball in Cousins' hands and force him to win the game. If you can rough him up, you can get in his head--that's the common denominator in their losses. He hasn't had a truly "Kark" game for awhile. He's due.

1 points
1
0
jannes bjornson's picture

December 30, 2022 at 11:05 am

Blitz Ford from the slot. He is a liability in deep coverage.

0 points
0
0
Fubared's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:35 am

then where is our pass rush? We dont have three guys who can pass rush. The good ones cost to much.

-4 points
0
4
croatpackfan's picture

December 30, 2022 at 06:50 am

"How would you do it?"

I'll watch the game. If Packers will win, I'll be happy for them, fan base and because it is win. If Packers will lose, I'll be happy for better draft position and for changes that will come because of the losing season. But I'll be nervous because I trully believe Packers true GM (MM) is inept at that position.

That's all.

4 points
5
1
Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:25 am

I agree, this is a flawed team and primarily because it’s a walking contradiction as a roster and the coaches can’t get the most out of their talent. Two very weak teams and a gift from the Dolphins. Against a poor passing D we showed few ideas and weren’t very effective on O against them.

The over reliance on Cobb and Lazard is a blind alley and just tends to put our only real outlet in the firing line while the O splutters. If Watson isn’t fully healthy will we just go all passive in the passing game or actually try to use Doubs and, god forbid, Toure?

If Jones is still impaired, are we willing to run Taylor? He excels as a hard pounding up the gut back. He and Dillon could really grind them down given time. What are the chances we stick with that when it doesn’t get immediate yards?

I read that we are avoiding watching the first game defensive performance , deeming it a “fluke”. If that’s true, it wouldn’t be the first time a LaFleur team makes the same errors against the same opponent. I don’t believe in flukes. I believe in knowing why they occurred and why they won’t reoccur, particularly when that “fluke” has echoed all season. Then again I don’t believe in this coaching staff, starting with LaFleur.

8 points
8
0
mnbadger's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:01 am

Perfectly stated CW, from beginning to end of your comment.
Flukes are when a ball bounces off a referee's head into the hands of an open receiver. You don't prepare for flukes.
The GBPkrs damn well better prepare for the vikings offense because they can execute far better than our defense if we stand back and let them do it. Are you listening jbarry?
GPG!

2 points
2
0
Fubared's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:34 am

YOur right about MM and thats the problem he's enept and will not make coaching changes cause it makes him look bad. Gutt was his choice and so was Barry. Ergo he must be a genius.

1 points
2
1
stockholder's picture

December 30, 2022 at 07:44 am

Everyone is the key now. Clark, Alexander, Campbell ,Douglass. No time off guys. We waited all year to beat the Vikings!

4 points
7
3
mrtundra's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:26 am

Damn straight! It's all hands on deck for the biggest game of the season!

1 points
1
0
dobber's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:17 am

The Vikings have been dancing on the edge of the knife all season long and have been coming up aces (this is actually where the Packers excelled under LaFleur in 19, 20, 21--winning one-score games--and how did that turn out?).

They aren't the same team--especially on defense--away from the glass monstrosity. Their losses all have the same things in common: Cook was held in check and defenses hassled Cousins (even if they didn't sack him a lot). They haven't played a game outside since Halloween. Any given week they're ripe for that bubble to burst.

Packers need to get physical, punch the Vikes in the mouth, and not let up for 60 minutes. Can they do that?

5 points
5
0
croatpackfan's picture

December 30, 2022 at 01:51 pm

Can they?

0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

December 30, 2022 at 07:51 am

For me it’s not just about playoffs. I just enjoy the game more when the Packers win. I knew that, with all the changes, the team would struggle. Much of the struggles have been due to changes in personal and coaches. So I never got on the “fire every one” bandwagon. I figured that any adjustments would take time. My biggest worry was how we would be able to fit key players salary under the cap restrictions. The team did better than I expected for this year. However, next year it’s going to be even tougher. That’s what bothers me. I never expected this season’s team to do as well as last season. Now I worry next year might be worse.

-2 points
1
3
egbertsouse's picture

December 30, 2022 at 07:57 am

Unless Barry snuck in the Dolphins locker room and hit Tua in the head, he didn’t do squat at halftime.

This writer has it right. The Packers will most likely back into the playoffs and get their asses handed to them in the first game. Murphy and Gute will declare victory and break the bank signing Lowry, Lewis, and the rest of the JAG free agents. Rodgers will diddle around yakking about retirement and Murphy will throw another few million at him. Next year will be a rerun of this year. Groundhog Day.

-1 points
3
4
Fubared's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:32 am

This team aint going to the playoffs. Its not good enough

-5 points
1
6
Philarod's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:02 am

"Let’s just be clear-eyed that each of these meaningless wins adds to a bill that will come due in the offseason."

I won't make this three-game win streak out to be more than it is, BUT it could be 60% of what's needed to get the pack into the postseason. Hardly meaningless even if they fall short of that or get in, and lose in the first round.

One could say that it keeps Jordan Love off the field, in addition to yielding a worse draft position, but I don't know what to make of that first factor and also don't put that much faith in our draft picks. I still want a playoff berth.

3 points
4
1
Coldworld's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:32 am

We all want a playoff berth. We like to have packer football. That’s because we are fans and we want our fix now. In my view we will regret it next year and beyond though. This team is overdue for facing reality not trying to justify hanging on to a past it has overpaid forward for.

2 points
4
2
dobber's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:22 am

It's not quite like college football where that extra month of practice prior to a bowl game for a 6-6 team can make a huge difference in developing depth and players for the following season--especially now, where so many players jump ship on bowl games to prep for the draft.

I don't worry about draft position--the Packers are already in that no-man's land of the mid-round that has a pretty flat player talent profile. But for a team like the Packers with younger guys having staked claims on, or posed to take over, leading roles in 2023, any extra weeks against potent opponents can make a difference not just in cohesion but in player assessment. Just stay healthy.

5 points
5
0
LLCHESTY's picture

December 31, 2022 at 08:49 am

Andy Herman pointed out this week that almost 25% of the team is rookies(13 of 53). Getting their feet wet in the playoff waters can't hurt. Learning experience for them no matter what happens.

0 points
0
0
Fubared's picture

December 30, 2022 at 08:30 am

The keys to stopping the Vikes:
1. Have linebackers with speed to keep the edge on Cook
2. Have linebackers with mobility to drop in coverage for their quick tight ends
3. Have two cover corners and some tall fast safeties who can close
4. Have an O line that can run block and give your QB time to throw against their very fast and mobile team of pass rushers.
5. Keep them from getting inside the 41 so they cant kick 61 yard field goals all day long.
6. Have a pass rush that can pressure Cousins without relying on your linebackers who need to cover tight ends

If you have all the above you can beat these guys. OOPS

-5 points
2
7
LLCHESTY's picture

December 31, 2022 at 08:51 am

Said like a true Vikings fan.

0 points
0
0
Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:01 am

Jonathan, stop making sense. I don’t want to read all these (accurate) statements. Why won’t you just let me be in my little world where the Pack reincarnates the 2010 season and we march to the super bowl? I like it here.

6 points
7
1
dobber's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:44 am

This feels more like 2016 to me, assuming the Packers make it. Took their beatings through the middle part of the schedule, warmed up at the end. Big difference was the 2016 team won the division, but a flawed team, worked through injuries.

3 points
3
0
pacman's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:47 am

How did they let you squeeze this 'downer' article in? Even though this site is independent, the tilt does seem to always be 'root root root for the home team'.

It seems pretty clear that most agree that there are serious problems in GB management that might not happen if there was a real single owner. So that's not going to change. It also seems pretty clear that there are significant coaching issues - from MLF down the chain. And we have an aging QB whose performance has unexpectedly dropped after MVP seasons and we are in cap hell.
So that completes all the bad news.

What change/fix should we make first?
At this point, my head explodes from trying to answer the question with no real information of what's going on.

So, I fall back to 'root root root for the home team' - LOL!
The one thing I know is that at this point, I would really love to not get blown out by MN this Sunday which I see as a very real possibility. I don't expect a win and I don't expect to get to the SB. In my dreams, AR has been controlling the whole season just to get to this point and become the ultimate hero and win the SB. If he does that, I won't complain about him any more.

Have a great weekend everyone. GPG!

1 points
2
1
The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

December 30, 2022 at 11:21 pm

A blowout from the Vikings is exactly what this team needs. Change usually doesnt happen until being faced with profound embarrassment. A no-show vs the Vikes may be the final straw to convince the dumbasses in the front office that "running it back" is no longer a viable option. Never in my life have I ever hoped for the Packers to lose, but at this point rooting for them to win is worse. Theyre only delaying the inevitable by continuing this charade of pissing in the fans' faces and convincing them its sweet milk.

1 points
1
0
Lphill's picture

December 30, 2022 at 09:48 am

maybe HA Ha will be active.

1 points
1
0
HawkPacker's picture

December 30, 2022 at 11:41 am

I see that he is signing a one day contract to retire as a packer. Maybe the one day contract will be signed Sunday and then he can play.

1 points
1
0
Since'61's picture

December 30, 2022 at 07:45 pm

The Packers can't reach the playoffs this weekend. They can't beat the Lions this week. They only need to win this game. One game at a time. Beat the Vikings and see where we're at. The Packers need help even if they win their two remaining games.

To win against the Vikings the Packers will need to win at the LOS on both sides of the ball. Run the ball, play action passes require solid OL play to move the sticks and keep the Vikings offense off the field. On defense stop the run and pressure the QB. Get off the field on 3rd down will be a key to this game. That begins with solid play on first and second down. The Packers defense needs to show some new looks they haven't used this season. Blitz more often and utilize different coverage schemes. No matter what keep Alexander on Jefferson. Clark, Reed and Wyatt need to start and take the majority of the DL snaps. Get pressure form the interior of the DL and move Cousins off his spot. He is not very mobile and force into poor throws and turnovers.

Offense needs effective Red Zone plays. What the Packers have been doing inside the 10 has not been working. Bring in an extra Tackle and go with a power run play with Dillon carrying the ball. Throw high passes that Lewis and Watson can go up and get. Play tough, play smart and play for 60 minutes. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
2
0
Starrbrite's picture

December 31, 2022 at 12:35 am

Does anyone believe the Vikings are a some unstoppable juggernaut?—-not me!
They are the worst 12-3 team ever assembled, and have been on the brink of defeat in every game.
Do they have talent—yes, no one denies this, but they have convinced no one they can win more than one game in the playoffs.
I see us playing with as much fervor as as all year long—I see us winning!
I know a 1000 Viking’s fans—not one of them is super confident they will go into Lambeau and win.
Go Packers—kick their overrated butts back to Minnesota.
Happy New Year!!

3 points
3
0
Starrbrite's picture

December 31, 2022 at 02:17 am

Wups —I failed to mention an additional factor—and I believe the key to the game.
A year long Achilles Heel, our defense must get off the field on 3rd down; especially 3rd and long.
Will we do so?

0 points
0
0
tommynak's picture

December 31, 2022 at 11:12 am

Another article by Krim that paints the bleakest picture. How much longer are they gonna let you write material on this website. Get on board the Packers train or please step off. Yes this towns aspires to be in the Super Bowl but any season that end in the playoffs is better than not. If we draft 10 or 20 who really cares. Good drafts are won in the 2-6 rounds.

-3 points
0
3
Starrbrite's picture

December 31, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Right Tommynak—I could care less where we draft—do the diligent research and make the best choice.
And Packer fans—the most worried host of fans on the planet.
As Ketchem said—“Winsome”.
The handwringing never stops—the caps too high; we never; we can’t; drafting too low; players will be leaving; and on and on.
Just beat the Vikings—we’ll worry later…

0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

December 31, 2022 at 05:13 pm

I disagree. If I want Packer boosting I can go to the team website. Long May different voices speak here unfettered by types who only want to hear what they want to.

0 points
0
0
Starrbrite's picture

December 31, 2022 at 11:05 pm

Agree—all flavors—all opinions, even when most of them are anxious, afraid, worried.

0 points
0
0