The Packers Can't Let Their Foot Off The Gas

How will Green Bay respond after beating the defending Super Bowl champions?

During a regular season matchup against the Oakland Raiders in Week 7 of the 2019 season, a 42-24 victory for the Green and Gold, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Mic’d Up and was heard saying on the headset, “All gas, no f—ng brake.” It became a team mantra for the remainder of the season, one that catapulted them to the NFC Championship Game, albeit a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The prophecy of that mantra was nowhere to be found on the field earlier this season because, frankly, the car did not work. Quarterback Jordan Love made poor decision after poor decision with the football. There was no semblance of a rushing attack. And the defense did not do nearly enough to overcome the team’s struggles on the offensive side of the ball. All of that now seems like a distant memory. The metaphoric car is working and is working quite well as the Packers are riding a three-game winning streak, with two of those victories coming against two of the best teams in the NFL. 

The blessing and the curse of the NFL, though, is that it truly is Any Given Sunday, where a team jockeying for one of the top picks can upset a playoff-worthy team in any given week. Take the Arizona Cardinals, for example. They fit the definition of a rebuilding team to a tee, and yet two of their three wins this season have come against the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both are those squads are currently fifth in the playoff standings in their respective conferences. So while the New York Giants, the Packers’ Week 14 opponent on Monday Night Football Night, are 4-8 and on pace to secure a top-ten selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, LaFleur stressed the importance of preparation, no matter who the opponent is. (Context: LaFleur was asked whether he thought teams would devote more time in the film room to try to stop Jordan Love given his recent success.)

“I can only speak for us (and) how we prepare, but I think you prepare the same for each opponent that you’re going up against each and every game,” LaFleur said during his Monday media availability session. “This is the NFL, and so you better prepare like you’re playing the best quarterback in the league each and every week. Otherwise, (there is) the potential to get embarrassed out there.” 

According to the Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, LaFleur also bluntly stated after last week’s victory against the Chiefs, “We’re a .500 football team. That’s where we’re at. That’s the reality of it. Yeah, we’ve had two pretty good back-to-back wins. But you’re only as good as your last game. I do know this: You better show up each and every week in this league. Otherwise, you’re going to get knocked off because we see it every week.”

LaFleur is saying all the right things, but it is important to call a spade a spade: the Giants are a bad football team. They are the worst team in the league based on DVOA. They are on their third-string quarterback, Tommy DeVito, a cult hero among Giant fans who will make his fourth start in a row despite Tyrod Taylor being activated from the injured reserve list. While DeVito has thrown six touchdowns to one interception in three starts, he has been the worst quarterback in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play and second-to-last in success rate since Week 9, according to Zach Kruse. Their offensive line has allowed the most sacks in the NFL, 11 more than the second-place Washington Commanders (58) who have played 13 total games to the Giants’ 12. Wink Martindale’s defense also ranks near the bottom in practically every defensive category, although they rank fifth in third-down defense, allowing their opponents to convert first downs at a 35.1% clip. 

But no matter how bad the Giants are on paper, they are playing with house money, especially with Martindale as defensive coordinator, who loves to dial up all-out blitzes more than someone playing Madden. Yes, the front office is likely OK with the team on the field losing as many games as possible, which would catapult the franchise to a better draft selection, but the players – and coaches – rarely have that same mindset. Simply put, the job stability for those individuals is not nearly as secure as it is for front office members around the NFL, generally speaking anyway. Moreover, if the team feels that a player is dogging it and is already looking forward to an offseason vacation, he may be out of a job the following year, or at the very least pushed down the depth chart. Thus, LaFleur & Co. cannot afford to overlook head coach Brian Daboll & Co. because it should be expected that New York will give Green Bay its very best as the Giants look to increase their own winning streak to three games. It has all the makings of a trap game for the Packers on the road. 

In short order, the Packers went from the hunter to the hunted, to a degree, as one of the hottest teams in the league. Let’s see how this young team responds and whether “All gas, no f—ng brake” is apparent on the field. 

__________________________

Rex is a lifelong Packers fan but was sick of the cold, so he moved to the heart of Cowboys country. Follow him on Twitter (@Sheild92) and Instagram (@rex.sheild). 

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9 points
 

Comments (27)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Savage57's picture

December 10, 2023 at 07:33 am

Matt's finally figured out the way this offense runs best is when he uses a lot of motion and throws on early downs to get ahead of the chains. That's led to productivity on early possessions and the D being afforded a lead to defend.

Keep the accelerator mashed to the floor.

7 points
7
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The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

December 11, 2023 at 12:57 pm

I think hes always known that. The problem earlier in the season was too many penalties. Seemed like every drive was 2nd and 20 or 3rd and 15. They cleaned the penalties up and now look like a competent nfl offense.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

December 10, 2023 at 07:47 am

THIS is the epitome of a "Trap Game" for the Packers. A back-up to the back-up QB playing. An O-Line who's bad from LT to RT and all points in-between, and a Defense who traded their BEST player to Seattle (Leonard Williams) before the deadline. Everywhere I listen or read about GB this weeks it's all about the TRAP.

But I think the Packers will be ready to play just like they've been ready the last several weeks. This team is too young to know what a trap game is or fall into that. THIS team is starting to find out just how good they can be. If anything, this team is more ready to play than any other game this season. At least that's what I'm hoping.

If given the chance TAKE THE BALL...Do not defer the kickoff if you win the toss. That offense that couldn't get a 1st down let alone a TD in the first half has been replaced with a bunch of kids who continue to get better with experience. It doesn't happen overnight, but it's been happening a hell of a lot faster than I thought it would have around week 6.

Even though I said at the start of the season Packers fans needed to be patient this year, it was going to take time. I must admit I certainly didn't practice what I preached around week 6 or 7 because I was ready to FIRE em ALL. Gute, LaFleur, and the rest of this staff. But Laleur has shown me something these last several weeks. His offense is FUN again. It looks like the offense that we all some of in 2019. But now with Jordan Love MLF can FINALLY run his offense. LaFleur deserves to be the HC next season which is something I wasn't thinking week 6 or even last season.

This is just the START of something special at 1265 Lombardi Ave. This is just going to keep getting better and better as ALL this young talent get better and better. I still think the Packers need to upgrade the coaching staff in several areas like the O-Line and OC. But for now, lets just beat the Giants.

GPG!

13 points
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3
Tundraboy's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:09 am

"This team is too young to know what a trap game is or fall into that. THIS team is starting to find out just how good they can be. If anything, this team is more ready to play than any other game this season. At least that's what I'm hoping."

You got it! Never thought I'd say this but I really want to win this game bad. I would like nothing more than a hat trick by winning and shutting up a few giant fans I know. I am kind of surrounded by them. But, to wallop them with our up and coming young team would make my year! Oh and on Monday night!!

7 points
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NickPerry's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:42 am

Hey TB... Well for your sake for sure I'm positive the Packers will deliver. I really don't think this team will get caught up in trap games or even pressure. They win Monday Night and I think they will, the 2023 Packers are playing with house money.

Most had them at 6 wins, some 7 wins, and on a few of the more optimistic Packers sites or "Experts" had them at 8 maybe 9. If they win just 3 of the next 5 they'll have 9 wins, more than the Rodgers led 2022 Packers. 4 more and it's 10!

0 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 10, 2023 at 01:55 pm

11-6 😎

1 points
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1
HawkPacker's picture

December 10, 2023 at 12:54 pm

Nick, I just wanted us to know if Love was our QB of the future this year. I did not expect them to look as good as they have looked as they are so young and have had so many injuries. They are so much fun to watch and I try not to get too excited come game time but it is hard not to get excited as they are playing good football and they are so much to watch!

I am leaning to the conclusion that Love is our guy which really makes it much easier to rebuild this year and next in order to continue to make the playoffs and dare I say--the Super bowl.

5 points
6
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NickPerry's picture

December 10, 2023 at 07:29 pm

Me too Hawk. If this continues to progress like it has been and I'm hoping, 2024 and 2025 could really be special.

3 points
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vin0770's picture

December 10, 2023 at 09:28 pm

Trap game absolutely! I’d take the 6.5 pnts and NY. Daboll vs Barry feels like a miss match to me…I’m concerned.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 11, 2023 at 12:13 pm

Exactly why I don't bet. Too much can happen.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:39 am

Just don't be the Steelers and they will win!

1 points
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TxFred's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:47 am

Petal to the metal! Roll this stuff & get the hell out of there.
Play hard & you play healthy.
GPG !!!!

-2 points
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PatrickGB's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:54 am

I’m with Matt on this. In the past The Packers have played so so football against weaker opponents. That was then and this is now. So it’s time to keep up the momentum and play like they did against the Lions and the Chiefs. The Giants have had a week off to prepare and they will give their best. We need to avoid a letdown and keep the momentum going.

5 points
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mrtundra's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:58 am

GO PACK, GO!!!

3 points
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Dragon5's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:03 am

Confidence. While pressure is the great performance equalizer, confidence is dynamically concocted with wins not just in the standings column, but with perseverance in mental/physical/psychological battleground to succeed at the highest level of a competitive sport. Confidence is a wonder drug--the foundation bearing the weight of RELAX and CHILLAX campaigns as dangerous underdogs, as well as chiseled Goliaths that the 49ers appear to showcase. Make no mistake this remarkable mid-season turn around has even the most chiding pundits flabbergasted, myself included. One can easily get lost in the short game, for which I feel many of Curd Nation has already helplessly embraced. It's difficult for fans to resist the hype; it's fatal for players. There are many litmus tests of will on deck regardless of our "labeled" opponents. We are only weeks removed from the stubborn, fugly warts displayed by management, coaching, and players alike...warts rarely disappear after one treatment. Embrace the long game, the coaching mentality of "trust the process." Stay grounded on the journey, celebrate small wins, but never lose sight of the goal; boast only when the peak is reached and most importantly, reflect on the effort, execution, and discipline that guided the summit's ascent.

0 points
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2
splitpea1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:10 am

Whatever the Giants are doing with their pass defense, it doesn't seem to be too effective. They have the second highest blitz rate in the league at 41%, yet the third-lowest sack total with 21; they also score mostly low in other QB harassment statistics and are 28th in rushing defense.

Bottom line: We should be able to beat this team if we don't get careless or sloppy with the ball. I'm expecting good games from Gary and P. Smith, and just to add a little gravy, a breakout game for Van Ness if given the opportunity.

6 points
6
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 10, 2023 at 01:57 pm

Pass rush, VIOLENCE in the backfield!!

0 points
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1
Since'75's picture

December 10, 2023 at 02:46 pm

Splitpea is correct.....

As pathetic as the Giants defense is, the offense is even worse.

Look for Gary and company to get some sacks, they come in bunches for Gary unfortunately, but this should be another bunch.

The Packer defense is facing the Giants 32nd ranked offense that averages 13.3 PPG, facing a rookie UDFA QB in Tommy Devito.

Translation: If the Packers lose this game, expect me to reach 1,300 down votes in quick record breaking fashion.
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Seems the girls are getting a head start...lol 🙎🏻‍♀️👱🏻‍♀️🍼👶🏻😢

2 points
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cheesehead1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:35 am

There are no givens in this league, just look at the Steelers who lost to 2-10 Arizona and 2-10 NE at home. Our run D is still a big concern. I just don’t have much faith in our D coordinator.

5 points
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Since'75's picture

December 10, 2023 at 03:05 pm

I'm going down a different road.......

I get it about the run D, but if you look at the big picture, results matter.

The Packers have the 9th best scoring defense in the league.

Say what you will and i respect that, but with the right offense and running game, this defense can get you to a Championship game.
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Just curious.......

Will 1st round pick Eric Stokes ever play again?

Knee, hamstring, calf, foot, etc....

Where/when does it end with this guy?

After a somewhat promising rookie season, his next season saw his play drop ought of sight, now.....so is he.

3 points
3
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Spock's picture

December 10, 2023 at 12:11 pm

I made this comment in "The Lass word" column, so apologies for the repetition:

"I'm liking the "this is the standard" words from MLF. He, like Mike M., seems to have a pretty good handle on keeping the team in the "one game at a time" mindset. I will say he's improved in that area as in some previous years (especially after byes and mini byes) his teams were sometimes coming out 'flat'. I haven't seen that this year. All MLF needs to do is remind the team that they've lost half their games, and this game would put them back into the hole they were in after the 4-game losing streak. That should be motivation enough for these youngsters who almost all came from winning programs in college. These kids have pride and want to be good. I love this team! GPG!

I think the "Trap Game" aspect won't be there with the quotes from MLF about being a .500 team.

2 points
2
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Since'75's picture

December 10, 2023 at 02:55 pm

A trap game is a handy excuse for....we lost.

To me, there is no such thing as a trap game.

This is the NFL.

If you don't come ready to play once a week in the NFL, maybe you'd be more valuable stocking shelves at your local Walmart.
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Nice job girls, keep up the good work!! 👩🏻‍🦰👱🏻‍♀️ 👍🍦🍪

0 points
2
2
Qoojo's picture

December 10, 2023 at 02:52 pm

This talk of trap game and ambush is a bit ridiculous. Packers have 2 more wins than the giants and are a .500 team.

This game is about seeing if the packers really figured something out or if the young guys will regress and make the same early season mental mistakes.

4 points
4
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Since'75's picture

December 10, 2023 at 02:58 pm

Yea......
This is a Giants team, that lost to the Jets.

If any team loses to the Giants, it's because they deserved to lose.

I just don't see that being the case for the Packers.

1 points
1
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Grandfathered's picture

December 10, 2023 at 04:10 pm

Another Lions loss, this time its da Bears. The division is still in play, and the Lions are having Goff problems. Its a good time to keep momentum with added incentive.

5 points
5
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GregC's picture

December 10, 2023 at 04:12 pm

Here we go with the "trap game" stuff again. It's as if Packer writers are determined to give the Giants as much bulletin board material as possible. As usual, we get a bunch more garbage stats about how bad the Giants are, when the stats that matter are that the Giants are 4-8 (pretty bad, but hardly disastrous) and have won their last two games. Their QB is playing well, they have one of the best RBs in the league (why was this not even mentioned, especially considering how poorly the Packers have played against the run?), and their defense has been forcing turnovers. Also, the game is in New Jersey. Bottom line: It's probably going to be a close game. The Packers are 6.5 point favorites. That's a difference of ONE PLAY.

3 points
3
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The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

December 11, 2023 at 01:27 pm

Just win, baby.

0 points
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