Three Quarters Down in 2019

With the Bears beating the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, the Packers are in control of their own destiny heading into the final quarter of the season. Green Bay must beat the Washington Redskins who are statistaically still alive in the playoffs despite a 3-9 record. 

The Packers have played 12 games in 2019, currently sitting with a 9-3 record and in first place in the NFC North. At this point of the 2018 season, Long-tenured head coach Mike McCarthy had just been let go, and the Packers made their way into the fourth quarter of the season with a 4-7-1 record. Under interim head coach Joe Philbin, the Packers went 2-2 to finish the season with a 6-9-1 record, their second losing record in two seasons.

In 2019, Green Bay is 3-0 in the NFC North in 2019, compared to a 1-2-1 record at this same point in 2018. Historically, quarterback Aaron Rodgers plays some of his best football in December. His performance on Dec. 1 against the Giants further emphasized that, with Rodgers going as far as to joke that playing in the snow levels the conditions for him when he’s running. 

On the day, Rodgers had 21 completions for 243 yards and four touchdowns, good for a rating of 125.4.

Despite a 3-9 record, the Washington Redskins are on a two-game winning streak and are statistically still alive in the NFC playoff race. With the 6-7 Cowboys losing to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, the Redskins still have an outside shot at winning the division. The Packers know this Washington team is still playing for pride and the chance to knock Green Bay down in the standings. 

The Redskins offense ranks last in the NFL in points per game (14.4), yards per game (262.4) and passing yards per game (163.0). What’s more, Washington hasn’t put up over 200 yards in the passing game since Week 3 against the Chicago Bears when the team had 287 yards through the air. 

Where the Washington offense shines however is on the ground with a dynamic running back duo of Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice. The pair combined for 228 yards on the ground and three touchdowns last week against the Carolina Panthers. 

Defending against the run has been a big challenge for the Packers this season. Green Bay has only held opposing offenses under 100 rushing yards four times this season. The team’s worst performance of the season came against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 when the defense allowed 176 rushing yards. Unsurprisingly, it was the team’s first loss of the season.

That matchup will be challenging for Green Bay, but the team makes up for that in passing defense. Against the Giants last week, the Packers had three interceptions. With another rookie quarterback on the schedule in Washington’s Dwayne Haskins, opportunities will be there for the Packers secondary. 

While the Packers give up plenty of yards per game (defense currently ranks 28th in the league with 376.8), the team is stout in terms of points allowed, ranking in the top half of the league (14th) with 21.2. 

The Packers also are a whopping +11 in turnover differential this year. That’s a stark contrast compared to last year’s 0 in the same category. 

Entering the final four games of the season, Green Bay plays the Redskins as its lone opponent outside of the NFC North. As a whole, the four teams combined have a 21-27-1 record. 

With the Chicago Bears climbing to a 7-6 record, that puts added pressure on Green Bay to at least finish the season 3-1. A streaking Chicago team will travel to Green Bay in Week 15 to try to keep playoff hopes alive. Dropping one game against a divisional opponent still gives the Packers the necessary tiebreaker, as they’d finish with a 5-1 division record and no team can finish with a better record, but the Packers need to finish strong.

The NFC playoff picture is facing an internal gauntlet through this final quarter, with the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints (already clinched), and San Francisco 49ers having to play each other over the next few weeks. 

If the Packers can handle their own business, the first three quarters of the 2019 season have set them up for success heading into this final quarter. The Packers have two home games left to close out the regular season before games at Minnesota and at Detroit. If Aaron Rodgers has any say in these final few Lambeau Field games, let’s hope for snow and cold temperatures. 

That said, the Washington Redskins are coming in hot (as hot as a 3-9 team can) with something to prove, and with Chicago beating the Cowboys yesterday on Thursday Night Football, Washington is still in the playoff hunt. This is Green Bay’s chance to create separation between themselves and Chicago before the Week 15 showdown at Lambeau Field that sees a Bears team on a three-game winning streak heading to Green Bay to square off against a foe that bested them Week 1. 

The Packers are in control of their own destiny this final quarter of the season, but so far, the rest of the NFC has done nothing to help the Packers hang onto precious playoff position. If Green Bay intends to be playoff bound in 2019, the team has four games to make things happen. 

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (28)

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Razer's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:12 am

Good article Maggie. Your headline might as well read "shit just got real". We'll see how good this team really is over the next 4 games. Given that teams have seen our weaknesses on defense and tendencies on offense, none of the remaining games will be easy. We can only hope that Rodgers gets enough going on offense to make opponents move off of their gameplans. We have the tools on offense to dominate - it is a question of whether we use them effectively.

On defense, we need another D-lineman to show up down the stretch and a linebacker to distinguish themselves. Either we have the talent on the roster and they've learned enough or our offense will need to pick up the slack. Should be a rollercoaster finish.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:47 am

Is crazy to think that we are already 3/4 of the way through the season. It doesn't seem like that long ago we were talking and wondering about what this offense would look like under LaFleur.

Now that we have 4 games left, I'm curious to see if our play is elevated. When you get to this time of year and start looking to who is going into the playoffs, its all about momentum. The teams that are gaining momentum heading into the playoffs are the most dangerous teams.

Now is the time to gain that momentum. Winning last week at the Giants started that momentum. Can we get the 2 home wins against the Redskins and Bears. And then go on the road the final 2 games against the Vikings and Lions? I think so. If we win all 4 of the remaining games that would give us tons of momentum heading into the playoffs.
We really need to win 3 of the next 4. But to carry the momentum lets go for the sweep!

It all starts Sunday. Against the Redskins. Redskins won't just curl over and die. They have a strong run game. They just beat the Panthers where they held McCaffrey to 44 yards rushing and 58 yards receiving. They have a rookie WR having a tremendous year in McLaurin. This will be a tough game.

This is the time to start playing our best football!

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Hematite's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:58 am

RUN THE TABLE!!!!

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Hematite's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:59 am

RUN THE TABLE!!!!

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

December 06, 2019 at 07:05 am

I really don't think the Washington game will be that tough for GB. We just hired our ILB coach away from them so he'll have some added insight of the Redskins as will Preston Smith. Take care of Guice and Peterson and force Haskins to throw the ball. They basically took McCaffrey away against Carolina so hopefully, it's the same result with Guice and Peterson. IF Peterson is playing and it's wet, I'd expect to see the ball on the ground once or twice just like when he was in Minnesota.

My BIGGEST concern will be the Packers looking ahead to next week in against the Bears. They've been preaching going 1-0 each week and have been doing a decent job of it. Just FOCUS on the Redskins THIS week and they should win BIG.

Packers 38 - 13.

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Lphill's picture

December 06, 2019 at 07:57 am

Because the Cowboys lost the Skins are still alive looks like a 8 and 8 or worse team will win the East.

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Guam's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:43 am

If the Packers go 3-1 or better over their final four games, they are guaranteed of one home playoff game and maybe more (i.e. 12-4 or 13-3 and divisional champion). Things get much messier if they go 2-2 over the final four games. Assuming they would beat Washington and Detroit and lose to the Bears and Vikings, the Pack would finish at 11-5 and would have a playoff game, but perhaps not a home playoff game.

If the Vikings finish 4-0 over their final four games (and the Pack go 2-2), the Vikings would win the division. If the Vikings go 3-1, it depends on who they lose to to determine the division champion. If they lose to the Bears or Lions, the Vikings have the worse divisional record (3-3 vs 4-2 for the Packers) and the Packers win the division. If the Vikings lose to the Chargers, I believe the Vikings win the division. The Packers and Vikings would have the same division record and the same record against common opponents, but the Vikings would win on a better conference record (the Vikings beat the Eagles and the Packers lost to the Eagles).

The Pack need to win at least 3! Go Pack Go

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mrtundra's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:20 am

The vikings are not done losing, yet.

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Guam's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:45 am

I agree, I think the Vikings will lose at least one (preferably to the Packers!), but I would rather just see the Pack take care of business and win at least three. I would hate to see the Vikings slide into the divisional championship because they beat the Eagles and we didn't.. Uff da!!!!

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:59 am

What I find interesting is that the 5th seed may have it easier than the 3rd seed. I wouldn't mind playing a road game against Dallas rather than at home against the Vikes or 49ers.

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MaxPayne's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:54 am

Watching that game last night made me think, the Bears will be a lot stronger when we play them with Hicks back and other defense-men back. The Vikes, I see that as a big loss, they have a statement to make and a chip on their shoulders. Wash has won two in a row and is coming around and Detroit? Who knows they may place there fanny off as a spoiler.
Tough road ahead and anyone who thinks this is a cake walk from here is being serious enough.

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Lphill's picture

December 06, 2019 at 09:42 am

The Bears lost the leader of the defense for the rest of the season.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 06, 2019 at 09:17 am

Grind it out. Be boring. Run it into the line.

We are better than Washington and should win if we just don’t beat ourselves.

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Tarynfor12's picture

December 06, 2019 at 09:43 am

The Packers, after 13 weeks of football, still have no idea who they are and neither does any fan or pundit of this team.

Rodgers is calling for fans to get " liquored up and loud " at home against the Redskins. A team that knows itself shouldn't need this calling from the QB for a 3 win team going into the make or break playoff month of December,if that team knows who they are and knows what they want to do.how to do it and confident to get it done.

The Chicago Bears beat down of Dallas last night,though the late garbage time scores by Dallas may say otherwise for the stat dwellers, places a whole new dimension of the game next week in GB and don't try to ignore it or deny it.

GB needs to do it's best to hide those flaws it has on both sides of ball as best it can come Sunday or the Bears and Vikings will certainly gain confidence in their ability to exploit them against the Packers.

One pundit even dared to ask the question whether there should be a collective apology in order to Trubisky. I laughed at that premise but I wasn't laughing as loud about the game to come next week, as I had been, because as the Bears seem to be finding themselves and with their defense getting healthier and the Packers still searching for themselves, GB can be setting themselves up as the butt of the joke and once again in Minn.

There's much more pressure on GB to win Sunday and I hope it's only the fans being liquored up and not the Packers looking like it.

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Timeout's picture

December 07, 2019 at 06:14 am

Rodgers should be more concerned about getting the play off before the clock expires and tabling the hard count. The majority of false starts have come at home.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 06, 2019 at 10:36 am

Just my 2 cents, but I am wary of encouraging drunk fans. It’s fine to cheer loudly, but drunk fans are a pain in the you know what. And what does that say about people from Wisconsin?
On the subject of the game, I don’t think it will be just a cakewalk. The Washington Redskins team have pride too and will do their best.

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Since'61's picture

December 07, 2019 at 08:59 am

One game at a time. Beat the Redskins and go on to the next game. This game is a run the ball, stop the run type of game. The Packers need to stop the Redskins ground game hopefully with better tackling by the defense. On offense run the ball and pass to the RBs. Chew up yardage and clock. Play with a lead and force the Skins to go to the pass. Make the Skins one dimensional and get a few sacks and TOs.

We're playing at home with a healthy team. No prisoners, no excuses. Go out and win the game, take care of business one week at a time. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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scullyitsme's picture

December 06, 2019 at 11:56 am

This one is about getting up early. If we do that it’ll be a rout. Haskins is a turn over machine. They’ll play a big defense and make Haskins beat them. Probably see our actual 3-4 for most of the game, at least I hope so.

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Qoojo's picture

December 06, 2019 at 01:26 pm

The last quarter of the season is the money quarter due to 3 out of 4 games against division teams.

The last wild card spot is between

*Seahags 10 wins
*Whiners 10 wins
Queens 8 wins
Rams 7 wins
Bears 7 wins (extra game played)

where either Seahags and Whiners win their division, and we know the packers will win the division and currently have 9 wins.

It's looking like it will take 11 wins to get the last wild card spot. If something blasphemous should happen, and say the packers lose to the Queens, then it could take 12 wins for the last wildcard spot.

If both the packers and queens end with 12 wins, I think the packers win the division due to the better division record. Which means, packers win 3 out of the 4, they win the division.

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Mojo's picture

December 06, 2019 at 01:40 pm

As with every year, my hopes for any given season is one of two things; whatever combination of wins and losses that leads GB to a SB win or absent that, Minney does not win the SB.

Looking at Minney's cap situation next year, it appears they will have some tough decisions to make unless they can renegotiate a number of contracts. As of right now, they would be over-the projected cap by around $1.2 mil (compared to GB's $25.7 under-the cap). Griffins cap hit versus dead money cap hit is over $13 mil, Joseph over $10 mil and H. Smith over $8 mil. If they want any cap flexibility they'll need a number of key players to take hometown discounts or bite the bullet and cut a number of them. I think after this year they are in a retooling mode. Which is why GB needs to apply the coup de grâce this year.

I believe this will be Minney's best chance for a number of years going forward which is why knocking them out this season would be especially satisfying.

MLF and the boys know what they have to do. Now go do it.

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stockholder's picture

December 06, 2019 at 02:18 pm

In 1969, Lombardi became their coach after 14 losing seasons. Joe Gibbs gave up and went to Nascar. When someone mentions Redskins now, I think of Redskin Beer Nuts first. They may have gotten their name in 1933. But they have never shown that their an advanced and aggressive power in the NFL. So strategically speaking, 3 and 9 still says LOSER. Proving something their not, doesn't make them Hot. It will only take a bomb or two from Arron Rodgers, to get the packers sky High. Why worry about nothing. The Packers will eat the Redskins up this game!

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sam1's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:33 pm

Just don't get into a trap game, please!

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ShooterMcGee's picture

December 06, 2019 at 06:56 pm

The Redskins will be a real test for our defense to see if we can stop the run. They often deploy 6 O-lineman to pound the ball. It will be interesting to see how Petine schemes against them. Do we play 4 D-lineman? Do we have the ILBs to stop the run? We know what's coming but can we stop it?
The Bears game scares me. Their defense is legit even with some injuries. They have backups better than our starteson the d-line and at ILB. We won't be able to score many points and their offense is improving. Tough game.
Then off to Minny where the Vikings will be pumped to play us. Cousins was atrocious in the beginning of the season but now is playing great. Add the running of Dalvin Cook and it might be a long day.
Finally we finish in Detroit. Although they have a bad record they play other teams tough, even with their backup QBs. They have a lot of talented players all over the field. This is not an automatic win.
I see the Redskins game as a must win because the next 2 games will be losses. Then its on to Detroit to make the playoffs with 11 wins. Sure hope I am wrong though.

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splitpea1's picture

December 06, 2019 at 08:22 pm

Be aggressive and build a big lead through the first two and a half quarters so we can get some of starters out and save them for the more challenging games ahead. Sorry--no respect for the Redskins here.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

December 07, 2019 at 02:40 am

Stop the run and pressure the QB and force 3rd and long situations. There will be opportunities for turnovers. On offense spread the wealth and convert on 3rd downs. Take what the defense gives you and don't throw 40+ yards when all you need is 2 or 3 to move the sticks. No penalties at critical times. And never, ever, underestimate your opponent. Go! Pack! Go!

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Pierre's picture

December 07, 2019 at 09:22 am

The key to the Packers winning versus the Redskins is Rodgers sustaining drives for TDs. He needs to get a 6-7 yard pass completion when it’s 3rd and 4-5 yards and not throw it 40 yards down field in those situations and go ‘3 and out’ on offense.

The Packer defense needs to rest a lot more as the offense does not control the time of possession in games enough. This is on Rodgers to keep his offense converting 1st downs going downfield and being efficient in the passing game. If you see repeated 3 and outs by the Packers offense, take it as a warning sign the defense will tire and the opponent has a good chance to keep a game close...and win...even at Lambeau.

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