The Green Bay Packers have basically already secured a playoff spot. They are three games ahead in the NFC North with four games to go. The question isn’t how many games the Packers can win before the end of the season. It’s if they can win them all and secure a first or second seed going into the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers coined his iconic “run the table” phrase during the 2016-2017 season. The Packers were 4-6 and had just lost four games straight. That’s when Rodgers said, “I think we can run the table”.
What happened next? Green Bay won their last six games. They ended 10-6 and won the NFC North. They then beat the New York Giants at home and the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington and made it to the NFC Championship.
Sure, they got dismantled by the Atlanta Falcons and didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. But the main takeaway from that season was that phrase and how they delivered. It probably even kept Mike McCarthy, Dom Capers and Ted Thompson employed for a few extra years.
Let’s break down the last quarter of the current 2020 season to see if it’s possible to win six straight again.
Dec. 13th vs. Lions
The Detroit Lions are 5-7 and tied for last in the division. Green Bay travels to Detroit, which is good for the Packers. The Lions are 1-4 so far at home this season. The Packers are 4-2 on the road so far, and really should have pulled off a win in Indianapolis.
Green Bay is 7.5-point favorites right now. But, I think they have something to prove after almost giving away a lead to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Without a 70-plus yard touchdown run from Aaron Jones, the game could have been a lot closer or even a heartbreaker for the Packers.
I believe the Packers will win pretty easily. The Lions need a new coach, a new general manager, and need players on their team who can stay healthy. Their top wide receiver and rookie running back are hurt and probably shouldn’t play the rest of the year.
Matthew Stafford’s window is possibly closing. He will be 35 when his contract is up in two years, and he has had a lot more injuries than Rodgers during his career. Detroit could be in major trouble if they can’t build a solid team around their quarterback. Green Bay leaves Motown with a victory.
Score Prediction: Packers 31, Lions 17
Dec. 19th vs. Panthers
Green Bay returns home against the Carolina Panthers for a Saturday night game. Like the Lions, the Panthers are also tied for last in their division with a 4-8 record.
And also like Detroit, Carolina has been bit by the injury bug. Running back Christian McCaffrey has been injured multiple times this season. He should be healthy when they play the Packers, but who knows if he will be 100%.
Teddy Bridgewater is back from injury as well, but he’s still getting back into the grove. In Carolina’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater threw for 267 yards, one touchdown and one interception — not exactly impressive numbers almost a year removed from Cam Newton and Kyle Allen. I like Bridgewater’s story and think he is a good quarterback, but he is not the franchise quarterback of the future.
The Panthers aren’t a bad team, but the Packers offense should get it done against the Panthers defense. Carolina is giving up an average of 25 points a game and almost 365 yards on average. The Packers are close for points per game, but way ahead when it comes to yards per game and total yards. The Packers are also second in total offense for yards and yards per game. Carolina is not.
Score Prediction: Packers 24, Panthers 20
Dec. 27th vs. Titans
This is by far the toughest game remaining for the Packers.
Green Bay’s run defense is still something to be desired, and Derrick Henry is a monster. Through 12 games, Henry already has more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last year, he ended with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns. He could definitely improve on those numbers, and that spells trouble for the Packers.
The Tennessee Titans will have plenty to play for as well. They are tied at the top of the AFC South with the Indianapolis Colts at 8-4. Their receiving corps is finally healthy again, and Ryan Tannehill is having a solid year. I am expecting a shoot-out.
The one thing in the Packers’ favor is the Titans defense. Like Green Bay, they are serviceable but not perfect. Green Bay is around the middle of the pack when it comes to defensive stats, while the Titans are near the bottom third. They are dead last in interceptions and passing touchdowns allowed. I can hear Rodgers and Matt LaFleur drooling already. But will it be enough to topple the Titans?
Score Prediction: Titans 38, Packers 35
Jan. 3rd vs. Bears
Who is tied with Detroit Lions at 5-7 and at the bottom of the NFC North? The Chicago Bears.
The Packers just beat Chicago two weeks ago — and pretty easily at that. They left Lambeau with a score of 41-25, and I can see the same type of game happening again. Green Bay will most likely be battling for a first or second seed in the NFC playoffs. It will be a key game and the Packers better be prepared for it.
I think the Bears will challenge early and their defense will be fired up to help keep some coaches employed. But, Chicago will probably be out of the playoffs by then, and Green Bay will have something to play for. And even though the Bears would love to play spoiler, I don’t see it happening.
Score Prediction: Packers 28, Bears 17
Do I think the Packers can run the table? Absolutely. Will they be able to? Probably not. If they do win against the Titans, you never know if a team like the Panthers or Bears will surprise the green and gold. When the Packers are thrown off their rhythm, sometimes it is hard for them to recover. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers loss might haunt me the rest of this season.
I believe the Packers will end at 12-4 and be the two seed in the NFC. There is a chance they drop to three, but with the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams battling it out and both at 8-4 currently, they can only finish 12-4.
Do I think the Packers have a chance to drop to 11-5? No. Let’s not be ridiculous. It’s time to hopefully run that table again.