Green Bay Packers

Saturday's Game Might Be Exactly What Green Bay Needed

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu (USA TODAY Sports)

The Green Bay Packers were a well-oiled machine through two quarters last night. The offense had three touchdowns on their first three drives, the defense was flying around, and the special teams magically had zero blunders. While two of those three phases remained consistent in the second half, it was surprisingly the offense that fell asleep at the wheel.

All the Packers could muster was three points in the final two quarters. Rodgers was pressured and Rodgers was sacked. The passing game disappeared while the Carolina Panthers pieced together a comeback. But, the Packers still won, and what happened last night might be exactly what Green Bay needed.

It has to be incredibly difficult to not soak in praises when things are going well and things had been going about as well as one could imagine for Green Bay’s offense not only in recent weeks but, for most of the year. Oddsmakers had suggested Aaron Rodgers took over the MVP lead in the race with Patrick Mahomes. The Packers had (and still have) scored the most points and converted the most touchdowns in the NFL entering last night and were on some sort of high. In a matter of thirty minutes, their offense was slapped in the face with a quick reality check. But, they still won.

It was noted after the WIN against the Jacksonville Jaguars and it will be noted again here: If you, as a team, have your games where you get knocked down a couple of pegs and they happen in games you WIN, fan bases should think twice before complaining.

After the win over Jacksonville, the external complaints were rampant and they were everywhere. At the time, while understanding those frustrations it was almost forgotten that Green Bay had won the game. Whether the Packers finish 13-3 or 12-4 this season (or I guess 11-5), not a single soul will look back and say, “Yeah, well they barely beat the Jaguars.” Just like nobody will look back on last night and say, “Yeah, but they struggled against the Panthers.” Now, if you want to look back at how Carolina neutralized the Green Bay’s offense in the final thirty minutes and point back to that, sure. But if you’re mad that the Packers didn’t win by 30-plus points and only won by eight, I can not entertain a conversation that will hold any weight.

So why then could last night have been the perfect set of circumstances for Green Bay?

Let’s be honest, it would be damn near impossible to expect them to play as flawlessly as they have for every quarter, every half, every game the rest of the way. Some could make the case that had the Packers rolled into the postseason without a hitch these last three weeks, you’d almost think logic would say they are due to have a flat outing. That’s why what happened on Saturday night was a good thing in the long run.

The offense knows there are things to improve upon. They know the Panthers executed over and over again on defense in that second half. They know that as good as they’ve been this year, they still aren’t and won’t be good enough to just go through the motions and expect success. You’d rather have it pop up now and adjust than see it happen in the playoffs.

I’m not here to make excuses. I’m not here to act like everything is perfect for the Packers. We can call a spade a spade. The offensive line was gross in the second half. Rodgers wasn’t as decisive in his decisions when he needed to be. The energy levels were extremely low. But look at a couple of the other Panthers games this year:

  • 33-31 loss @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • 27-24 loss @ New Orleans Saints

They have SIX other one-possession losses peppered in as well. They are far from great. In fact, they’ve flat out mediocre. But they’ve played top tier teams tough on the road all season.

The Packers are in a great spot with everything in front of them. Win out, and the 1-seed and the lone bye in the NFC are theirs. And after last night, even with the standings the way they are, they know they need to and can play a lot better.

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Photo Credit: Benny Sieu (USA TODAY Sports)

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