Well, it looks like 2020 wanted to go out with a bang by giving the Green Bay Packers a kick straight to the seeds.
There’s never a good time for a season-ending injury for anybody on your team, let alone an all-pro. But factor in the Packers are trying to lock up the 1-seed in Week 17 and have to play the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field AND that they have been playing arguably their best football of the season the last few weeks, yea this one stings.
Words simply won’t do justice to help describe what the absence of David Bakhtiari means for the Packers the rest of the way. Aaron Rodgers literally never has to worry about his blind slide because No. 69 is there holding things down on that side of the line. He’s a four-time All-Pro who is constantly in the discussion for the best offensive lineman in the game; not just best tackle.
PFF also has him graded as the second-best tackle in the NFL this season. The dude is a tank and is so reliable and intricate to how this Packers offense functions. It can not be stated enough how big this loss is.
Now, before the panic sets in and fans of the green and gold want to view this as a sky is falling scenario, the Packers have played three games without Bakhtiari this season. In those games, Green Bay went 2-1 and put up 91 total points in those three games combined against the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers.
It’s a massive loss, there’s not a soul in the world that would dispute that. But it is still very doable for Green Bay and the “it” I’m referring to is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy when this season is all said and done.
They missed Davante Adams for three games this year. Aaron Jones missed three as well. Bakhtiari had missed the aforementioned three before this injury today. We go to our grave saying, “As long as No. 12 is healthy and under center, the Packers have a chance.”
Perhaps the saving grace within all of this was the return of Corey Linsley last week. The Packers missing both he and Bakhtiari at the same time could’ve been devastating Linsley returned last week but now No. 69 is gone. I don’t know how the Packers mix and match this but it helps immensely having a versatile lineman in Elgton Jenkins who has quite literally played snaps at every position on the offensive line. If I had to guess I’d say the Packers roll with this from left to right on the line:
In said scenario, Jenkins slides from left guard to left tackle, and Patrick slots in a left guard, a spot he is familiar and comfortable with. Linsley on down to the right of the line remains the same. That’s one way the Packers could run with it. We will see on Sunday.
There’s no sugar coating it, this is a massive blow especially at this time of the year for Green Bay. After the initial shock of it, they have no choice but to settle back in and keep the good vibes going. It sucks for Bakhtiari but the show goes on. And again, fans of Packers nation, deep breaths, the ultimate goal of winning the whole thing is still attainable.