Things seemed bleak at the end of October. The Green Bay Packers had just lost four consecutive games, and the entire team looked out of sorts on both sides of the ball. The Packers were 2-5, and some fans wondered if the season was worth salvaging.
But Green Bay has won three of their four November games. After a short week, they controlled the Thanksgiving game against the Lions on the road and improved their record to 5-6. Suddenly, they are back in the playoff hunt.
In their last four games, the Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 20-3, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-19 on the road, and beat Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers 23-20. However, they really instilled faith in the fanbase after beating the Lions, even though the score might be a little closer than the game actually was.
One reason for the unexpected spike in Green Bay’s performance could be due to the players-only practices and meetings that Jordan Love held during the losing skid. Jayden Reed commented on the factors of these practices.
“Just seeing everything from the same eye,” Reed said. “Just for us to be on the same page and to understand where everyone is coming from, that helps the offense tremendously.”
When athletes hold players-only practices and meetings, it allows them to gel. Often, it’s because they develop the mindset of “It’s us against the world.” That builds chemistry and camaraderie between teammates, increasing their desire to give their best.
Since they have started holding players-only sessions, Green Bay’s offensive productivity has steadily improved. During their first seven games, the Packers averaged 19 points per game. The offense has averaged just under 23 points per game in their last four games. A four-point difference does not seem that meaningful, but it’s an average. Therefore, a four-point change in average scores can drastically change a game’s outcome.
Jordan Love’s performance over the last four games has also improved. He played well in early games against the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. But in the first seven games, Love averaged 213 passing yards and threw 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Over the last four games, Love averaged 277 passing yards and threw eight touchdowns and two interceptions. And he’s done all of this without Aaron Jones at running back.
Christian Watson has also been getting involved over the past couple of games. He had a receiving touchdown against the Chargers at the end of the third quarter. Against the Lions, he caught a deep ball on the first play of the game.
He also had a touchdown later in the game when he reeled in a contested catch.
That spike in performance could not have come at a better time for the Packers because they had a long week to prepare for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. If they beat the Chiefs and improve to 6-6, they could carry that momentum to become a threat in the NFC. If they come up short, they’ve lost to the reigning champions and go back into the hunt for the No. 7 seed.
Green Bay’s defense has also stepped up in the past few weeks. Rashan Gary had a massive game against the Lions, with three sacks and a couple of forced fumbles, and the entire defense was flying around and hitting hard. They also had two consecutive fourth-down stops on Herbert toward the end of the Chargers game.
If they want to win, the Packers will have to play their best defensive game of the year against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s lethal offense. Coming off of their best defensive performance of the season on Thanksgiving, they should be able to carry that momentum forward.
One thing is for certain, though: Green Bay’s offense is different than it was at the end of October. At the beginning of November, this game might have been flexed out of the Sunday night spot. Now it’s must-watch television.