They may not win pretty – a lot of their games come down to one-score or the very last play, but the Green Bay Packers are back where they belong: as NFC North Champions.
On any given Sunday, just about anything can happen. Under first-year Head Coach Matt LaFleur and a new offense, the Packers defied the odds that critics placed upon them and surprisingly took the league by storm, even with an Aaron Rodgers under the helm who isn’t the same quarterback that he used to be. The Packers took advantage of some sort of a watered-down schedule against the NFC East, as well as the AFC West with an injured Patrick Mahomes to build up their resume to walk into U.S. Bank Stadium and steal the NFC North Crown under the Vikings’ noses. GM Brian Gutekunst rightfully deserves Executive of the Year, with key free agent additions with Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos.
Clearly, Green Bay controls their own destiny. With a win on the road at Ford Field against a Detroit Lions team ready to “mail-it-in” and call it a year, Green Bay secures a first-round bye. Get a little help from our rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, and the road to the Super Bowl will go through the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. It’s the perfect scenario for a first-year head coach, who was given the keys to do whatever the hell he wanted to do with this organization. Personally, getting an opportunity to play New Orleans, Seattle, or San Francisco outside in subzero temperatures is the right formula for getting to the 305.
What the Packers do on offense don’t surprise too many people – in fact, it’s boring a lot of times. But it is game controlling – the Packers dominated the time of possession all game last night, and that helps keep opposing explosive offenses on the sidelines. The “bend, don’t break” defense is especially good in the red zone, where teams need to be good in order to have overall success. But, with a stout defense and a good running game going into the month of January, that bodes well for any team in this league.
The NFC Playoff Field is just about set, with Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco and Minnesota. We await what happens in Week 17 between the NFC East, but between the current field, it is a totally open race to the Super Bowl. But for now, the buzz is back in Green Bay – and they are back.
Playoff Scenarios for the Green Bay Packers:
- Beat Detroit: At least a first-round bye, 2nd seed
- Beat Detroit: Seattle beats San Fran: Homefield Advantage, 1st Seed
- Lose to Detroit: Packers earn 3rd seed, host Vikings at Lambeau for the Wild Card