GREEN BAY – Losing to the Detroit Lions 31-0 Sunday has some redeeming value for the Green Bay Packers.
They will pick 12th in the 2019 NFL draft.
The Packers (6-9-1) had a chance to sneak into the top 10, but they needed some help from the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, both of whom entered the day 6-9. Finishing 6-9-1, the Packers needed both teams to win in order to finish with a worse record and move into the No. 10 spot.
However, the Broncos were no match for the San Diego Chargers, falling 23-9, in Denver, and the Bengals were edged out by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-13. As a result, the two teams finished with 10 losses, one more than the Packers, pushing them back to No. 12.
The Packers will have their highest selection since the 2009 season when they picked nose tackle B.J. Raji with the No. 9 pick.
The Packers also have New Orleans’ first-round pick. The Saints’ finished as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which means the earliest their pick would fall would be No. 30.
Over the last nine seasons, the Packers’ assigned draft pick at the end of their season was (in order starting with last season) 14th, 29th, 27th, 30th, 21st, 26th, 28th, 32nd and 23rd.
Despite the victory over the Packers, the Lions (6-10) will be drafting ahead of them. They have the same amount of victories as Green Bay, but one more loss.
Picking ahead of the Packers will be Arizona (3-13), San Francisco (4-12), Oakland (4-12), New York Jets (4-12), Jacksonville (5-11), New York Giants (5-11), Tampa Bay (5-11), Buffalo (6-10), Denver (6-10), Cincinnati (6-10) and Detroit (6-10).
Schedule nearly set
All of the Packers’ 2019 opponents have been determined.
The Packers’ interconference pairing is with the AFC West and they will play all four teams from that division. Their intraconference pairing is with the NFC East and they will play all four teams from that division.
Since they finished third in the NFC North, they will play the third-place finishers in the other two NFC divisions. Carolina finished third in the NFC South and the San Francisco 49ers finished third in the NFC West.
Besides the games against division opponents Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota, the Packers will play the following teams at home: Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, Oakland and Carolina.
The Packers’ road opponents are: New York Giants, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco and Dallas.
A 31-0 loss to a hapless division rival wasn’t the best, last impression for interim head coach Joe Philbin to leave, but he doesn’t expect Sunday’s finale to affect his chances either way.
Philbin called the Packers' loss to Detroit “disappointing” and acknowledged it didn’t help his case, but said his familiarity with the organization will overshadow any one game.
“I’ve been a member of the organization for 10 years,” Philbin said after the game. "They know who I am, they know what I believe in, they know where I stand. I want what’s best for the Green Bay Packers anyway. And whatever that may be, I’m good with.”
Philbin would not say when he will be interviewed for the head-coaching job, deferring the question to president/CEO Mark Murphy. When asked if he would be willing to return in a role other than head coach, Philbin was noncommittal.
“I have faith they’ll make a great decision as they should,” Philbins said. “This is an incredible place to work every day. Again, it’s disappointing, no question. I didn’t see it coming. And the most important thing is to get the right man to lead the Green Bay Packers into the future. And I’m sure honestly that’s the charge of Mark, and I’m sure he’ll do that. Whoever that may be.”
More fake follies
Leading 7-0 on the road, Lions head coach Matt Patricia elected to take advantage of one of the Packers’ biggest weaknesses to increase the lead: special teams.
With 10 minutes, 36 seconds to go in the first half, the Lions lined up for a 25-yard field goal attempt from veteran Matt Prater. As the Packers shuffled personnel, Lions tight end Levine Toilolo detached from the formation and split out wide to the left of Prater. No Packers player noticed. Rookie Josh Jackson was closest, but he had a hand down on the line of scrimmage at the snap.
“Coaches saw something early in the week and we executed it,” Prater said.
It was a relatively easy pitch-and-catch for a 14-0 Lions lead.
“Unfortunately with some of the rules changes and stuff it’s been real difficult to run that play,” Patricia said. “So we made sure that we checked and had everything put in place and just kind of knew that I wanted to run it and give it a shot and see if it worked out. We had the right situation come up. It was real specific, as far as, when we were going to have an opportunity to do it. It had to kind of be exactly on and we were close.”
After the play, Philbin had a discussion with the officials about the legality of the formation.
“It was a legal play,” Philbin said. “It was a good play. We have to do it, obviously be better prepared for that particular play and we weren’t and they executed it well and they ended up with, you know, four extra points. They were lining up for a field goal and they ended up with a touchdown. So that’s on, that’s us. That’s coaching. That’s on me.”