Packers Morning Buzz: Reason for hope, reason for concern in playoffs
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with ESPN's Kevin Seifert sizing up every NFL playoff team and their percentage chance of reaching the Super Bowl (the Packers' chances are second only to the 49ers in the NFC):
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Chance to make the Super Bowl: 20.6%
Reason for hope: The Packers won 13 games without needing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to carry them in any of them. There are plenty of theories about his subdued statistics this season; he entered Week 17 ranked No. 21 in QBR. Had he lost a step? Was he simply subordinating himself to a new value system set forth by first-year coach Matt LaFleur? Regardless, the Packers enter the playoffs with a quarterback who has a long and proven history of willing teams to big championship-level victories.
Reason for concern: The Packers only beat two teams that will finish the season with a winning record: the Vikings (twice) and the Chiefs when they were playing without quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Packers have offered no excuses about "winning ugly," nor should they. Thirteen wins is no joke. But not all wins are created equal. In the one game they faced a championship contender at full strength, in Week 12 at San Francisco, they lost by 29 points. In short, a 13-win team has entered the playoffs without showing us that they are a dominant team.
X factor: Tailback Aaron Jones. Why hasn't Rodgers been asked to carry the team? The biggest reason is Jones, who finished the season with 1,084 rushing yards -- the most by a Packers player in five seasons. Jones also caught 49 passes, the most by a Packers running back in 16 seasons. The Packers will need to get him going in the playoffs if they want to re-create their regular-season success.
You can read Seifert's entire analysis here:
In the midst of an outcry over Aaron Rodgers' inaccuracy Sunday in Detroit, Pete Dougherty and Eric Baranczyk study the video and see a different picture:
The MMQB's Albert Breer also finds positives in Rodgers' play:
Credit to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers for fighting through a really bad start against the Lions—he was 6 of 18 for 90 yards at halftime, and Green Bay was down 17–3. The impact of his second-half rebound (21 of 37, 233 yards, 2 TDs, INT)? The Packers get a bye, and someone’s going to have to go to Lambeau to play them in mid-January. “We’re going to be a really tough team to deal with in the playoffs,” the quarterback said. You should listen, too. As they demonstrated while going 13–3 in Matt LaFleur’s first year, this Packers team can win a bunch of different ways. And as Sunday showed, they can always still pull the ol’ Rodgers lever.
You can read the entire column here:
The Packers hope the bye week will help injured center Corey Linsley, running back Jamaal Williams and right tackle Bryan Bulaga recover in time for the playoff opener:
In his "4 Downs" column, Dougherty writes about Mike Pettine's hybrid defense:
In their Green 19 Podcast, Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski examine the Packers' postseason path:
Richard Ryman has the lowdown on Packers playoff tickets:
Another potential landing spot for the former Packers coach:
Rob Reischel doesn't foresee a long postseason run for the Packers:
Tom Oates says something just doesn't feel right with this Packers team:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky writes about how Aaron Jones and Mason Crosby could give Green Bay a postseason edge, particularly in January home games:
Imagine if this guy had been playing quarterback Sunday for the Lions instead of David Blough:
If you think the Packers play unnecessarily close games:
Other NFC playoff teams continue to suffer serious injuries:
But there are rumblings that GM John Dorsey's job may not be safe ....
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt