Packers Playoff Hopes Already Crushed
The Green Bay Packers come into every season with some hope, as having the best quarterback in the recent history of the sport in Aaron Rodgers can make up for a lot of shortcomings. But the Green Bay Packers' season may not reach the postseason this year, as the team suffered a devastating setback at the hands of their hated rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.
In the Packers' 24-17 loss to Minnesota, the team didn't appear to have much of a game plan on offense outside of hoping that Rodgers could carry them across the finish line. They moved the ball for just 82 yards rushing, putting way too much on the plate of their quarterback against one of the very best defenses in the NFL. With top-tier defensive backs like Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes on the opposite side of the field, it's no wonder that the Packers weren't able to win the game just putting the ball in the air.
Defensively, the team wasn't terrible, but their lack of consistency was enough to cost the Packers in this game. For every great play that the Packers made on defense, like Jaire Alexander's stop of Stefon Diggs on a wide receiver screen, the team had a play like Tramon Williams' blown coverage that led to Diggs scoring an easy touchdown that ended up being the difference in the game.
And playcalling sure didn't help things, as the Packers were again hurt by the conservative nature of head coach Mike McCarthy. In the first quarter, on fourth down with three yards to go, McCarthy instructed the team to take a delay of game penalty before punting the football. Instead, McCarthy could have trusted his generationally talented quarterback to pick up three yards and increase the team's chances of winning. He did not do that.
As a result of the loss to the Vikings, the Packers' odds to make it to the playoffs have taken a huge hit. The team's chances of winning the NFC North sit at 80/1 following week 12 action, although the team's 50/1 odds to win the NFC do imply that they still have a pulse in the NFC wildcard race. But when NFL odds for a team are that long, it usually means that their season is all but over. And with the Packers sitting a game and a half behind three different teams for the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC, things certainly aren't looking promising.
Rodgers has downplayed the situation, saying that the Packers need to win and get what he calls a little help to get into the playoffs. But with so many teams ahead of the Packers for the final playoff spot in the conference, and three of those teams being recent NFC champions in the Panthers, Seahawks, and Eagles, the team's margin for error is zero.
Failing to make the playoffs this year could spell big changes in Green Bay, as they could make a switch at head coach if the team falls short for another year. With one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game leading the team, a change might be more than justified if the Packers can't even get into the postseason.