Packers XLV

Playoffs? Playoffs? They Begin on Sunday for Pack.

Posted December 1st, 2017 @ 04:12pm

In this wild, crazy, unpredictable 2017 season, the playoffs begin Sunday for the Green Bay Packers. Yeah, I know. The Pack has lost five of six and sits at 5-6 in a deep, talented NFC.

But you all know what's going on here. 10-6 would most likely get the Pack into the post-season. The NY Times playoff simulator puts the chances at 90%. So if the Pack can use last year's formula of running the table, they would likely earn a record-tying ninth straight playoff invitation.

To do that, they would need to begin by beating the Bucs and Browns with Brett Hundley under center. If they can get to 7-6 and Aaron Rodgers' doctors tell him that his injury is sufficiently healed to get back on the field, then we can have some fun Week 15 in Carolina for a game that would truly have a playoff feel. Rodgers plans to work out on Friday and if things go well, he will return to the practice field on Saturday.

But none of that will matter if the Pack can't take care of the Bucs on what should be an unseasonably warm December afternoon at Lambeau, with temperatures in the 40s. The big story is the return of Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston, who returns after missing most of November with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder. He's also spent most of the  past month deflecting questions about a groping incident, alleged by an Uber driver.

I think the Pack catches a break facing the rusty Winston. I've watched most of his games this year for fantasy reasons and he has regressed in his third season in many ways, most notably with shady decision making. His timing has been a bit off all season and they've struggled to sustain drives.

Their offense took a hit last week with the loss of two offensive linemen for the season to knee injuries. Center Ali Marpet was probably their best lineman (though replacement Joe Hawley started the last two years) and right tackle Demar Dotson will be missed as well. They expect LG Evan Smith back from a concussion, so that will help a bit. Their top back, Doug Martin hasn't practiced all week and is in the concussion protocol as I write this. That would be a big loss, as there's a drop off to Charles Sims and Jaquizz Rodgers.

Their best weapon is still Mike Evans and with Kevin King ruled out with the shoulder injury, look for Davon House to get that assignment most of the afternoon. Speedy DeSean Jackson has been limited in practice this week with a hammy; if he goes, he'll be a problem for Josh Hawkins.

But the Packers defense should be up to this challenge. The Bucs are talented, but tend to shoot themselves in the foot and the Packers secondary is due for a couple of takeaways. Mike Daniels should have his way with the banged up line and be back to his disruptive self.

To me, the key in this game is which Hundley do we see? Tampa Bay has the worst pass defense in the league--there will be plays to be had if Hundley can make the right decisions. What we saw Sunday night in Pittsburgh should give us hope. But we had that same hope after his strong fourth quarter in Chicago and he laid an egg against the Ravens, who boast a far superior defense. If Hundley can take care of the football and put the ball in his playmakers' hands things should go Green Bay's way.

We may see Aaron Jones a little bit, but Jamal Williams will likely be the main ballcarrier again this week and he's earned the carries after a strong performance in Pittsburgh. The Bucs' D is led by the underrated Gerald McCoy who will be a problem in the running game and the passing game. The interior linemen have to pat extra attention to him all day. Linebacker Lavonte David is a stud too, but after those two guys the rest of the unit is average at best.

After three straight losses at Lambeau, the Pack knows it has to turn things around Sunday to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. They are favored (by two points) for the first time with Hundley starting. I think they follow up a surprisingly strong performance in Pittsburgh with a well played, mostly mistake-free game led by the defense.

Packers 24  Bucs 17

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Comments (7):

I've got your backs in this game, Packer fans! I will guarantee 4 1st downs via penalties and a number of drive-killing holding calls on the Bucs! Hawhawhaw! McFlintstone, put down that Whopper and do a little coaching, fatass.

on December 1st, 2017 at 12:04pm

For a quarter century in the days of the old NFC Central Division the Packers and Bucs played twice a year in "the battle of the Bays." Since during that time neither was very good they were often referred to as "the Bay of pigs." With 5-6 vs 4-7 in this one that pejorative label will likely be trotted out again. Both Bays are among the most disappointing teams of this season, with injuries being a cause of most of their below expectations showing so far. While the game has been projected as a "W" for Green all year it is not a "gimme" by any means. It will take an even better performance than in Pittsburgh last week if the Packers are going to win this one and stay in the hunt for the playoffs. With two bad pass defenses this one could be a shoot-out similar to last Sunday night. It comes down to whether Brett Hundley can best Jameis Winston in that duel. Packers 30 Bucs 24. Then we can either talk playoffs or draft and free agency in 2018.

on December 2nd, 2017 at 05:18am

MM Here …… I've been watching tape here all week long ! …. 60 hours worth ….. not of Tampa Bay but, of Yogi Bear ! ….. what a great show that was…… my favorite part was when Yogi outsmarted the ranger and, Stole the picnic basket !….. I actually had a dream the other night, that me and Eddie Lacy teamed up and STOLE that very same picnic basket ! ….. Oh Yeah …. Good Times ! …… MM out.

on December 2nd, 2017 at 06:09am

Hundley needs to be replaced immediately.

on December 3rd, 2017 at 02:57pm

That's 1-4 to go!!!

on December 3rd, 2017 at 03:34pm

It’s so much fun watching the Vike fans get so pumped up before their traditional crash and burn. I’m sure the whole state will be doing a duck, duck, goose joke of a celebration.

on December 4th, 2017 at 06:19am

Watch the Vikings crash and burn. That's pretty much all I've ever seen the packers do. I've seen one super bowl win for the pack and that was a gift. Other than that, they crash and burn every year. What is that fool Crusher talking about? Also, the Browns will eventually win a game(LMAO)

on December 4th, 2017 at 06:50am

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