Now that they’ve clinched their third straight NFC North title, the Green Bay Packers can focus on winning the conference’s first seed and the only pass to the first round playoffs.
The Packers could use the extra week off at the start of the playoffs. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffers from a toe injury and several other notable players are sidelined as the Packers head into the long run of the regular season.
“Having an extra week, I think it would be really good for my toe” Rodger said Sunday after the Packers’ road 31-30 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. âI mean, that would be fantastic – to have another week. And then, the fact that we can win two home playoff games and reach the Super Bowl. “
Green Bay (11-3) has a one-game lead over Arizona, Dallas and Tampa Bay in the race to win the NFC’s best regular-season record. The Packers host Cleveland and Minnesota and visit Detroit in their last three games.
“There are a lot of benefits to getting the No.1 seed in terms of time off this week and then having every playoff game played in your home stadium,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Monday. “We all know the advantages of Lambeau and the climate in which we play.”
The Packers know full well that a No.1 seed doesn’t guarantee anything.
They were the No. 1 seed in the NFC last season but suffered their second straight NFC championship loss, a 31-26 loss at home to eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
But that pass to the No. 1 seed and the first round playoffs would certainly help a team that has had to withstand serious injuries all season.
Rodgers threw 13 touchdown passes without an interception in his last four games despite a toe injury that drastically cut his practice time.
Rodgers says he fractured his left toe while training at home last month during his quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
He’s working behind a line missing most of his usual starters.
Knee injuries have ruled out 2020 All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, 2020 Pro Bowl selection Elgton Jenkins. rookie center Josh Myers and right tackle Billy Turner. Bakhtiari hasn’t played all season.
The receiving squad miss wide Randall Cobb (core) and tight end Robert Tonyan (knee).
The Green Bay defense has played most of the season without outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (back) and cornerback Jaire Alexander (shoulder).
All of those players other than Jenkins and Tonyan are still hoping to return as the Packers pursue their first Super Bowl spot since their 2010 championship season.
The Packers have averaged 38.7 points over their three-game winning streak and have scored at least 31 points in each of those games. This follows a seven-game streak in which they have never exceeded 27 points. The emergence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling on Sunday and Allen Lazard the week before shows the Packers have other receiving options when defenses focus on confining Davante Adams.
WHAT SHOULD WORK
The woes of the Green Bay Special Team continue. The Packers committed three special team penalties with interference on a fair catch attempt, a hold on a kickoff return and a delay on a punt.
The defense struggled to contain Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley, who threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 73 yards and two more scores while replacing Lamar Jackson.
Valdes-Scantling had five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. A week after making 16 tackles in a 45-30 win over the Chicago Bears, Campbell had 10 tackles and a sack.
Isaac Yiadom’s penalty for interfering with a kick returner on a fair catch attempt allowed Baltimore to initiate his first touchdown in Packers territory.
Darnell Savage was a candidate for this list after struggling to cover Ravens TE Mark Andrews all day but safety redeemed himself when he appeared to deflect a 2-point conversion pass attempt at Andrews that would have put Baltimore in. head in the last minute.
DT Kenny Clark has not played after being placed on the reserve / COVID-19 roster earlier in the week.
442 – Touchdown goes through Rodgers, tying Brett Favre for most in franchise history.
Green Bay has a short week to prepare for Saturday’s game with Cleveland, which marks the Packers’ first game on Christmas Day since a 35-21 win over the Chicago Bears in 2011. The Browns will have even less time to play. prepare, because they’re ‘I’ll be coming out of a Monday game against Las Vegas.