The Packers have just five games remaining before the playoffs, each offering varying degrees of interest to both the casual and serious observer. What game do we like best? Here’s how our writers see it.
Tex: Christmas Day vs. the Browns
The NFL traditionally doesn’t play a full league schedule on Christmas Day, even when that day falls on a Sunday. Instead, there are usually one or two games on the holiday if it falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. As a result, the Packers have only played on Christmas twice, oddly both against the Chicago Bears: a 24-17 loss in 2005, and a 35-21 victory in 2011.
This year, with the holiday on a Saturday, Green Bay draws the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field in one of the NFL’s two Christmas Day games. While the matchup with the Baltimore Ravens is more intriguing to me from a pure football matchup standpoint, there’s something cool about the Packers playing on the holiday, and for me, there’s a family connection that adds to the anticipation.
In 2011, my immediate family took a vacation over Christmas, and my younger brother and I (the only major football fans in the group) followed the game in our hotel room. That part of the family traditionally holds its Christmas activities on Christmas Eve, so my brother and I will be able to enjoy the Christmas Day game with some extended family, who are much bigger Packers fans. It works out for everybody, and should make both days that much more fun for everyone involved.
Plus: a likely cold, snowy game at Lambeau on Christmas Day? That’s great for everybody.
Tyler Brooke: Sunday Night Football vs. the Bears
Ok, so this game is probably one of the easier ones left on the schedule, but who the hell cares?
After an entire offseason and 12-plus weeks of drama around Green Bay, a national primetime game against a historic rival is just the kind of game to kick off the stretch run. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the first game coming off a much-needed bye week, and it’s going against a Bears team that has inexplicably not fired head coach Matt Nagy.
The objective football fan in me is also excited to watch Justin Fields. Even if his offensive line is putrid, the first-round rookie quarterback is showing some serious flashes, something that Bears fans haven’t seen from a quarterback...ever?
This is a great opportunity for Green Bay to get a statement win to move to 10-3 and gear up for what could be a dramatic final few weeks to potentially clinch a first-round bye and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Jon Meerdink: Sunday Night Football vs. the Bears
I’m excited for this game for one reason: I’m ready to get out the broom.
The last time the Packers lost to the Bears, they were under the guidance of the not-so-capable hands of interim coach Joe Philbin, who had replaced the recently fired Mike McCarthy. Matt LaFleur was still the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage, Elgton Jenkins, and A.J. Dillon were all still in college. The Smiths, Billy Turner, and Adrian Amos were still elsewhere, playing for Chicago in Amos’ case!
I could go on, but the point is it’s been a while since the Packers have lost to the Bears, and their most recent loss is the only blip in what would otherwise have been five consecutive season sweeps.
As it stands, the Packers can run their streak of sweeps to three seasons in a row, and I’m ready to see it. There are challenging games remaining on their schedule, but this shouldn’t be won. Win it, win it big, and send Chicago to 0-2 against the Packers for the third time in the LaFleur era.
Kris Burke: Packers vs. Ravens
The newly-flexed game will give us a quarterback duel between Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson and no I don’t care how rough Jackson has looked at points this year. He’s still an electric playmaker that will keep Green Bay’s defense on their toes
Call me crazy, but this game could also be a Super Bowl LVI preview. Nobody seems to want to win the AFC this year, opening the door for the inconsistent Baltimore Ravens. They still have a solid defense and this game, as much as I would enjoy a shootout between Rodgers and Jackson, could end up being a defensive slugfest.
We were robbed of Rodgers vs Mahomes thanks to the Packers quarterback’s immunization backfiring but this one should make up for the lost entertainment.
Paul Noonan: Packers vs. Ravens
The Ravens are fun! Occasionally one of the best teams in the AFC, occasionally one of the best teams in football, no team (except Buffalo, statistically speaking) provides less variety on a week to week basis. Their front office rarely outright misses on a player, but they also tend to get guys with some sort of fatal flaw, from their quarterback’s erratic passing, to Hollywood Brown’s hands, to the reclaimed Sammy Watki
ns. They will stress the hell out of even the most versatile defenses, while also letting you off the hook in big moments. They even have my favorite current UDFA quarterback Tyler Huntley, who has worked his way into the backup spot because he’s secretly awesome.
The Ravens also feature the best special teams unit in football. If the Packers drop this game, there’s some foreshadowing as to why.