If there was any concern about the Green Bay Packers being complacent entering the playoffs, that concern can safely be discarded.
After the 37-30 loss yesterday to the Detroit Lions, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was clearly unhappy following the loss.
A good chunk of his ire was directed towards his defense after the Lions razzle dazzled them all the way back to the 1920s with all sorts of reverses and trick plays. That’s definitely something the Packers didn’t want to put on tape with the playoffs approaching.
In terms of the game, most starters only played the first half and Aaron Rodgers put an exclamation point on a likely fourth NFL MVP award with a beautiful touchdown pass to Allen Lazard to close out the regular season. Rodgers turned things over to Jordan Love for the second half which was a very mixed bag for the second year quarterback.
Overall it’s hard to take too much from a game that didn’t mean much in the long run. Green Bay likely kept things super vanilla although the trick plays are a slight concern meanwhile. On a more positive note, Davante Adams broke Jordy Nelson’s single season receiving yards record to cap another stellar season for No. 17.
Meanwhile, in the world of schadenfreude, Green Bay’s top two division rivals cleaned house as the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings fired their general managers and head coaches. The moves now leave Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur as the most tenured GM and coach in the division.
As the Packers approach a potentially franchise altering offseason, it will be good to know at least that two rivals are going to be starting fresh with a new front office and coaching staff.
This actually might be the best thing for the Packers. A loss like that, even with mostly backups, should keep their feet on the ground and their heads on a swivel. Complacency shouldn’t be an issue as they await their divisional opponent.
For as meaningless of a game as this was, the anger LaFleur showed about the defensive effort was both deserved and genuine. Opponents will perhaps feel more emboldened to empty the playbook in the playoffs. Look for this to be a big area of focus as the team prepares for the divisional round.
If it doesn’t happen in the NFC Championship, Mike McCarthy will make his return to Lambeau Field next year as the Cowboys will come to Green Bay. Other big games include trips to Tampa Bay and Buffalo.
Zimmer’s firing was not a surprise but word earlier this week indicated the Vikings would possibly keep Spielman in house but in a different role. Instead the Wilf family chose to clean house as Kirk Cousins’ future is very much up in the air.
The writing was on the wall all year for Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace will join him in the ranks of the unemployed. The general manager won’t be around to see Justin Fields develop after he tried to make up for the Trubisky faux pas.
I am so glad to see this pilot is OK. It clearly wasn’t his time after surviving two instant near-catastrophes.