Will they or won’t they?
Make the playoffs, that is. The Packers are giving this thing a go, or that’s what they say. They steadfastly refuse to pack it in as long as they’re mathematically alive.
Whether or not that’s a good idea is another discussion. For now, we want to talk about whether they can make good on their quest. The Packers think they can do it. Here’s our writers’ takes on whether or not the Packers will make the playoffs. Can they do it?
Paul Noonan: No, because they aren’t good.
I actually think there’s a decent chance that the Packers will get all, or nearly all of the help they would theoretically need to make the playoffs. As Andy Herman noted today:
If every Vegas favorite wins in the NFL the rest of the season, there's only one game that would keep the Packers out of the playoffs.... a Packers loss to the Dolphins on Christmas. The Packers would finish a game out of the playoffs & would end with the 16th pick in the draft.— Andy Herman (@AndyHermanNFL) December 13, 2022
But the biggest likely impediment for the Packers is just the Packers. The 2010 team truly was a sleeping juggernaut, and once healthy, they played like one. This team just isn’t, and especially on the defensive side, without Rashan Gary, they are capable of losing to any given team. Their schedule after the Rams isn’t easy for a non-elite team, and if they d happen to win out, luck will probably have more to do with it than skill. They’re more like a .500 team, and they’re likely to continue to be one.
Justis Mosqueda: No.
Currently, the Packers have a six percent chance to make the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. Even if they win out the final month of the season, their odds to make the playoffs are just 57 percent. That’s actually a significant jump from where they stood before the bye week, mostly because the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
At the end of the day, they need a lot of help even if they play perfect down the stretch. Spoiler: They won’t play perfect down the stretch because their run defense is embarrassing.
Tex: No, because they’ll deliver a lump of coal on Christmas Day
We know the path to the playoffs for this team: win out and get a collapse from the Seahawks (which looks more likely every week) and one of the Giants or Commies. But taking care of their own business is the toughest task ahead of the Packers, and I’ve had the Christmas Day game in Miami circled as a loss for months now. Nothing has led me to change my mind, mainly because I have little faith in this defense to slow down the top-ranked Dolphins passing game.
I know that the run defense has been the biggest issue all season for the Packers, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combine for fewer than 250 yards in that game. Minimal pass rush plus a lot of zone coverage plus Florida temperatures near 80 degrees all seem like bad news for the Packers, secondary in that game.
Jonathan Barnett: No, because they don’t learn.
I think this team has the ability to make the playoffs. That said, making this team a playoff team would require a manner of self-scouting and recognition that they have not demonstrated to this point of the season. This set of players and coaches have dug in to defend the way they are already doing things and are set on just “doing it harder” rather than adjust. Adapt and overcome is the name of the game and this team (and this coaching staff) has shown us they just will not do that.
Jon Meerdink: No, because they can’t get out of their own way for long enough
I think, at least theoretically, the Packers are good enough to win any single game on what remains of their schedule. The Rams are in shambles, and have been for some time. The Dolphins seem to vacilate between juggernaut and cupcake on a near weekly basis. The Vikings might not have anything to play for by Week 17. The Lions should already have a loss to the Packers on their books for the year.
Extending that theoretical, then, it’s possible for the Packers to win out. It is! They can beat any one of these teams. But they’ll have to be nearly perfect to win all four in a row, and that’s where I can’t get on board.
The Packers aren’t perfect. This whole year is pretty accurately summed up by the phrase “if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” And frequently, it’s been way more than one thing. The offensive line. The run defense. The pass defense. Aaron Rodgers’ thumb. The rest of Aaron Rodgers.
Can the Packers overcome enough of those to win a single game? Sure! It’s totally doable. I don’t think they can overcome enough of them consistently enough to win four games in a row, and no matter how much help they get, that’ll probably leave them on the outside looking in.