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5 Questions with the Enemy: Packers ready to face a declawed Panthers team

There’s little to no reasons Green Bay shouldn’t celebrate Christmas with a victory

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers coaching staff has been under siege this week, particularly the defensive coordinator.

Many fans are incensed that Joe Barry remains in charge of the Packers defense despite allowing Baker Mayfield of all people to be the first opposing quarterback to record a perfect quarterback rating in the long history of Lambeau Field. Surely that would the straw that broke the camel’s back right? Nope.

Instead, Barry remains on staff and thankfully the Packers have a pallet-cleansing game ahead of them against the Carolina Panthers, who have the worst record in the league.

Despite the struggles the last two weeks, there are very few reasons Green Bay shouldn’t take care of business in Charlotte this on Sunday.

APC sat down with Walker Clement of our sister site Cat Scratch Fever to talk about this week’s matchup.

Bryce Young has experienced one of the most difficult rookie seasons for a number one overall pick in recent memory. Where does he stand and how do you see him developing?

It’s really hard to tell. Last week’s game winning drive against the Atlanta Falcons was a much needed breath of hope. Young has shown very little while having very little to work with all season. Seeing him take command of the offense and execute an entire drive in a clutch situation was fantastic.

Now, that said, it took fourteen games to see that kind of effort come together. Is that coaching? Is that supporting staff? Is that Young? We don’t know, and we won’t really know until the next coaching staff gets their hands on him this offseason.

Why didn’t Frank Reich work out as head coach? And what’s the view on Chris Tabor?

Reich was hired to be the safe quarterback whisperer. Instead, he turned out to be a dogmatically rigid dinosaur who refused to criticize Young or be hard on him in any way. At least, that’s the story per the reports that came flooding out of the woodwork after Reich was fired.

Tabor seems like exactly what you want in a head coach with a special team’s background. He has a keen eye for when and how kicking and punting can be best used to the team’s advantage and otherwise keeps his hands out of the offensive and defensive coordinator’s way.

Packers fans have been rueing the decision Matt LaFleur made to hire Joe Barry over Ejiro Evero. What can you tell them about his defense and how do you think his defense has done overall?

Evero has worked miracles this year. His starters one week have made up the injury list, or injured reserve list, the next. The offense constantly hands him short fields to defend. In short, his entire year has been making art out of broken pieces with little space. The Panthers have been in most of their games late into the second half because Evero’s unit keeps the game to a one or two score deficit until the offense completely gives up the ghost. Many Panthers fans would not be opposed to Evero getting a shot as the head coach next season. He’s a talent we don’t want to lose.

Who are a couple of under-the-radar players the Packers need to watch out for Sunday?

Amare Barno and DJ Johnson might be the only healthy edge rushers come Sunday. Justin Houston was released this week so he could go play for a big boy team and the rest of the Panthers starters/quality depth have been struck down by an unspecified illness that seems to be ripping through the EDGE room.

The DraftKings Sportsbook has the Packers as five-point favorites. How do you see the game playing out and what prop bets catch your eye?

This seems like a typical 2023 Panthers game. They’ve played at least eight on this exact script:The Packers are going to start out frustrated on offense. They might even trail the Panthers by, at most, a field goal at halftime. To be clear, in that case the score will be 0-3. The Panthers do not score touchdowns regularly.

In the second half, the Panthers will start advancing the ball less and less before each punt. They might put together one 14-play, 70+ yard field goal drive, but that’ll be their biggest threat. Eventually, the shortened fields and extended playing times will break the Panthers defense and the Packers will move ahead by one to two scores late in the third quarter or early in the fourth.

There will technically be time for the Panthers to mount a comeback, but their efforts to do so will amount to zero points and an afternoon that would have been better spent arguing about politics with your relatives.

As for prop bets, just take the under on everything but kicking points. You won’t win them all, but you should win enough to come out close to even. That’s as predictable and profitable as this team gets.