It’s amazing that the 2019 Green Bay Packers rebounded from the 2018 team in the way that they did.
The 2018 season saw the Packers finish 6-9-1, in a season that felt lost and humbling. Mike McCarthy had been fired midseason in an unprecedented move, one that McCarthy said, “couldn’t have been handled any worse”, per ESPN.
Fast forward a few months later, and the Packers hire Matt LaFleur on January 8th, 2019 to be the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers knew they had a lot of work to do, it was just a matter of hard work and a little luck that got the Packers where they are today.
If you would have told me in December of 2019 that the Green Bay Packers would be sitting at 11-3 and have a shot at the first-round bye, I would have called you crazy. That is indeed the case. However, LaFleur’s team doesn’t win like McCarthy’s team. At least not this year, anyways.
Packers fans are used to watching the Packers put up 40-50 points at Lambeau Field and finishing games strong. This season things are different. This is a gritty team. One that doesn’t have a true identity. Nobody knows how the Packers might win one week, and then win the next week. It might be the Aaron Jones show, or the Za’Darius Smith show, or the Aaron Rodgers show. Every week is different.
From the looks of it, fans aren’t happy with inconsistency, and the same goes for the players and coaches.
Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers said that if the Packers do want to make a deep playoff run, they have to do it with consistency. So, who are the 2019 Green Bay Packers? More importantly, how does the outside world see them? Here are three theories that have been floating around lately.
1) The Packers either have barely been holding on every game and once they match up with a team like the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, they will crumble from within.
This theory isn’t far fetched. The Packers have won almost every game this season close.
- W @ Chicago, 10-3
- W vs MN, 21-6
- W vs Denver, 27-16
- L vs PHI, 34-27
- W @ Dallas, 34-24
- W vs Lions, 23-22
- W vs Raiders, 42-24
- W @ KC, 31-24
- L @ Chargers, 26-11
- W vs Panthers, 24-16
- L @ 49’ers, 37-8
- W @ Giants, 31-13
- W vs Redskins, 20-15
- W vs Bears, 21-13
Point being, the Packers’ average margin of victory is 8.9 points. That is winning by a little more than a touchdown each game. The Packers barely did hold on in some games this season. The Lions game, the Bears game, comes to mind. This is a scrappy team. This theory suggests that the Packers are good enough to win in the regular season but not good enough to win in the postseason. Many people suggest that the Packers will fall apart when playing a “decent football team”. This could very well be the case, and the Week 16 matchup in Minnesota will have a lot to say about this theory.
2) The Packers can play every game close and still find a way to win, even against playoff teams.
This theory suggests that even if the Packers win ugly, forcing them to find a way to win will actually be beneficial come playoff time.
This has been a gritty team, and the average margin of victory of 8.9 points says it best. The Packers, although the games have been ugly, still found a way to win. This theory is accurate to what this Packers’ team has accomplished. They haven’t won every game by blowing out teams by three touchdowns. It has been a battle to the very end. The ending of the Bears game solidifies the fact that the game isn’t over until the clock hits zero, and the Packers still found a way to win.
This theory suggests that the Packers can still win in the playoffs against playoff-caliber teams. Why? Because they fought in those close games during the regular season. This is a playoff-tested, battle-tested team, and they’re ready to go, even if it means playing and winning ugly.
3) The Packers are on the verge of getting hot, putting the regular season behind them and finally reaching their full potential of a smoking hot offense, and a solid, lockdown defense.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention newly acquired Packers’ KR Tyler Ervin in this part. He has been a signal that the Packers just needed to add the right piece to the puzzle to fix things. It wasn’t necessarily the “system” that was broken, the special teams unit just needed the right piece all along. Special teams is a great example of the third theory. They have become hot at the right time.
With Allen Lazard getting more touches and Packers’ HC Matt LaFleur acknowledging that Jake Kumerow needs the same, maybe this will be the time when the Packers’ offense really goes full steam ahead.
This would be reflective of the Packers’ playoff run in 2010 when they went down to Atlanta and absolutely blew out the Falcons. Who knows if this Packers’ team can go full-steam ahead, but we will find out in the next two weeks.