Did Sunday’s Victory Save the Packers’ Season?

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Randall Cobb
Randall Cobb played a big role in the Packers’ emotional win over the Saints on Sunday.

I laughed when the headline to Kevin Seifert’s game story popped up on my Twitter account Sunday night: “Emotional Packers save their season.”

“Really, Kevin?” I thought. “A season cannot be saved in week four. Calm down.”

I thought Kevin was reaching for a story angle to try and be different, get people riled up and generate web traffic.

But Seifert is an excellent reporter, one that isn’t prone to hyperbole and weird narratives that attempt to push reader’s buttons just for the hell of it. So I clicked on the story, read it, and decided that Seifert might be on to something.

This passage in particular stood out:

At 1-2, the Packers were facing some long odds if they lost Sunday’s game. Since the NFL moved to its current playoff format, 85.3 percent of teams that started 1-3 missed the playoffs. In a league in which most teams have relatively equal talent, the so-called “snowball effect” is very real.

I won’t summarize Seifert’s entire post — read it for yourself — but he makes some excellent points about emotion and the toll it would have taken on the Packers to lose another emotionally-charged game, this time at home to a team that was just as desperate as they were.

Instead let’s focus on the immediate future. If the Packers lost Sunday, not only would they be facing long playoff odds at 1-3, they’d be facing them with their next three games on the road; a tough situation in any case, let alone coming off two straight heartbreaking losses.

It’s silly to project more than three games into the future during the NFL season (even three games might be too far), but there’s a common theme among the Packers next three road opponents: Hope. The next three teams the Packers face all have reasons to be hopeful, and likely view the Packers games as a chance to go from hopeful to confident.

  • The Colts are coming off a bye week armed with a phenom quarterback and Dwight Freeney returning. Their coach was also just admitted to the hospital for treatable leukemia, which means emotions will be running high in that stadium. There’s hope for a promising future in Indianapolis, and what better way to take a step forward than by beating the Packers.
  • The Texans might be the NFL’s best team and have realistic hopes of reaching the Super Bowl. They’re going to need a signature win, though, to prove to everyone that they’re for real. Beating the Packers would meet that criteria.
  • Who knows where the Rams might be by week seven. What if they knock off Arizona at home, then beat Miami on the road to enter the Packers game 4-2? Suddenly they have playoff hopes and anything is possible. The Rams secondary is sneaky good, too. The Packers have struggled against good secondaries so far.

Maybe Sunday’s win did save the Packers season. Or maybe we’re getting too worked up over a week four game.

Either way, it’s likely the Packers’ next three opponents will be viewing their matchups against Green Bay as a chance to define the first part of their seasons. The Colts, Texans and Rams will likely match the Packers in the emotions department.

If the Packers want to come out of this stretch 5-2, or even 4-3, they need to get back to winning the turnover battle, pressuring the quarterback, and slicing defenses apart through the air. We’ve seen flashes of these things happening all season, but no consistency.

Since the Packers’ season is now (apparently) saved, it’s time to find out just how good they are. These next three weeks will tell us a lot.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

——————

  • Mr. Bacon

    Not exactly.

    They would have still have a shot to save their season.

    However what it did do was wake them up for the season. I posted after the debacle that either a win like this crushes you, or becomes fuel for something great.

    The Packers while playing inconsistent still, this time on the defense, were playing inspired football. The Packers were not giving up on the game.

    The next stretch of 4 games on paper looks like a 3-1 run. If we manage to beat the Texans, then maybe we are back fully.

    We are still early in the season, but this may be the week that the Packers come alive.

  • Big T

    Only way we lose any of these games is if we are outcoached….

    • FireMMNow

      Texans are the most talented team in the league by far in my opinion. They have a great OL, great backs, top 10 qb, top 5 WR, defensive POY to this point on their line, good young pass rushers, jonathan joseph is a top 5 corner and their safeties will hit you in the mouth. To say that the only way the packers lose to them is if they are outcoached is a stretch, especially since the Texans are at home. The Packers will probably be somewhat sizeable underdogs. I would say 5 points or more which is quite a bit in the NFL. Give the other teams in the league some credit.

      • Chad Lundberg

        While i agree the Texans appear to be a complete team, and that they deserve credit, what you just expressed made me feel like they were flawless. I just checked their profile on NFL.com and while yes, they pretty DAMN good, they also have some flaws. 3.7 yards per carry for Foster? Andre Johnson looks like he’s getting a tad old.

        Not saying that they’re not possibly the best team in Football, just that they DO have their flaws, and I don’t think their head an shoulders above the Packers like you seemingly express.

        The Packers have crap loads of talent too. Just sayin…

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Um, have you seen Houston? They were my preseason Super Bowl pick and have done nothing to change my mind. They’ve done some fantastic drafting the last few year and have perhaps the most complete team, top to bottom in the league, as FireMMNow was pointing out.

      Doesn’t mean the Packers can’t win, but a loss is a distinct possibility and it will have to do with a lot more than coaching.

      • CSS

        Game plan, turnover margin and execution. I’m not sure where this Packer team is in the NFL pecking order of good, great and elite. I will after this game.

        The coaching staff and Rodgers have enough film of themselves and opponents to make quality, game altering adjustments. Benson should continue his progression adjusting to the offense and visa/versa.

        I think we’ll all know who/what this team is after the Houston game.

  • FireMMNow

    I think the Bears game in week 2 was maybe a bigger win, but 1-3 is really tough to come back from. you have to rattle off three straight road wins just to get over .500. I think 4-3 is reasonable after this three game stretch. If the Packers beat the Texans on the road it will mean that the offense is firing on all cylinders and the D is playing their opportunistic style. If the Packers can play the Texans tough on the road I will be happy. To beat the Texans you have to shut their run game down early, which is very difficult. They run the zone stretch better than anyone since the 97 broncos with Terell Davis, and that play has killed the packers in the past. Our OLBs and DBs will earn their money in that game.

  • Ron LC

    Defensive formations like the “Dollar” are pathetic responses to their biggest weakness. On one 3rd and long with 7 DB’s on the field, Brees completed a pass to Graham and the only player in the camera shot as he caught the pass was Graham himself. How the hell can this happen?

    It happens by the rushers instructed to contain rather than be aggressive. It happens by the DB’s falling back into deep soft zone without any attempt to make contact with the receivers at the line of scrimage. To use an old military analogy, “When you’re not attacking, you’re retreating.” Capers is becoming an expert in retreating and hoping the O bails his passive defense out.

    The season will depend on whether or not Capers can sake off his natural tendency to fall back into his security zone or he can finally play aggressive defense for the whole game and take the risk on man coverage. I submitt that a haried QB is less accurate than a QB who has no rush to contend with. (See Tony Romo last night)

    The NO game was reminisent of 2011’s pathetic D effort. Keep the damn pressure on and gamble with man coverage.

    Baring an inoppertune fumble by a QB who didn’t drop back enough before moving laterally to make the hand off they would likely have scored 35 points and taken a commanding lead. So, MM is not the issue, even though he certainly could have done a lot of things better.

    The issue is Dom Capers and his stuborness with the “Bend and Break Defense.”

    • DChairtonic

      I couldn’t agree more about Dom Capers defensive style, its infuriating at a level that has at times in the last year and a half made me not want to watch games anymore.

    • FireMMNow

      I will agree that the Dollar defense did not work. But neither did manning up last year on Jimmy Graham and Sproles. Atleast give him some credit for trying something different. It is not like we are back in the Bob Slowik days where every game was a continual nightmare.

      He tried the dollar and it did not work, so he scrapped it. Jimmy Graham is probably the most difficult matchup this side of megatron in the NFL. Not every experiment is a great success. He still had four pass rushers going after the QB. So it is not like he called off the dogs, and saying that the line was in contain mode does not make a lot of sense to me. just because lineman actually use traditional rush lanes does not mean they are told to do so.

  • Dan

    If we don’t beat the Colts and Rams…shame on the Packers.

  • Tarynfor12

    I don’t think it so much SAVED the season as DELAYED what is more inevitable…NO SB.

    Has this delay given the Packers a chance to regroup and become formidable…sure.But,anything less than a 2-1 will have us in position to be one of the teams that miss the playoffs that were in it last year.

    I see the red flags coming but a 1-2 road trip says this team cannot get it together.

    • FireMMNow

      congrats for picking the field in the SB versus the packers….but i do agree that 1-2 is not good enough over the next three games, but no one besides the falcons in the NFC looks like they are going to run away with anything. the packers are right in the mix right now and look closer to a team on the rise than a team that is sliding back.

      • Tarynfor12

        “but no one besides the falcons in the NFC looks like they are going to run away with anything”.

        Congrats on being able to dismiss SF without a twitch.

        I didn’t PICK the field over the Packers…I’m saying the Packers and a 1-2 road trip are giving the field the better position.

  • Chad Lundberg

    Packers went 4-4 losing to a HORRIBLE Tampa Bay team in 2009 and still made the playoffs. Just sayin…

  • Dan

    The problem so far in this young season is that our O looks good against bad D’s and our D looks good against favorable O’s. Houston has a good D and good O, a very sound well rounded team. Let’s see how our O and D plays against them. I hope Capers calls a good game plan (and MM). I hope we come up with a huge road win against these guys. If I had to pick the game today, I’d have to lean towards Houston. But, if our O line improves and gives Arod time, and the D plays smart and aggressive, takes their game to the Houston O, we may win. (A Cobb return would help).This would be a huge victory for the Pack and would move them back into the Elite status. These are all big ifs though.

    • steve cheez

      That’s why they play the games…

  • Jim B – Kbk

    I must say I read all your comments last year. Best site anywhere, but anyway, I don’t recall exactly what you all said during 2011 and after, but a change in the D was the overriding theme. I agreed and they gave us exactly what I wanted. They scrapped the deadwood and inserted youth, strength and potential. We’re only 4 games in, and in my eyes we are 3-1. The one team we lost to is very talented; just ask my brother-in-law the Jet fan. I’m feeling a whole lot better about how we showed vs. how he feels.

    What I’m excited about is they are playing the young guys. Perry, Worthy, Daniels, McMillian, (I’m from Maine by the way and am really pulling for him. Need to give credit to New Jersey too – he grew up there), will only get better as they learn the hard way. Hayward and Moses are playing, and then there are a slew of 2nd year guys contributing. Did Capers play soft because his kids aren’t ready yet? Maybe, I can’t say. Some of the game was tough to watch, but easier than last year, if only because of my rose colored glasses from above.

    My thinking is we may lose to Houston, 50/50 but I’ll take Rodgers over Schaub anyday, and even if we were to go 1-2, when we play the division at the end of the season the kids will be ready. The last 2 SB Champions proved all you need to do is get in. The 1st week bye didn’t do much for us last year.

    Thanks for the good reads. You all have very good insight.

  • Bearmeat

    I’m going to the Houston game. Really hoping GB comes out with a win. It’s probably 60/40 slanted their way right now.

  • Big T

    I see us whooping up on Houston… We play better on the road these days anyway, our homefield advantage left when Mike Holmgren left…..