Packers Stock Report: It’s Almost Playoff Time Edition

Aaron Rodgers

As Green Bay Packers fans, we tend to always look at the big picture. If the Packers beat a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3, we’re happy about the win, but we’re a little concerned about “only” scoring 20 points and what that might mean for the offense heading into the postseason against stronger teams.

We’re also happy about being 11-4 heading into the season’s final game with an opportunity to win the division, secure a first-round bye and play at least one home playoff game. But we’re also concerned that the Packers haven’t been dominant for the last 10 quarters and if that might lead to an early exit against a quality playoff opponent.

Three’s nothing wrong with looking at the big picture and peeking ahead. I do it all the time and it’s part of what makes following the Packers and the NFL so much fun. But the NFL is a week-to-week league, especially this season. Or at least a month-to-month league.

Heck, just this season I think the Broncos, Patriots, Seahawks and Packers have gone through stretches where the experts pegged them as the obvious Super Bowl “favorites.” Even Philadelphia and Indianapolis have been mentioned as Super Bowl “favorites” at some point. Most recently, Dallas has joined that list.

Any team that survives the ups and downs of a season like this one to be in the mix for a division title and a first-round bye on the season’s final day is rising. It’s an added bonus if, like the Packers, that team has an MVP quarterback and an offensive line playing at the top of its collective game.

There’s a lot to be excited about on this Packers team. There are also a few areas of concern. Regardless of how you look at this team as January approaches, it’s been a fun ride.

On to the Packers Stock Report:

Rising

Morgan Burnett
What a bounceback season for Burnett. He seems to be playing closer to the line of scrimmage, which gets him involved in stopping the run and even rushing the quarterback every now and then. For a guy left for dead after last season’s disaster, it’s been quite the transformation.

Aaron Rodgers
Anyone who completes 78 percent of his passes and throws for 318 yards with the flu on a bum leg makes the rising category in my book.

Clay Matthews
Ever since taking more snaps inside, Matthews has been steady. His play on Sunday elevated him back into the rising category. I love this new hybrid role for Matthews. Stick him inside if teams start gashing the defense up the middles, then put him on the edge in obvious passing situations.

Steady

Mike Daniels
He blows up at least a couple of plays per game. A lot of us pegged Daniels as one of the keys to the Packers season and, with the exception of the opener in Seattle, he’s delivered.

Jordy Nelson
Jordy should probably be in the rising category, but I’m still kind of mad at him for dropping that pass in Buffalo. My favorite thing about Nelson is his ability to make a big play when the Packers are spinning their wheels. It’s like he says, “Ok fellas, ya’ll are playing like horse manure, so I’m gonna go ahead and make a ridiculous catch and see if that gets us going.”

T.J. Lang
According to Pro Football Focus, Lang has graded positively in six consecutive games and led the team with a 4.8 grade on Sunday. Overall, the offensive line has been tearing it up. We’ll see how they hold up against strong fronts like Detroit and Seattle, but if they keep playing like this, it’s hard to see the Packers losing.

Falling

Nick Perry
If Perry would step up just a little bit, this defense could take another step forward. Perry doesn’t need to morph into Lawrence Taylor, just play a little better than he is now and fill the void on the edge if Matthews moves inside.

Mason Crosby/Tim Masthay
Listing both the kicker and punter as falling might be a little harsh, but both need to play better heading into the postseason. Crosby has missed a few makable kicks and Masthay’s punts have been shaky. Remember when the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC title game during the 2010 season? Masthay neutralized Devin Hester and pinned the Bears deep in their own territory often. The Packers will need their kicker and punter to be at the top of their game in the coming weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not only is the team awful, but the stadium was half full of Packers fans. Not a good situation going on in the other Bay.

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Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .

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  • croatpackfan

    Morgan Burnett 2013 season was statistically very bad for Morgan, because he was playing not only his responsibility, but also trying to covber for 2 (today released) teammates who where more than awful. THat put him in the position in between for most of the plays last season. This season, playing with back of Ha-Ha & Mycah, Morgan can concentrate on his plays only, which show us why Packers organization keep him as special player.

    Anyhow, I agree with you for Jordy. He still need to redemption himself for that 2 drops in Buffalo!

  • Since ’61

    Adam – agree with you on Morgan Burnett. I was one of those who felt that he should be released or reduced to back up status after the way he played in 2013. But he has come a long way and has played very well for the Packers this season. This is why I stick to my business and let TT stick to his. He’s better at it than I would be. I think that I would add Davante Adams to the falling category. Since the Patriots game he seems to have lost his focus. He will be vital to the Packer’s attack during the playoffs and needs to pick up his game. I don’t know what has happened to our kickers either. Let’s see how they respond this week when they are back at Lambeau. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Sven

      I agree Adams is falling right now. He needs to get back on track.

      I think Peppers would qualify for rising. He played a heck of a game in Tampa Bay. Lets hope he can do it again on sunday.

      • Since ’61

        Agree. Time for Peppers to step up big, beginning this week. Thanks, Since ’61

  • Big T

    Nick “the fairy'” Perry is getting close to wasting space. Hope he can turn it around. My bet would be another injury soon for him. He seems to like the sidelines better than the field…

    • croatpackfan

      But who is the guilty for that? I think we know the answer…

  • Taryn Miller

    “… just play a little better than he is now and fill the void on the edge if Matthews moves inside.”

    Nick Perry is a ‘void’ as to his draft status,his play and hopefully his contract….please don’t pick up his 5th year option….money out the window.

    • Yep. At this point I agree with you. Let him go to a 43 team for a mid level FA contract and take the 5th round pick. Bust. 🙁

  • TedTomsin

    I agree with most of your picks Adam. Disagree on Rodgers rising. I also would like to add Davante Adams in the falling.
    Here’s some of mine. I always like this weekly article as it allows me to vent.

    Rising:
    1. Burnett –
    2. Dix
    3. Matthews
    4. Barrington
    5. Cobb
    6. Lacy
    7. Lang

    Steady:
    1. TT’s facial expression

    Falling:
    1. Aaron Rodgers – 1 td pass in two games and who also has a calf injury is not rising in my professional opinion.
    2. Davante Adams – We need a miracle with this guy the rest of the way that he can play like the NE game. He’s absolutely critical to our postseason success. That easy td drop against NE seems to have shell shocked him ever since.
    3. Anyone who is connected with Shawn Slocum on any of the special teams.

    Ted

  • You know, if the offense can figure out how to produce vs. Tampa 2 style defenses, I think this team can beat anyone, anywhere. The D has been overall very strong in the 2nd half…

  • Larry Whitman

    I only have one observation here…when the offense is performing as the Packers’ have since the bye week, it’s hard on the punter when he doesn’t get any game action. Not punting is good overall, but punters don’t get live action in practice and if they don’t get that in a game, it’s awkward at times. I don’t think Masthay can be placed in the falling category.

    Crosby? I don’t know. It shouldn’t be age. It shouldn’t be cold weather since he’s done well before.

    • Nick Perry

      Crosby scares the hell out of me. After the season he had last year I felt pretty good about our kicking game this year. In recent weeks that sick feeling I have in my stomach every time Crosby lines up to kick a FG is back. On a positive at least he hasn’t been 30 yards wide right, (See Indy game of 2012)…Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

  • BRinMilwaukee

    Tampa played pretty well in that game. It was probably their version of playing out of their minds against the Packers.