Packers Periscope: Playoff Bye Retrospective

The Past: You have to admit it’s a little but of a miracle that the Packers are back in the playoffs; the NFL is setup for parity almost a third of playoff teams not making it the following year and it always seems like some teams like the Titans and Browns are so inept at football that they can’t even stumble their way into the playoffs and yet the Packers have been part of the postseason every year under Aaron Rodgers minus his first year starting and they managed to win it all in 2010. The last time the Packers won the NFC North and managed to secure a 1st round playoff bye was in 2011, when they almost went 16-0 and then fell on their face against the New York Giants.

While the Packers are no stranger to the playoffs it can’t be said that they’ve had much success in recent memory; outside a hot streak that won them a Super Bowl in 2010 and a fluky game against a Joe Webb lead Minnesota Vikings the Packers have gone one and done more times than fans would like to remember

The Present: The Packers close out the season with a 12-4 record and the NFC title for the 3rd year in a row. Perhaps most importantly, the Packers squad hasn’t been this healthy since the 2011 season where they were an offensive juggernaut save for two games (unfortunately one of which was the NFC divisional round). However unlike the 2011 Packers which was all throw, the 2014 Packers boast one of the most balanced offenses in the league with Eddie Lacy becoming a perfect compliment to Aaron Rodgers. Add to that a defense that while has had sudden lapses in execution is considerably better than the 2011 squad, which was historically terrible. When taken in total, this is probably the most talented team the Packers have fielded during the Mike McCarthy/Ted Thompson/Aaron Rodgers era.

However the playoff field will not be an easy one. While Carolina and the rest of the NFC south probably should have been sent back to the minor leagues, the other 4 teams are all very talented and will offer a tough test for the Packers. Obviously the biggest challenge for the Packers would be the Seattle Seahawks, who have proven to have the formula for stopping the Packers in their last couple meetings. Also since the Seahawks secured the 1st seed, playing the Seahawks would be the only situation where the Packers would not have a home game, where they have been significantly better than away. After that the Cowboys offer an interesting matchup, while the Packers are a below average run defense while the Cowboys have one of the best rushing attacks, I’m not convinced that the Packers couldn’t out throw Tony Romo and Dez Bryant since the Cowboys defense is rather average. Next up would be the Packers old buddies the Detroit Lions; who managed to get out of their own way enough to qualify for the playoffs. However it’s still the same dirt bag Lions, and sooner or later their unsportsmanlike playing style will come to bite them. Lastly is the Arizona Cardinals, who seem to be on their 30th quarterback this season. While the offense has taken a nosedive the last couple of weeks, the Cardinals defense is still fearsome.

The Future: Luckily this isn’t a situation like the Ravens found themselves where they won the Super Bowl and were quickly dismantled in free agency. The Packers are primed for at least a couple years where they have Aaron Rodgers in his prime and most of the key players are locked up.  Add to that a stable front office and coaching staff that is always forward looking and Packers fans can look forward to more winning seasons.

At this point all the Packers and their fans can do is sit back and watch the playoffs unfurl.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • TedTomsin

    Thomas “Roy” Hobbes…. 11-5? Didn’t the Packers finish 12-4? unless I am reading it wrong. If I am my bad.

    Ted

  • Thomas – GB finished 12-4. And Seattle has only beaten us once in the past 10 years: in week 1 of this season. I REFUSE to call the FAIL MARY game anything but a win for Green Bay.

    If we run the ball right at Seattle, gang tackle Lynch, and keep Russel from scrambling, we’ll win the NFC. We have the speed on defense to spy Russ and we have the beef up front (and at RB) to run right at anyone. IMO the Hawks (and maybe the Pats in a SB rematch) are the only ones that can keep us from winning our 5th Lombardi.

    • TedTomsin

      Thomas has now fixed it so it’s all good. Growing up as a Packers fan used to 3 and 4 win seasons, I simply hate to shortchange a 12 win season. lol

    • Tundraboy

      Exactly how I look at it. Well said

  • montana83

    Off subject but I sure enjoyed watching Oregon’s offense. I mean 10 to 18 seconds between plays. Amazing.

    The coach, Mark Helfrich learned this system from Chip Kelly and by being the Quarterback of this team. I didn’t know they played football here:

    http://www.raiffeisenvikings.com/

    Austrian/Czech football?

    The Prague Black Panthers? Except these guys are all white.

    http://www.pragueblackpanthers.cz/

    • TedTomsin

      I am sure the NFL is headed for a foreign team down the road. I think the NFL has maxed out it’s popularity in the U.S. and is on the downswing. The only way they can grow is internationally.

  • Since ’61

    Thomas – I would not discount Carolina as a possible playoff foe which would happen if the Panthers defeat the Cardinals which they will and Detroit defeats Dallas or if the Cardinals defeat the Cardinals and the Seahawks and the Packers defeat Dallas. Also, it’s fair to mention that the Packers have the best record in the NFL over the last 13 games of the season. They are the only team to go 11-2 over that period. All the other playoff teams are 10-3 or worse. Of course everyone is even now so only the next game matters for the Packers. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Nick Perry

      Thank you Since ’61! The Packers DO have the best record since that week 3 loss at Detroit. The amazing thing is the Packers completely obliterated teams beginning in week 4. Aaron Rodgers has 5 INT’s this year and 4 were deflected. The defense has improved each week since the bye save the 2nd half of the Atlanta game. Eddie Lacy is ready for these playoffs. McCarthy did a great job keeping a NFL RB “Fresh” after a 17 week season. Even Joe Buck noticed that in last weeks game against Detroit and Buck doesn’t notice much, he’s too busy listening to Aikman take shots at the Packers.As long as Rodgers calf holds up the Packers can beat anyone anywhere, including Seattle.

      A little side note here, is anyone else pissed off that Josh Sitton isn’t “First Team” All Pro. I’m sorry folks call me a homer but no way did Zack Martin the rookie Guard from Dallas have a better season that Sitton! Show em in the Playoffs Josh.

      • Since ’61

        Nick – MM has handled the RBs very well this season. Depending on Rodgers calf, Lacy may be called upon to fill an ever larger role throughout the playoffs. As for Josh, it’s unfortunate but expected. Dallas receives much more national media attention than the Packers and of course Martin has Jerry Jones “the windbag” blowing his horn for him. I’m OK with it though, we know how good our guys are and because they don’t get as much recognition it allows us to have some secret weapons when we face our opponents. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61