Packers Beat Bucs: Knee-Jerk Reaction

Aaron Rodgers, NFL MVP

As promised, there was no letdown in Tampa.  The Green Bay Packers got a 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have clinched a playoff spot.  As of right now, they’re the sixth seed in the NFC.  But this Packers team is nowhere near content nor done yet.  Success is a perennial thing in Green Bay and as much as the fans expect playoff football, the Packers know they have a lot more to gain before January begins.

Next week the Packers host the Detroit Lions with the winner claiming the NFC North division title and likely a first-round bye in the postseason.  That sounds pretty good to any Packers player that you ask.  They had a players-only meeting the night before the Tampa game to make sure everyone understands just what it is that they want to accomplish and that they’re all on the same page.

Let’s look at some takeaways from today’s game as well as the scenarios leading into the playoffs.

Aaron Rodgers pulled his calf – Any time Rodgers sustains any type of injury, it’s a concern in Packers-land.  But Rodgers even went so far as to say that while he expects to suit up and play against the Lions next week, “you never know”.  Given that Rodgers sustained the leg injury very early in the Bucs game and finished the day, I’d be surprised if he isn’t starting next week.  The Packers, and Rodgers, dodged a bullet when the quarterback was able to recover from the pulled hamstring suffered in late October against the New Orleans Saints.  Still, we have to wonder how much the calf muscle will affect Rodgers’ ability to make all of his throws next week.

A win over the Lions isn’t a “must”, but it might as well be – For the millionth time, this isn’t 2010.  Some of the lessons from that team can be applied here but this team has already secured a playoff spot and they’re veteran enough to handle a bye week.  And they need one.  This time of year, everyone is banged up and with QB1 now nursing a muscle pull, a week off would do wonders for the big games that would lie ahead.  That’s not even mentioning that the Packers can stay at home and not have to worry about travel schedules and time changes.  A win over Detroit all but secures at least the second seed and a week off.  A loss means they limp into the playoffs and have to travel right away, likely to one of Dallas or Atlanta.  Again, not 2010 so you can toss out all of the tape of that playoff win over the Falcons.  Trust that the coaching staff has already begun preparing for Detroit and probably has been for a few weeks now.  These Lions aren’t what we’re used to in years past and if this year’s team is the most legitimate threat to end “the streak” than any other since the last Lions team that came into Wisconsin and won a game.  These aren’t the same Lions guided by our favorite roody-poo-candy-ass Jim Schwartz.  This is going to be a battle and a low-scoring one at that.  The Packers have been good at home this season.  That won’t matter one bit once the ball is kicked off.  The Lions are playing well on the road and aren’t phased by weather.  They’re also not scoring a ton of points so the Packers won’t likely have to get into a shootout to win.  If Green Bay can take care of the ball, they have a good chance to claim another division title.  The Lions will have a lot to say about it first, though.

The defense is playing as well as they have all season – While it may be true that the NFL is no longer a “defense wins championships” league, a solid defense is essential to a deep playoff run.  The Packers have now gone two full games without giving up an offensive touchdown.  That’s an impressive feat but in December, it’s a good way to set the tone for the second season.  Sure it was against two hapless offenses, but they’re still NFL offenses and both had weapons the Packers had to account for.  Buffalo Bills receiver Sammy Watkins was an after-thought last week.  This week, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans were moved to the back pages.  A lot of that credit has to go to the pass rush, which was especially stifling today against Bucs quarterback Josh McCown.  Julius Peppers came alive with two sacks on the day.  The Bucs offensive line is one of the worst in the league, but that doesn’t mean this performance doesn’t resonate some confidence among the Packers defenders.

The run game will work – Play calling and predictability aside, the Packers have proven they can run on good defenses.  I’m not saying the Bucs were a good run defense, because they’re not.  But the ground production against the Bills and the way the Packers offensive line is playing, as a whole, is a pawsitive as they will now face nothing but elite defenses for the remainder of their schedule.  The individual linemen aren’t great by themselves, but they play well as a unit.  Left guard Josh Sitton is still the team’s best and rookie center Corey Linsley has been all that the Packers and their fans could have hoped for this season.  As long as this group can stay healthy, they can create some production and also keep Rodgers upright in pass protection.  After being hit a few times early against Tampa, Rodgers was relatively unscathed the rest of the day and had ample time to throw.  That said, the one gripe I have are the running backs dancing in the backfield.  Eddie Lacy and James Starks both gained some good yardage and have become weapons in the short passing game, but both are still guilty of failing to get north-south and see what is in front of them.  The toss play and the sweep haven’t worked all season and isn’t likely to start now.  Hopefully the Packers can keep with that’s working and junk what clearly is not.  Packers head coach Mike McCarthy likes to keep defenses off balance by mixing in some runs when in pass formation or when a pass is most likely, but these better defenses aren’t likely to be fooled all day, or at all.

Believe in this coaching staff – Speaking of McCarthy and play calling, this staff and this team have been here before.  It doesn’t always equate to wins and just because the Packers might get knocked out of the postseason to a good team, it doesn’t mean they had a bad game plan or the calls were largely wrong.  Two decades of really good football have made it difficult for Packers fans to watch their team get thumped and sent home.  Get used to it.  The Packers aren’t winning it all every season and the cliche is still alive and well:  it’s very tough to win playoff games.

Playoff scenarios – At this moment, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks have yet to do battle but many have already penciled Seattle in for the win and they would jump to the NFC’s one seed.  Arizona is running with Ryan Lindley, their third-string quarterback and Seattle’s defense is playing at a 2013 level.  If Arizona can pull off the impossible, they would secure the number one seed and it would make things very interesting for the other NFC playoff teams.  I so heavily doubt that happens that I’m not even getting into that unless it happens.

The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East with a convincing win over the Indianapolis Colts and the Falcons are in the driver’s seat for the NFC South title (someone has to be!) after a big win over the Saints in New Orleans.  The Saints are now officially eliminated from contention so there will be no trip back to New Orleans for the Packers.

What seems very likely for the Packers is this:  If they beat the Lions, they’re likely the two seed and would only have to travel to Seattle in the NFC Championship, should they reach that round.  In that scenario, the Cowboys and Falcons would be division winners and the third and fourth seed, respectively.  The Cardinals and Lions would be the wild card teams.  The highest seed coming out of the wild card round would travel to Green Bay and face the Packers in the divisional round.

If Detroit wins the division, they would get the second seed and the Packers are likely the sixth seed.  They would then likely head to Dallas, which was a house of horrors for the Packers teams in the 1990’s.  Should the Packers get past the Cowboys, they would then travel to Seattle in the divisional round.  This scenario should be giving everyone a headache.

We’ll know what everyone’s fate is in less than a week.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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56 thoughts on “Packers Beat Bucs: Knee-Jerk Reaction

  1. Playoff scenarios where the Pack winds up in Detroit a week later for a wild-card game. Scenarios where the Pack winds up the 1 seed and Detroit travels to Seattle for a wild-card. Scenarios where the Pack goes to Dallas to face a suddenly formidable Cowboys team.

    This stuff is too crazy. Did anyone ever imagine that after week 16, Seattle, Arizona, Dallas, Detroit and Green Bay would all be sitting at 11-4?

  2. Beat the Lions, get the bye. Let all the other chips fall where they may. By Wednesday we should have a pretty good idea of Rodger’s status for the Lions. If he could finish the game in Tampa he should be fine by next Sunday. My guess is MM and Rodgers will try to keep the Lions in doubt for as long as possible this week. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  3. Well The Packers had a good season now it all ends. They will beat Detroit but what is the point? Nobody but nobody beats Seattle in Seattle. For all intents and purposes their season ended in Buffalo, who just lost to the Raiders, Ouch. Did anyone watch Seattle just manhandle Arizona? No way the Packers can stay with Seattle. Their defense is dominating and how are the Packers going to tackle Wilson and Lynch? Well, they are not. Yes, the Packers blew home field last week and now next week is their “Super Bowl.” I know Marpag and Since 61 are going to say, “let’s play one game at a time,” but if any of you out there think the Packers can beat Seattle I would like to have the stuff you are smoking. Just sayin.

    1. Glad you have it all worked out. You have decided failure is our only future. Why do you even bother watching the season? We just made it into the playoffs and your only comment is that the season’s over….unbelievable. I feel badly for you that the season is already ruined. Must be horrible feeling. GoPack!

      1. Question, do you REALLY think, in your heart of hearts, that Green Bay can go to Seattle and win?

        1. Absolutely! Why concede the game before it’s played. If teams or humans in general for that matter had your attitude nothing would ever be accomplished. No team would ever pull an upset or win a championship. For all of our sakes, I’m glad that FDR and Churchill didn’t have that attitude about the Nazis. First, Seattle has not locked up the #1 seed. Second, Seattle may lose in the playoff round before the NFC championship game and never need to play in Seattle. Focus on what we control. Right now that means beating the Lions. You ask who is going tackle Lynch? I’ll ask who is going to tackle Lacy? Who is going to stop Rodgers with the way our OL is playing? If I did not believe in my team I could not be a fan. Yes, I fully realize that the Packers may lose, that’s true for every game. But they can also win. That’s also true for every game. Because something is going to be difficult does not make it impossible or hopeless. Adversity is overcome by facing it. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t, but giving up or whining about it achieves nothing. If the Packers lose let them lose one hell of a fight rather than giving up before we get there. Never give up! Beat the Lions first and then see where we are. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

          1. I’m in!!!!! And as for Seatle,let them worry about us. Throw out the first game of this year because I have to think we will not be outcoached this time and we are not the same team. Wiping out that stupid hail mary game and going on to the SB. How great would that be? They are very capable of doing that. Believe it.

          2. Well said, Sir. BTW, I can be a fan w/o believing in my team. I was a fan during the ’70s and ’80s when I aspired to hope for, but never reached belief in, my team.

            1. Reynoldo – I can relate to that. I came through the 70s and 80s also, as a long distance fan. I dealt with the local Giants, Jets and Eagles fans, then the band wagons, of Cowboys, Steelers and 49er fans. The Lombardi years sustained me then. I used to think that each next season would the year they turned it around. Didn’t happen until 1992 with Wolf, Holmgran and Favre, plus Reggie in ’93. But it was great to finally get there. Thanks, Since ’61

        2. Did you see the Packers going o Buffalo and the WR dropping 8 passes? Rodgers having 3 INT? Rodgers having the worst game of his career? Trust and believe Rodgers game against Buffalo was more of Rodgers having a bad game than Buffalo’s defense.

          If Adams plays like he did against New England, McCarthy doesn’t coach scared then hell yes I expect them to win! 2 weeks ago (I forgot the team Seattle played) the WR going against Sherman caught 5 balls in 5 passes thrown to him at one point. He puts on his drawers just like you and I!

          1. I think that was the Giants, and Odell Beckham (who saved my fantasy season) is the receiver who you’re taking about.

    2. I just checked, Seattle’s record is 6-1 at home. Dallas beat them there week 6, so it can be done. The Packers haven’t been that great outside of Wisconsin, but there is no reason they couldn’t beat the Seahawk. Saying that since AZ with a 3rd string QB got throttled, therefore the Packers have no chance is kind of silly.

      1. If you can power-run against Seattle, you can beat them. It minimizes the downfield play of those big safeties.

        This is what scares me about Dallas, regardless of where they play. They are capable of running right over the top of just about anyone, and Dez Bryant can be a monster if his head’s on straight.

    3. Cow, I understand the situation of not having the no. 1 seed and having to go to Seattle to get to a super bowl seems like a long shot but what Since 61 said is true.

      We have a better offense than Seattle. They have a slightly better defense and special teams I am sure.

      In 1994, the Packers traveled to SF with a rookie Adam Timmerman starting his first game against Dana Stubblefield. It didn’t look good but for people that remember that game, the Packers destroyed the Niners that day with the defense setting the tone by getting a quick defensive score. The Packers were huge underdogs on the road but they did it.

      The Packers do have the players to beat Seattle and they are much much better than when they first played them. Just get in the playoffs is what every team wants. Once in anything can happen.

      1. “They have a slightly better defense and special teams I am sure.”

        Slightly….The Packers defense is a moped vs a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

        We can defeat the Seahawks anywhere, anytime and anyplace….if our offense can control the game and ‘get’ the points when in the red zone……and ‘not’ play scared/predictable as in week one. 🙂

          1. I’m not placing them in the backseat….I’m just not placing them behind the wheel of the level of car that the Seahawks drive.

            Big difference between ascending and slightly…..c’mon,lets be honest and real here.

            1. Taryn – since the bye week the Packers defense is ranked 5th or 6th in the league. Not as good as Seattle’s but not too bad either. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

              1. True, but since the bye they’ve only played one really good offensive unit–New England–and a very up-and-down one in Atlanta. Philly has been a mess since Foles got hurt. While the defense looks better, some of that is due to the quality of the opposition.

              2. Dobber – I agree. But you can only play the teams on your schedule and you still have to make the plays. Point is the Packer’s defense has improved since the 1st half of the season. Now, it’s up to the Packers to carry their recent success into the games that count. I’m still concerned about their tackling but their level of confidence should be very high and they can feed off of that especially while they play at home. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

              3. The separation of ranking spots is about stats,which for the most is not as significant looking as actual game play.
                Erase much of a teams garbage time stats and the separation becomes a more true vision.
                Watching the defenses of both Sea and ARI on Sunday tells you the Packers aren’t ‘slightly’ behind as stated by TedTomsin and the ‘ascension’ of the Packers has a ways to go to be atop the Mesa/plateau with either.

              4. Taryn, I’ll say it again. Seattle has a “slightly better” defense than the Packers. Thank you Since 61 for proving I’m right and Taryn is wrong.

                Ted – slightly more knowledgeable than Taryn

              5. Here’s what you do…play a video of the Seahawk defense on slo-mo and the Packers on real time…’slightly’ better becomes reality in your world.

              6. Taryn – well stated points, as usual. Seattle was playing against a 3rd string QB who probably shouldn’t even be in the league, so I would expect them to dominate. With that said, their defense is very formidable. Arizona’s defense playing against a fully manned Seattle offense was down only 8 points up until the 4th quarter when they were too exhausted to remain effective was more impressive to me. And I would agree, probably more effective than the Packers defense. But neither Arizona’s defense or Seattle’s has faced the Packers offense with the way the OL has been playing of late. And if Rodgers returns to his pre-Buffalo level of play I like our chances, even on the road. Until then, let’s beat the Lions and get the bye. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

              7. Since 61′

                I have faith we can beat anyone anywhere anytime…that wasn’t even the issue….the issue was the defense level of each being ‘slightly’ better or worse depending on POV.

                Stat sheets are like the side mirrors on a car..they make things look closer than they really are.

                GOPACKGO !!! 🙂

              8. “Stat sheets are like the side mirrors on a car..they make things look closer than they really are.”

                I use the side mirrors all the time Taryn and I have no problems using them. When you say these mirrors make things closer do you mean a lot closer or slightly closer? I’m trying to understand your interpretation of the word “slightly” because I think you and I define that differently.

                The Packers defense is no 5 or 6 according to Since 61. That would put it in the “slightly” category in comparison to Seattle’s defense. Maybe you see that ranking differently I don’t know. I know men think different than women on pretty much everything so that is probably the main problem I am guessing.

                Ted – slightly irritated

              9. Lets use the stat sheet and not game tape.

                Sea-268.6 yds per game
                GB-348.6 yds per game
                There are 11 teams with lower numbers than GB

                Total defense yds
                There are 11 teams with lower numbers than GB

                Regardless of who played who and going by the numbers…how the heck can you say the Seahawks are ‘only slightly’ better than the Packers.

                Sea rush def-84.1
                GB rush def-120.5
                Sea pass def-184.5
                GB pass def-228.1

                Not even considering the over all game speed divide of each individual player…Sea is by far ahead and better than GB…period.

                Reality…not kool-aid.

                Gender plays no part.

                Merry Xmas

              10. GB was involved in numerous blowouts where the defense was not playing as hard. I’m going by what I see lately and I see a defense that is SLIGHTLY less than Seattle’s defense. I am sorry you can’t accept my use of the word slightly.
                Ted –

  4. I put this comment in the last post, but think it’s worth a re-post on a fresher article:

    Dear Santa: I only want 3 things for Christmas. I’ll even wait until 12/28 to open the gifts.

    1. A GB win over Detroit

    2. A Rams win over Seattle

    3. A 49ers win over Arizona

    I don’t want to play Seattle or Dallas at all if avoidable, and I certainly don’t want to play them back to back and have to travel for one of them. So, yeah, this will work nicely Santa. And while, you’re at it – try to lose some weight this year. Mrs. Clause is worried about you. 😉

    1. I want the Packers not just to win, but to also beat the best teams in doing so. I believe that they can do it.

      However, it would be nice to face the best at home.

  5. The Lions are dirty bastards and their karma catches up with them next week. Time to take out the trash…

    1. Anybody see Raiola’s “accidental” stomp on Ego Ferguson’s ankle? There’s a decent chance that the Lion’s will be without their starting center next week. At least, they SHOULD be… if Roger is truly interested in “player safety,” that is.

        1. Just saw that he has received a 1 game suspension. So he’s out next Sunday. He’s appealing – naturally – but that appeal should be decided (and denied) today.

      1. More cheap play from a guy with a checkered past. His lack of discipline might cost his team an opportunity to play at home in the playoffs.

    1. Yes, the toss play looked great there, especially when it looked like AR checked into it against a stacked line. Excellently blocked, a thing of beauty.

    2. I’ve been waiting for them to call that all season. Lacy needs to be running between the tackles more often than not, but sometimes against these teams piling up the middle, you’ve got to get him into space and let him run over some DBs.

  6. “While it may be true that the NFL is no longer a “defense wins championships” league, a solid defense is essential to a deep playoff run.”

    Are you kidding me?

    Defense does and always will win championships. How about last years SB, Seattle’s defense dismantled Denver’s offense. Just like, if they play each other, Seattle will do to our beloved Packers.

    Not whining, Since ’61, just saying.

    1. All things being equal, a good offense should beat a good defense in sports like football and basketball, simply because the offense knows where it is going and the defense (scouting aside) does not. This is especially true in the NFL this year if the rules are enforced properly (unlike the Bills game).

      There’s nothing magical or unbeatable about Seattle’s D. They have good players (especially Wagner) and run a good scheme. AR, Jordy, Lacy, and Cobb can be trusted to go up against anyone. Would love to see Sherman try to cover Jordy or Cobb man to man, or better yet get trucked by Eddie. GB fans should be confident against Seattle, I guarantee the team is. Wiping the smirk off Carroll’s face is just a bonus.

      1. Again, did you watch last years Super Bowl? Seattle does not give up any big plays. Therefore, the offense has to have a 12-15 play drive without a mistake. That is why Seattle D is so tough. Oh, by the way, they can tackle too!

        1. The statistics don’t help your argument very much. The past 10 Superbowl winners had an average defensive ranking of 12th in both yards allowed and points allowed, meaning that the average Superbowl winner was “average plus” on defense. Only about three of those 10 Superbowl winners were truly dominating on defense.

          Yes, we’re aware that Seattle had a great defense last year. But football was not invented last year. You might want to base your observations on a slightly larger group than just one team.

          The saying “Defense wins championships” is an overly simplistic cliché. There is certainly some truth in it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. What wins championships is “scoring more points than your opponent.” Scoring more than your opponent involves offense just as much as it does defense.

        2. People lose track of just how average the Denver offense–which lit up the scoreboard over the course of the regular season–was looking through the playoffs. They weren’t firing on all cylinders and were a perfect matchup for Seattle.

        3. That’s why said all things being equal. Who knows what happens last SB if the first snap doesn’t sail past Peyton’s head. With regard to long drives, people used to say that about the Bear’s D also, GB fared pretty well against them in that period.

  7. Pack absolutely has to win this week and get the 2 seed for a chance for SB, IMO. No way they make it through 3 games on road according to how they played on road this year. Really sucks that Seattle has HF. That loss at Buffalo is huge. Maybe the Cowboys can knock off Seattle before the NFC Champion game, if the seeding works out that way in the 2nd rd. Would love to play the Cowgirls at Lambeau for the NFC cchampionship. .

      1. NO…the New Orleans game was the killer. Losing to a decent AFC team on the road isn’t as much of a kick to the gut as losing to a struggling NFC team, which counts against your conference record.

  8. Pack beats Lions, get week off, and possibly play Cowboys at Lambeau. Would bring back memories of old NFC Championship games when Lombardi kept nipping Landry. Cowboys would test our run stopping ability. We would test their pass stopping abilities. Pack would be favored. If victorious, most likely on to SEA for NFC Championship game. Once more, run stopping ability tested, this time with a QB who can’t be sacked. Will MM throw in direction of Sherman this time? Sure hope so. I would be surprised to see us get back to SB this year but if we do, I think DEN will be waiting for us.

  9. To beat these teams with strong fronts you have to be able to run the ball and stay patient. Play great defense and Special Teams. GB cannot go out there with the mindset of chucking it around the field versus those teams. It is OK to punt and change field position. All these games from now on will be “grinders” and the refs have obviously put the whistles away once again where I don’t see as many illegal contact and defensive holding penalties. Please bring the screen game back to life!!!

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