Crimson Aviator

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Crimson Aviator

Crimson Aviator

All of a sudden, Packers are in the playoff chase


Week 12 couldn’t have gone any better for the Green Bay Packers.

They limped into Ford Field for a Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit Lions, one of the best teams in the NFC. Green Bay’s injury report was longer than Joey Bosa’s nose, with RB Aaron Jones, LB De’Vondre Campbell, CB Jaire Alexander, S Rudy Ford, and WR Dontayvion Wicks among those out for the game. 

Green Bay won the toss and elected to receive, which is a rarity in today’s NFL. The plan was clearly to get off to a fast start, and the Packers did just that. On the first play of the game, Jordan Love connected with Christian Watson on a 53-yard shot downfield, and Love finished the drive with a beautiful touchdown throw in traffic to Jayden Reed. Green Bay scored 20 points in the first quarter and spent the rest of the game protecting the lead. Rashan Gary had his best game since he tore his ACL on the same field a year ago, finishing with three sacks and two forced fumbles. The Packers held on to shock the Lions and 33.7 million TV viewers, the largest audience ever for an early-window Thanksgiving game. The only disappointment for Green Bay fans was that Jordan Love was robbed of his post-game turkey leg

It was a huge win for Jordan Love, who has led the Packers to three wins in the last four games. During that stretch, he’s thrown eight touchdowns and just two interceptions, and he ranks fourth in the league in passer rating. After Thanksgiving, Love has his team at 5-6, just a half game out of the playoffs and certainly trending in the right direction.

Many of the teams in the NFC wild card race can’t say the same. The Packers’ chances of making the playoffs were boosted after the Saints, Commanders, and Buccaneers all lost in Week 12. 

Green Bay’s main competition for a playoff spot, though, is probably the Seahawks and Vikings. Seattle was embarrassed on Thanksgiving by the 49ers and lost a close one in Dallas on Thursday to kick off Week 13. That’s just the beginning of a brutal final stretch that includes another game against San Francisco, as well as matchups with the Eagles and Steelers.

As for Minnesota, it appears that the Josh Dobbs magic has run out. The Vikings traded for the journeyman quarterback to replace Kirk Cousins after his season-ending injury, and for a few games, he certainly exceeded expectations. However, he came back to earth on Monday night. In a game that set offense back 50 years, Dobbs threw for four interceptions in a 12-10 loss to the Bears. It’s hard to say the Bears won the game; it’s more like they happened not to lose. Both teams looked terrible. It was hard to watch.

It seems that everything is falling into place for the Packers to sneak into the playoffs. After a tough Sunday night matchup with the Chiefs, the remainder of Green Bay’s schedule is as easy as it gets. They’ll face the Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, Vikings, and Bears, and if the Packers go 4-2 in their final six games with losses to the Chiefs and Vikings, their odds of making the playoffs are 90% according to the New York Times. You can play around with different scenarios here.

The takeaway for Packers fans is that all of a sudden, Green Bay has a great shot at the postseason – something that hardly anyone predicted before the season began.

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