The Green Bay Packers moved to 11-3 with a 2019-esque ugly win over the upstart Carolina Panthers
The Green Bay Packers are 11-3. They won 24-16 over a Carolina Panthers team that proved to be a much stiffer test than their 4-9 record may have suggested.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the game was a little clunky. The Green Bay Packers raced to a 21-3 lead, and instead of cruising, had to sweat it out at the end. All in all, the Packers took care of business and remain in control for the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs.
Here are some of my thoughts.
1.) Brian Burns is an incredible pass rusher. I understand the envy. I was as high on him as anyone. He had a big night rushing the passer. He was also a big reason the Packers were able to build a 21-3 lead in the first half. They clearly targeted him in the running game. As long as he’s making the splash plays in the passing game, it won’t matter, but for every Packers fan acting like he’s a perfect player just know that he is not without his flaws. They were on display tonight even with his big night.
2.) The Panthers’ defense is so fast. I was really impressed with Matt Rhule’s group. They are a franchise quarterback away from being really dangerous going into 2021. I may just pick them to get into the playoffs.
3.) I absolutely hate the “Packers aren’t winning by enough” stuff I see through the course of the game. This isn’t college football. Style points don’t matter. The other team has paid professionals and really smart coaches too. They’re allowed to make plays just like the Packers are. Just win baby.
4.) Adrian Amos. He’s not as good as the Za’Darius signing, but what a player. He’s incredible. I sincerely hope he’s not a cap casualty this offseason because he is a fantastic complement to Savage.
5.) Speaking of Savage – he’s a completely different player since the season started. As pointed out by my friend over at Packer Report, Ross Uglem – the performance of Jaire Alexander, Savage, and Amos should have this defense propelled to a completely different level. They’ve been that good.
6.) Of course, they’re not at that level because Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan have been mostly poor for most of the season. King has been up-and-down his whole career. He’s been mostly down in the month of December. Sullivan had a nice year last year as a dime back, but that’s probably his best role. King.. What is there to say at this point? The Packers top need going into this offseason far and away is cornerback.
7.) Krys Barnes – I don’t know if he’s **the** answer at Inside linebacker, but he’s better than Christian Kirksey. Let the rookie cook. It sucks he left with an eye injury because he was having the best night of his young career.
8.) For all the “run heavy” crap that surfaced this offseason – the Packers averaged 7.3 yards-per-carry when Aaron Jones touched the ball. AJ Dillon had 1 carry for 18 yards. They had whatever they wanted on the ground and the Panthers were playing coverage most of the night. There was basically no reason to attempt a pass, yet the Packers went away from their run game in the second half. Some of that was because of 12, some of it was because of the way it was called. It was odd to say the least.
9.) I think it’s funny how narratives shape what it’s like when a team wins. If the Baltimore Ravens win a game the way the Packers just did, it’s “gritty and gutsy.” When Green Bay does it, their entire organization gets questioned. Their defense finally picked up their offense against an above average offensive team.
10.) Appreciation for Jaire Alexander. He is the best cornerback in football.
11.) Individual awards are ultimately meaningless, and we’ll be nitpicking the rest of the year, but the ground that Rodgers gained as the MVP front runner last week, he likely lost tonight. I thought some of his decision making was poor, particularly on some of the RPO’s. It doesn’t matter. They won, and I would rather him win an MVP in February, but some people care.
12.) AJ Dillon is going to be so much fun. I get why he’s not playing this year, but when he gets a full head of steam, I feel bad for the defender that has to get in his way.
13.) The Packers can say whatever they want about “certain packages” dictating Barnes/Gary playing more than Kirksey/Preston Smith, but it certainly feels like there’s a changing of the guard on defense. That’s a good thing.
14.) Lucas Patrick didn’t have his best night. He probably is to the 2020 offense what Chandon Sullivan was to the 2020 defense. A useful player in a role, but an upgradable piece that Green Bay should look to make a depth piece the following year. I wonder if Green Bay would consider moving him back to the bench if/when Linsley returns.
15.) Mason Crosby. Money in the bank.
16.) The Packers’ run defense in recent weeks.
Mike Davis 14 carries 59 yards
DeAndre Swift 7 carries 24 yards
Miles Sanders 10 carries 31 yards
David Montgomery 11 carries 103 yards (10 carries 46 yards if you remove a 57 yard run)
Jonathan Taylor 22 carries 90 yards
James Robinson 23 carries 109 yards
That’s an average of 69.3 yards-per-game given up to the opponent’s leading rusher since November 15th. Their run defense has been much better since their debacle against Dalvin Cook on November 1st.
Next week they face the ultimate test. Reigning rushing champion Derrick Henry. I am not afraid of the boogeyman, so I am not afraid of Derrick henry.
17.) They’re 11-3. 2 more wins and the road to the Super Bowl rolls through Lambeau Field. Enjoy the ride.