Win Over Browns a Silver Lining During a Difficult Packers Season

This week, our Jon Meerdink appeared on the exceptional UK Packers podcast. You can catch the entire interview below, but here’s a brief transcript on the waiting game with Aaron Rodgers and the silver lining from a difficult season.

Stephen O’Brien from UK Packers: The media narrative is that the Packers need to win out to have a good chance at making the playoffs. I sat down and looked at the playoff scenarios – of course, having the Vikings lose every game – and then went through the other important NFC games.

If the Packers win out and finish 10-6, they could potentially have the third seed. Green Bay has some very difficult games coming up. The Panthers looked on fire this week, the Vikings are incredibly dangerous, and the Lions, who are ahead of us in the NFC North.

It all comes down to Aaron Rodgers being back. It came out Monday that we still don’t have word on whether he’ll be back this week quite yet.

Jon Meerdink: I was disappointed but not super surprised when McCarthy came out in his news conference and said, “We’ve got the scans and we’re evaluating them.” I should have been more prepared for that. I would be surprised if we don’t know in the next 24 to 36 hours if Rodgers is going to be good to go against the Panthers.

This is a longshot. I think people are under the impression that Rodgers will come back, he’s practicing with the ones on Wednesday, the Packers win out, and off we go to the playoffs. That’s a longshot. People have to be prepared for the possibility that the Packers either don’t win all of these three games coming up, or even worse, go 10-6 and still don’t make the playoffs. It’s not impossible. It’s a lot more likely that they end up 10-6 and watch the playoffs from home. It’d be disappointing, but a likely scenario at this point.

Stephen: I agree, Jon. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I don’t like to put a damper on it, because while I don’t like what happened this season, it’s the first season for a good while now where you don’t get annoyed that we’re not four touchdowns ahead. You go in thinking that we’ve got just enough or the same chance of winning this game. Do you get some sort of satisfaction of watching the games?

Jon: It does make it more challenging when you’re having a week-to-week season. I talked about that last week on the podcast. On Blue 58, we try to look at it from a big picture perspective instead of doing the week-in, week-out, preview and recap model.

It makes it harder when the Packers’ season is on the line every week, because all you can do is the preview and the recap. Last week, all you could really do is talk about the Browns. Now, you’ve got the beat the Panthers. It can get a little tedious sometimes.

It forces you away from looking at just Aaron Rodgers. If it’s Aaron Rodgers under center on any given Sunday, the Packers are supposed to win or play well. It then usually comes down to just how good Rodgers played, and how Rodgers won the game for the Packers. This year, you have to look at the whole team. Which guys individually made key plays at key points?

There’s a great example from this past Sunday of a play that turned the game because of some small things from a bunch of different guys. The interception in overtime by DeShone Kizer happened because of a couple reasons.

First, Damarious Randall got a great jam on Josh Gordon off the line of scrimmage. It threw off the whole play. Next, Clay Matthews gets some great pressure on Kizer and hits his arm as he throws. Then, Josh Jones makes the first interception of his career at the best time it could possibly come. All of those things that would probably go under the radar if it’s just Aaron Rodgers out there rolling up 400 yards and a couple touchdowns in a win over the Browns. It’s fun and interesting to pay attention to those things in a season where everything hasn’t been perfect.

Stephen: The Packers’ best form of defense has been Aaron Rodgers. He’s been the extra coat of paint that covers over any deficiency. To a degree, it’s nice to see the team laid bare. You see the character of the team at a time like this.