Outlook for Packers post-bye week

The Green Bay Packers put together an 8-2 record before going on a one week vacation. Even the most optimistic fans out there couldn’t have predicted this strong of a season with a first year head coach. The Packers have exceeded expectations in every way. Aaron Jones looks like a superstar running back, Aaron Rodgers is putting together another MVP-caliber season, the defense is pressuring quarterbacks and taking the ball away, and previously unknown receivers are making names for themselves. With that said, can the team end the year on a strong note and perhaps lock up the top seed in the NFC? Check out my predictions for the final six games below. Yeah, it’s impossible to believe that this season started ten weeks ago.

Week 12: at San Francisco 49ers

Prior to their week 10 loss to Seattle, the 49ers were the last unbeaten team in the league (congrats, again, to the 1972 Dolphins). There is no denying that the San Fran defense is elite in every way. They sack quarterbacks, they take the ball away, they score, and they stop the opponent from scoring. Is that good? Yeah, that checks all the boxes of what a defense should do. However, Jimmy Garoppolo has shown that he may be prone to panic when put under pressure. He has had flashes of brilliance, but so far, he has not lived up to his whopping $137M contract. With eight interceptions and seven fumbles, the Packers will have a chance if they can get to Garoppolo. But in the end, the 49ers’ defense will prove to be too much to handle and stifle Green Bay’s dynamic Aaron-Aaron attack.

My prediction: 49ers 24, Packers 20

Week 13: at New York Giants

The Giants have been arguably the worst team in the NFC this year. So, the Packers will face perhaps the conference’s best team and follow that matchup with this one. At 2-8, New York has fell flat in every way. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has looked good at times, but that’s about all you can say about him. Saquon Barkley is a home run hitter, but other than him, there are no weapons that should scare the Packers. Defensively, the Giants have been a joke, ranking 30th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed. Even with this game being on the road, the Packers should be embarrassed if they don’t win in blowout fashion.

My prediction: Packers 31, Giants 17

Week 14: vs. Washington Redskins

Much like the Giants, the Redskins are awful. There is no other way to put it. And, barring injury, they will come into this game against Green Bay with rookie Dwayne Haskins under center. I will admit that Haskins was high on my draft board in the spring, and I thought the Giants should have taken him, but in his small sample size of play, it’s obvious that he is a project. He was named the team’s starter going forward into week 11, so perhaps he will be a bit more polished when he comes to Lambeau Field. Nonetheless, this is another game the Packers should win handily.

My prediction: Packers 27, Redskins 13

Week 15: vs. Chicago Bears

Now we begin the home stretch with three straight division games to end the season. The Packers won a defensive struggle against the Bears in week one, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similarly played game in week 15. I don’t think the teams will combine for just 13 points again, but I do think the defenses will decide the outcome. Say what you want about Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears can win with him under center because their defense is so damn good. Khalil Mack didn’t record a sack in week one, but you can bet he will be a nuisance one way or another. However, the Bears’ offense just does not have enough firepower and won’t be able to score enough against a formidable Green Bay pass rush.

My prediction: Packers 21, Bears 14

Week 16: at Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are clearly the best team in the division not from Wisconsin. Kirk Cousins may be overpaid, but he is lightyears ahead of Trubisky and the Minnesota defense is as good as any. Dalvin Cook might be the best running back in the NFC right now, and the Packers have proven they can’t stop the run. This is one that will get away from the Packers and it could go a long way towards deciding the division champion.

My prediction: Vikings 27, Packers 21

Week 17: at Detroit Lions

If it weren’t for a few questionable calls by the always great and accountable NFL officiating staff, the Lions probably would have beaten the Packers at Lambeau for the third consecutive time in week six. But, NFL officials are terrible, so they didn’t. You wouldn’t know it by their respective records, but the Packers always seem to have some trouble at Ford Field (they have won there only four times this decade). However, with a potential number one seed on the line, Aaron Rodgers will go full Aaron Rodgers and lead the Packers to a 12-4 record.

My prediction: Packers 34, Lions 28

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