Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers have bounced back from poor starts in the past, and they can do it again.
It’s Thanksgiving, so it’s time for some positivity. Despite the Green Bay Packers‘ poor record away from Lambeau Field this season, they are still very much in the NFC playoff race.
In the NFC, there’s the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, and then everyone else. The Packers are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but a lot can change between now and the end of the regular season.
Green Bay is 4-5-1, and 0-5 on the road. To make the playoffs this team will need to learn to win on the road. But there’s reason for optimism.
The Packers, under Mike McCarthy, often play their best football when their backs are against the wall. When they enter must-win mode, many times they get the job done.
Look no further than two years ago. After a 4-6 start and four straight defeats, the season looked over. Just like this year, there was speculation about McCarthy’s future.
The defense couldn’t get a stop. Dom Capers’ unit gave up 137 yards and three touchdowns to Washington running back Rob Kelley in an embarrassing 42-24 defeat. The week before they lost 47-25 to the Tennessee Titans.
But then out of nowhere, the losing stopped. The Packers put together a convincing 27-13 victory on the road in Philadelphia. It was their “galvanizing moment”.
The Packers would go on to win their remaining six regular season games before eliminating the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys en route to the NFC Championship Game.
The Packers have bounced back from tough positions on many occasions in the Mike McCarthy era.
They made the playoffs in 2013 despite playing half the season without Aaron Rodgers. A 3-1 record in December made it possible. A year later came the “R-E-L-A-X” message from Rodgers after the team’s 1-2 start. They would go 11-2 the rest of the way.
In 2010 they fell to 8-6 after a couple of losses and needed to win out to make the postseason. The playoffs effectively started two weeks early.
The Packers would win their final two regular season games and go on to earn the NFC’s final wild-card spot. Including the playoffs, Green Bay went a perfect 6-0 to end the season, winning the Super Bowl as a wild-card.
The Packers need to be near perfect to bounce back from a 4-5-1 start this season, but they’ve been here before. Many times, in fact.
It’s completely fair to criticize McCarthy’s play-calling, or to say Rodgers needs to play better. Both arguments are correct.
But the 2018 Packers shouldn’t be written off. History suggests this team plays some of its best football when they absolutely have to.
Maybe this season will be different and they’ll continue to struggle on the road and fail to make the playoffs. But maybe it won’t. Perhaps the Packers will get rolling and make a run. It all begins Sunday night against the Vikings.