Packers have proven to be dangerous heading into the postseason

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Packers are a dangerous team entering the playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers have finished their second consecutive season at 13-3 under second-year head coach Matt LaFleur.

The Packers defeated their division-rival Chicago Bears by a score of 35-16 in Week 17 to clinch the NFC’s top seed in the postseason.

Let’s take a look at why this Packers team has proven to be one of the most dangerous teams heading into the playoffs.

Reason #3: Packers’ offensive prowess

Green Bay finished the 2020 season ranked first offensively in points per game (31.8), points per play (0.51), yards per point (12.2), touchdowns (66), passer rating (121.5), red zone TD percentage (80 percent), and field goal scoring percentage (100 percent).

This was largely due to the overall success of the offense as a whole (66 total touchdowns vs. 46 total punts).

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a lot to do with the success as well, posting single-season bests in completion percentage (70.7 percent), and passing touchdowns (48). He surpassed his previous season-high totals in 2011 (45 touchdowns, 68.3 percent) — a season in which he won the NFL MVP award.

Rodgers’ overall performance this season has more than likely locked up a third, and he’d join current Hall of Fame QBs Brett Favre (1995-’97), Johnny Unitas (1959, 1964, and 1967), and Peyton Manning (2003-’04, 2008-’09, 2013), as well as current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (2007, 2010, 2017), as the only quarterbacks to win three or more MVP awards in a career.

Former Cleveland Browns and current NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown also won three (1957, 1958, and 1965).

Green Bay also found themselves with a three-headed monster at running back in 2020. Aaron Jones finished with 1,104 yards (fourth) and nine touchdowns (11th), with a 5.5 YPC average (fifth).

Fellow running mates Jamaal Williams (119 carries, 505 yards, two touchdowns, 4.2 YPC), and rookie AJ Dillon (46 carries, 242 yards, two touchdowns, 5.3 YPC), added the physical factor to go along with the speed and swiftness of Jones. Come playoff time at Lambeau in frigid temperatures, these three will become crucial to Green Bay’s overall success as an offense.

Lastly, you cannot overlook the performance of wide receiver Davante Adams, who has tied and broken a few records of his own. He tied former Packers wide receiver Sterling Sharpe in receiving touchdowns with 18, and broke his franchise record in catches with 115 on the year.

In total, Adams caught 115 passes (T-second) for 1,374 yards (T-fifth), 11.9 yards per reception, and 18 touchdowns (first). He joins Hall of Fame wide receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Rice as the only receivers to score 18 or more touchdowns in a season. Elite company for Adams. He was definitely an underrated aspect of the offense as a whole.

Reason #2: Matt LaFleur’s superb coaching

In just two seasons with Green Bay, head coach Matt LaFleur has gone a combined 27-7 (.794 win percentage). LaFleur has gone a combined 11-1 in December and January games. Also of note, the Packers under LaFleur since 2019 (including the postseason), have gone a combined 15-2 at Lambeau Field (.882 win percentage).

Green  Bay is hard enough to beat overall under LaFleur, but beating them at Lambeau Field, especially in the colder months, is a near impossible feat. Home-field advantage may not be an advantage for most teams right now, but for the Packers, it 100 percent is.

Reason #1: Packers’ defensive turnaround

The biggest reason for the Packers’ impressive play heading into the postseason has been the defensive turnaround in the final eight weeks of the season. As it stands now, Green Bay’s defense ranks as the seventh best overall in the NFL.

In the first eight weeks, Green Bay recorded 88 total pressures with just 18 sacks. In the last eight, they’ve gotten 138 pressures with 27 sacks forced.

Green Bay as a defense forced just three total interceptions in the first half of the season, but since then, they’ve forced eight more. Prior to Week 9, Green Bay’s defense as a whole was giving up a total of 26.7 points per game. Since then, they’ve allowed just 20.2.

The final three weeks is where the defense has really turned up the intensity. Since Week 14, they’ve allowed just 15.3 PPG (second), 5.1 opponent yards per play (seventh), and 21.3 opponent yards per point (third).

Lastly, they’ve forced five total takeaways in the last three games, which is tied for fifth best in the NFL. Simply put, this defense seems to be postseason ready — and they’ll need to be with the NFC now running through Green Bay in the postseason.