Hopeful Packers playoff berth could be most impressive in NFL history
It was late November. The Green Bay Packers were left for dead with a record of 4-8.
Aaron Rodgers had a rib injury and a broken thumb. Fans and reporters alike were calling for backup quarterback Jordan Love to get some starting reps.
Key defensive performers like Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes were lost for the season. It seemed like all hope was lost.
But the sports world works in mysterious ways sometimes. Matt LaFleur and the Packers would go on to lead this team to consecutive victories over the Rams, Bears, Dolphins, and Vikings, leaving them one win away from a fourth consecutive playoff berth under LaFleur.
This win streak is giving Packers fans 2016 “run-the-table” vibes. If the Packers can find a way to beat a tough Lions team at home next Sunday in Lambeau in Week 18, it will be arguably the most impressive playoff berth ever.
Here is why:
Green Bay lost key players and coaches last offseason
The Packers lost a plethora of key contributors and coaches after the 2021 came to a close. They lost franchise legend Davante Adams, All-Pro edge-rusher Za’Darius Smith, starting right tackle Billy Turner, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, and tight ends coach Justin Outten.
But after drafting talented rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, bringing back an old veteran coach in Tom Clements, and winning collectively down the stretch, this team has found a way to contend.
The Packers have overcome so many injuries
Yes, Green Bay lost defensive starters in Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes.
But it is important to remember how many key players for this team have missed at least multiple weeks due to injury.
Here is the list of players that have missed time due to injury: LT David Bakhtiari, G Elgton Jenkins, WR Randall Cobb, WR Christian Watson, WR Romeo Doubs, OLB Rashan Gary, MLB De’Vondre Campbell, MLB Krys Barnes, CB Eric Stokes.
This team has endured it all and is still just one game away from the playoffs.
They are winning the way they want
It took them until late-November to get it right, but the Packers are winning games the way they want to win them: Running the ball and creating turnovers on defense.
Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones has eclipsed 1,000 yards for third time in the last four seasons. A.J. Dillon is 67 yards away from a new career-high.
Defensively, this Packers defense is finally looking like an elite unit. It is the first time since 2016 that Green Bay had consecutive games of four forced turnovers. They are tied for second in the league with 17 interceptions.
With the defense playing this way, the rushing offense doing its thing, Aaron Rodgers being his elite and efficient self, and even the special teams stepping up in big ways, the Packers are proving to be one of the most dangerous teams in football at the right time.