With the season winding down, we look back on the past week’s game and see what positives the Packers can take away. Then we look to the final game of the season against the Detroit Lions.
Reviewing the Vikings Game
Saturday was another sad chapter Packers fans. Not only did the Pack lose, but fans had to sit and watch Vikings fans chant “Skol” at Lambeau Field.
With a loss to a hated rival, what can Packers fans take from the defeat?
It was exciting to see younger guys who wouldn’t get much playing time outside of preseason. For both players, we got a preview of what they might be able to contribute in the coming years.
Reggie Gilbert didn’t have any sacks or picks but was responsible for two quarterback hits and several more pressures. With the absolute absence of a pass rush that the Packers have exhibited during the 2017 season, contributions from players like Gilbert might be vital next year.
Michael Clark had 3 catches for 36 yards and showed a lot of fans that the young talent at wide receiver is promising. While he did not play error-free football, Clark did show encouraging signs that he can contribute in this offense.
Brett Hundley‘s future in the Packers offense is one take away that might still remain a question mark. Will Brett be around for next season? Hundley has been with the Packers since 2015 and many believe that he should have shown a bit more this season in relief of Aaron Rodgers considering he has been in the system this long.
Hundley’s ability to get out of the pocket and scramble is seemingly his biggest weapon. While Rodgers has the ability to extend plays as well, Hundley generally makes things happen with his feet.
Hundley had a passer rating of 50.6, 0 touchdowns and 7 interceptions at Lambeau field this season. Some are making the case that Hundley simply isn’t enough as a backup quarterback. While the argument might be sound, without a veteran replacement Hundley is currently the most viable option as a backup for Rodgers.
Drafting a backup QB at this point would likely leave the Packers in the same predicament they had with Hundley.
The final score was 16-0, making this the first time since 1993 that the Vikings had shut someone out and the first time since 1971 that they had shutout the Packers. The Packers defense held Minnesota to a season low 236 yards which was very surprising considering how our defense play all year and Case Keenum threw for 124 yards and 1 touchdown with a rating of 36.7.The biggest issue in this game for the Packers was dropped passes. You just can’t win with over 5 dropped passes and 2 interceptions, the majority of drops came on critical 3rd down plays from players like Lance Kendrick’s and even the veteran Jordy Nelson.
Previewing the Lions Game
Next Sunday the Packers will be traveling to Ford Field to be taking on the Lions in a game where nothing is on the line expect pride for both teams. This time last year both teams were meeting each other in the NFC North title game, with the Packers taking the crown.
Hundley on the Road
One perplexing part of Brett Hundley’s game has been his success on the road and his lack of success at home. Because Hundley has been more effective on the road this season, fans might expect a better game from Hundley than last week.
On the road this year, Hundley has a 67.7% completion percentage vs. 55.6% at home. Additionally, Hundley has 8 road touchdowns to 0 at home, with four more home interceptions than picks when the team travels. Inexplicably, Hundley tends to be a better quarterback away from Lambeau Field.
Matthew Stafford this season has thrown for 26 touchdowns, 4,123 passing yards and has had a passer rating of 97.1 his highest rating since 2011. Despite his occasional issues, Stafford is prime to carve up this Packers defense. The Lions have been a very inconsistent team this year which ultimately cost them a playoff berth, and all of this is with a healthy starting quarterback.
Packers Running Game
The key to winning this game is running the ball with Jamaal Williams. Detroit’s rushing defense is the 6th worst in the league giving up 1697 yards all season Another key is throwing the ball down the field. To take the pressure off of Brett Hundley, the Packers will need to run the ball successfully.
The 2017 season for the Packers will officially end this Sunday. For some fans, this comes as a relief. This season has been a absolute roller-coaster and a exhausting one at that. For the first time in many years, the Packers last game is absolutely meaningless. It leaves some fans wondering if losing, and moving up the draft board is a better outcome. Regardless, we hope to see improvement from young players, a team that leaves the field with no injuries, and maybe a beat down of a division rival as a bonus.