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What We Learned — Week 17

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The Green Bay Packers returned to Lambeau Field to face the rival Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North Championship. The game certainly lived up to the hype. Here’s what we learned.

What We Learned…

We learned that the Packers’ offense does not show up until the fourth quarter. The Defense was very good this game and has been for most of 2015. The offense looked disinterested and lost for much of the game and season. This offense and team is only as good as Aaron Rodgers.

We learned that Micah Hyde is a very good football player. He made an incredible interception and a key fumble recovery on the kickoff after the packers had kicked a field goal. Hyde’s interception has to rank as one of the best catches of 2015-2016.

Mason Crosby had a decent game and forced the fumble that was recovered by hyde. BJ Raji and Crosby should be among the Packers top two targets to re-sign in free agency. Without Crosby’s forced fumble, the game would have likely been over after the kick return.

We learned that it could have been Julius Peppers’ final home game in Green Bay, but his signing did pay off. He notched 10.5 sacks this year and his last one was great.

We learned that this team needs to play smarter. There were too many flags for stupid penalties none may have been dumber than Clay Matthews’ personal foul, though he did atone for that sin soon thereafter.

What We Think We Learned.

We think we learned that this is not the Packers’year. This team, particularly on offense, was pounded by injuries. David Bakhtiari and Sam Shields both missed games at the end of the regular season. Ty Montgomery’s promising rookie year was cut short and Jordy Nelson missed the entire year with a torn ACL. So much went wrong in the regular season.

We think we learned that something is “off” with Aaron Rodgers. Whether that something is injury, poor offensive line play or simply a down year, Rodgers just has not had the accuracy that he had in other seasons.

We think we learned that this team is one and done. Washington is a formidable opponent and the Packers must play a full game to win. This team has sleepwalked through far too many games this year. Even if Washington wasn’t fairly hot right now, just about any opponent would be a serious challenge.

We think we learned Dom Capers is probably safe for 2016. The defense improved with new players and the return of Raji helped as well. There is still a big hole at inside linebacker that needs to be addressed.

What We Hope Isn’t True

We hope Datone Jones’ neck injury isn’t severe. This team can ill-afford another injury.

We Hope David Bakhtiari and Sam Shields get healthy. Bakhtiari is much needed on the offensive line.

We hope that this isn’t the end of an era in Green Bay. It seems ridiculous to be questioning that with Rodgers at the helm and with the success that this team has had in the past. However, looking at how they have been unable to correct major problems, it should be of great concern to Packers fans that this team may not be able to right the ship in the playoffs, and maybe into the future.

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By Mark Wellner

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