Aaron Rodgers must be considered the league’s most valuable player this season.
Rodgers threw five touchdowns behind a makeshift offensive line against the Bears and added a passer rating of 142.7 to his record-setting composite. Give me another quarterback who can put up that type of performance against a respected Bears defense under the same circumstances. It’s true that he has a lot around him, but Rodgers has still been the outright best player in the NFL this season.
The Packers should keep their options open at outside linebacker.
Vic So’oto finally received adequate playing time in the second-to-last week of the regular season – and frankly did not look that bad. Though he didn’t make any highlight reels, So’oto applied consistent pressure on Josh McCown and also recorded two solo tackles. The season finale versus Detroit is a fabulous opportunity to see more of So’oto and Jamari Lattimore.
What James Jones lacks in everyday production he makes up in big plays.
Jones’ 32 catches on the season tell you that he’s not Rodgers’ first target on offense – or second, or third. But Jones has found his niche in the crowded Packers’ receiving corps., taking advantage of defenses keying in on Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley. He has come up with several big plays this season and, in the process, reduced the number of dropped passes.
Even a makeshift offensive line can win games.
The jumbled O-line consisting of T.J. Lang at right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard held up surprisingly well against one of the league’s best defensive lines. Lang in particular played outstanding in a foreign role on the O-line. While I’m sure McCarthy looks forward to not seeing that group work together for a while, it’s nice to know that the offense can function properly behind the unit.
The run defense can be scary bad without Ryan Pickett.
The Packers’ defensive line probably still has more meat than your average front three even without Ryan Pickett – but apparently that extra luggage isn’t enough to contain a third-string running back at home against a poor offensive line. Some of the fault should fall on B.J. Raji, who hasn’t played nearly as well as he did a year ago. At the same time, I think we were all expecting more out of Mike Neal coming off of his injury.
The NFC’s road to the Super Bowl will go through Green Bay.
With their 14th win of the season, the Packers locked up home field advantage and the No.1 seed in the NFC. While in years past it almost seemed like players were willing to forego a home crowd to get warm weather, the home field has to be viewed as a positive. The Packers’ first home field advantage since 1996 is a chance for McCarthy’s group to restore the edge that comes with playing at Lambeau Field in the postseason.