What We Learned Against the Lions

aordFor the third time in five years, the Packers were on the upper end of a big-time Week 17 game – this time versus the Lions. The offense rose to the occasion, generating 21 points and 377 yards against the league’s number two defense. In the victory over Detroit, we learned that Eddie Lacy can overcome the league’s best D-line and that Richard Rodgers could be a viable TE1 next season. But perhaps most obvious after the Packers’ twelfth win of the season is that Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s MVP.

When Rodgers aggravated his calf injury in the second quarter, the Lions were quickly able to tie the game at 14 and steal momentum that Green Bay had rode through the first 25 minutes of the game. Upon Rodgers’ return on the Packers’ second possession of the third quarter, Green Bay instantly reclaimed that momentum, going up by multiple scores and all but putting the game away.

Despite all of the talent on Green Bay’s roster, it’s clear that Rodgers is irreplaceable on this team. Had the Packers turned to Flynn in the second half, they would likely be heading to Dallas this coming weekend.

Flynn’s mediocrity raises the question of why Scott Tolzien hasn’t been given more of an opportunity at the number two quarterback spot. In limited playing time this season, Flynn has looked incapable of delivering a mere scoring drive. And while Flynn thrived against an abysmal Lions defense in 2011, teams now know that No.10 struggles to complete a pass greater than 10 yards downfield against a good defense.

imgresThere are many of these lingering questions that may not seem like major problems until they yield a loss in the postseason. Another such question is why Mike McCarthy and Shawn Slocum have refused to make a change on the field goal unit, which has now allowed a seventh blocked kick in 2014. Mason Crosby’s low trajectory kicks from long range are part of the problem, which suggests that the Packers redefine Crosby’s field goal range.

The defense also has some tuning up to do before the divisional round. In four of its last five wins, the defense has failed to put the game away, forcing the offense to come back on the field and run out the clock. The defense has also been guilty of poor tackling, which won’t go unnoticed versus Demarco Murray and the Cowboys.


What We Learned Against the Lions — 3 Comments

  1. McCarthy has recruited friends from the past, Slocum and the new special units assistant, also a friend of McCarthy. Slocum should be replaced with a tried and true professional, someone that has proved their competency. But the Packers aren’t perfect in every category, that would be a pipe dream. Every team has flaws, some are better well rounded than others. The Packers will be fine.

  2. I agree with you about Flynn, Slocum and the defense, all troubling heading into the Dallas game! Let’s hope that Rodgers calf holds up

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