The Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 31-24 Sunday to win yet another NFC North Championship and set up a rematch with the dreaded New York Giants next week in Lambeau Field. This has to be one of the most amazing runs in team history considering where they came from.
At 4-6 on November 20th, the Packers had lost 12 of their last 20 regular season games since a 6-0 start in 2015. This was a team heading nowhere fast. The defense was a sieve and the offense couldn’t get going even with a great quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. It seemed like end of the Ted Thompson-Mike McCarthy regime was six weeks away. Then Rodgers made is “run the table” comment and all hell broke loose.
The Packers beat the slumping Eagles in Philly and the the eventual AFC South champion Texans in Lambeau, but nobody really thought much of it. Back to .500 anyway. But then the Packers absolutely blew out the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 and all of a sudden all bets were off. All that stood in their way were the Bears, Vikings and Lions. Granted, at that point the Packers still needed one loss by the Lions to control their fate, a loss I knew would come either at New York or Dallas. Turns out they lost them both.
It also turns out the Packers’ toughest challenge over the last three weeks was the lowly Chicago Bears. It was a brutally cold day in Soldier Field but the Packers made two huge plays in the last minute to win the game. Micah Hyde’s breakup of a pass at the goal line and the Rodgers to Jordy bomb that setup the game winning field goal. This team has started to find ways to win instead of finding ways to lose.
The Packers rolled over the Vikings and let the Lions hang around for a half, but pretty much dominated that game after taking the opening drive of the second half down for a TD. The Lions got a Hail-Mary late to make it closer than it appeared.
Another division title obviously has secured head coach Mike McCarthy for foreseeable future, I’m not so sure about Thompson. The Packers will lose their top choice for his replacement this off season if Thompson doesn’t step down. Elliot Wolf is already scheduled to interview in San Francisco for the 49ers general manager job. While he would be a fool to go to that organization, with that ownership, it shows the interest in Wolf.
I don’t think Wolf stays without being promoted to GM. There were rumors floating around this weekend that Thompson would take a senior advisory position with Wolf being promoted to GM. The San Fran interview seems to debunk that thinking, but who knows. Personally, I would love to see Wolf become GM, the Packers don’t need an overhaul but need a few key additions, just like Wolf’s dad did in the early 90’s to get the Packers over the hump.
But before any of that goes down, the Packers have a date with the Giants in what is going to be frigid Lambeau on Sunday. I’m confident and worried at the same time. More to come.