23

December

It’s Packers vs. Bears for the NFC North Championship

If the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday, they will be NFC North Champions.

Yes, the Packers might make the playoffs despite:

  • Playing the second half of the season without Aaron Rodgers.
  • Using four different quarterbacks.
  • Clay Matthews missing a stretch of games, then returning and playing with one thumb.
  • Randall Cobb being out most of the season.
  • Jermichael Finley almost breaking his neck.
  • Bryan Bulaga tearing his ACL in a scrimmage.
  • Andy Mulumba and MD Jennings playing prominent roles on defense.
  • Eddie Lacy missing two games early with a concussion and gimping around on a bum ankle the last couple of weeks.
  • B.J. Raji deciding to take a vacation after week eight.
  • 16 players on injured reserve (possibly with more to be added this week)
  • Marshall Newhouse still being on the team.

And that’s just all the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. It’s late at night, so I’m sure I’m missing a few things that should be on the list.

It hasn’t been pretty. Often, it’s been downright ugly and frustrating as hell. But the Packers still have a shot at the playoffs. Win and they’re in.

Welcome to the NFC North in 2013.

The 2013 Packers won’t go down as one of the best teams in franchise history, but they will go down as one of the most unique. They’ll also go down as one of the most resilient. It’s been a frustrating season, but it’s also been a whole lot of fun.

Here’s hoping the fun extends at least into Wild Card weekend.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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83 Responses to “It’s Packers vs. Bears for the NFC North Championship”

  1. TC026 says:

    Will Rogers play in Chicago?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Adam Czech says:

    I highly doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Russell says:

    Add to the list

    • Casey Hayward out after leading the
    team in picks last year.

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  4. DAN says:

    As Kevin Greene would say ” it is time ” fully healed or not, it’s all or nothing time! It couldn’t be more fitting. Arod returns to end the season of the team that nearly ended his season!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  5. JH9 says:

    I hope that being in the playoffs doesn’t allow TT to overlook what has become an obvious weakness on this team–the defense.

    It’s great that we the fans have at least one more meaningful game to root for the Packers this season. However, I’m hoping these last eight games without AR has shown us all something more meaningful. It has shown us the true strength and weaknesses of this team.

    IMO the strengths are Eddie Lacy, the receiving corps, Lang, Sitton, EDS, and maybe Bakh now that he’s had a year’s experience. The weakness is our defense. Sure, Hyde’s emergence has been one of the highlights of this season and for one half of both the Atlanta and Dallas games the defense has shown some heart. But for the majority of this season, this defense couldn’t stop a runny nose.

    I hope the organization uses the offseason to make the adjustments needed to get the defense up to Super Bowl contending standards. With AR back, I know next year our offense will be on that level. My hope is that what we learned this year will be used in the offseason to do whatever it takes to get the defense to play at that level next year–even if it means firing coaches and making some drastic personnel adjustments.

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    • BartySmith says:

      Given that the D gave up a record number of yard to Kaepernick and the 49ers in last year’s playoffs and TT’s additions to the D consisted of a 1st round pick who rarely plays and a 5th rounder who lacks natural talent but overachieves, I suspect we should anticipate some more projects who become players about the time ARod retires.

      The D has been bad for 3 years running, what makes anyone think TT will be able to do anything to change that reality?

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      • Archie says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Stroh says:

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  6. Dave D says:

    Add the following to the list.

    *MM gets out coached on every game day.
    *Scoring 31 points at home and still losing by a touchdown.
    * Safeties are the worst in the league.
    * Special teams are horrible.
    * Losing 3 and tying 1 game out of the last five home games. (Way to go Defense)
    * Having Dom Capers as a DC.
    * Did I mention, McCarthy gets out coached EVERY game day?

    More to come…

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    • Pete Kliman says:

      That’s why the O scored 31 pts with a QB that was let go by 3 teams.

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    • dear dave d, 19 players on injured reserve.most of them on defense.did I mention 19, that’s 19, men on IR. PUT YOUR PANTIES BACK ON DAVE. you can always root for the EAGLES who im sure if they had 19 men on IR WOULD BE 15-0……..OR ANY OTHER TEAM FOR THAT MATTER. were still playing for the division on sunday,did I mention Rodgers has not played the last 8 games,did I mention 19 men on IR.YOU wanted TT and MM gone since 09.

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      • Dave D says:

        Dear Bill from Trenton, you must have ridden the short bus with the other retarded kids, get a clue!

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  7. Savage57 says:

    Lot’s of problems, only one fix that’s universal to everything, and I think it’s something that’s quietly grown into an insidious tumor in the organization.

    Accountability.

    From Murphy to Thompson to McCarthy to the Coordinators to the Position Coaches to the Players, the same problems that have plagued the Pack over the last three years continue unabated. And while there’s an abundance of verbal attention, there seems to be little attention in the form of active changes to correct them.

    At the end of this season, there has to be an accounting from top to bottom for the fact that even in spite of all of these hurdles, the Packers find the resolve to gamely try to overcome them, yet the same goblins keep biting them in the ass season after season.

    AR’s injury was just a matter of time, when a consistently weak Oline yields a half century’s worth of sacks on a seasonal basis.

    A defense that can be counted on to allow opponents to set records against them on a consistent basis, can’t be counted on to rise to the challenge when their leader is down.

    Play calling that has been so predictable and unimaginative that opposing defenses go public with acknowledgement that ‘they know what’s coming’.

    Injuries. There is a reason for them. They occur at such a rate and recurrence that they defy statistical probability.

    Special teams. No more need be said. This has been a consistent liability for this team that forces the offense and the defense to consistently overcome their shortcomings.

    If the Packers go into next season without significant systemic changes to address these recurring weaknesses, Packer fans can expect another repeat of these frustrations one year from now.

    Can you imagine how good this team could be if the Packers could find a way to fix just two of these problems?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 12

    • Alex Parkhurst says:

      The Packers number of injured players the last 4 years leads the league. I am not an expert as to why this is occurring but I have some ideas.

      If I am Mark Murphy, President and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, I would make this a priority in the off-season and hire some expert consultants (who are NOT on our payroll and therefore independent) to get to the bottom of this.

      Why? There is no point in having some of the best players in the NFL and having 30% them be on an injury list or worse out of football forever.

      I hold out hope someone in the organization brings this up but I am not optimistic.

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    • Jerry says:

      Injuries also have a direct correlation to Special Teams play. Special Teams players are plugged into 1st string spots to fill vacancy’s caused by injuries. Practice Squad players fill the openings on Special Teams, along with Street tree Agents. At the end of this season The Dallas Cowboys will hire a medical consultant to address the high number of Hamstring injuries they have incurred this season,maybe the Packers should do the same!

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    • 2Shares says:

      100% agree. How long can you live off of drafting Rogers and winning the Super Bowl in 2010. The organization and Packer fans should expect much more. I get so tired of the comeback to Thompson and McCarthys shortcomings being he drafted Rogers and won a Super Bowl. We are very luck to have a top QB like Rogers, but it doesn’t last long. Speaking as someone who was a fan thru the 1968 – 1992 seasons, you can’t win without a top QB and you better make hay while the sun shines. Thompson is wasting opportunities and definitely not making hay. We will be sorry when Rogers retires.

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  8. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    This was the email I just sent to my FF league (11 Chicago Bears fans from undergrad and me) I LOVE the NFL and how it can start so many arguments between otherwise friends!
    ——————–
    First of all,

    Congrats on your championship Ahsan. You’re a helluva FF player. I still hate you and you will get your comeuppance at my hands at some point in the playoffs soon.

    Second, This is a HUGE game next week. All I want for Christmas is a Packers win in Chicago that devastates you tools just like the NFC CG in January of 2011.

    If ARod and Eddie and CM3 (and maybe Cobb!) play, it looks like it’ll be a fun game for me. And you can all expect daily celebratory gifs in your inbox for the full week afterward.

    If those guys don’t play, Chicago “wins” the battle of attrition.. I mean.. the injury-depleted NFCN crown. And I’ve got the great (and true) excuse of injuries killing the best team in the division. So either way.. GB wins or GB has got a helluva excuse.

    Win/win for me. Lose/lose for you.

    Oh, and your team looked FRIGGEN TERRIBLE tonight! I thoroughly enjoyed observing that dumpster fire burn itself to the ground for 3 full hours…

    Didn’t you have every preferred starter on the field except Tillman’s corpse and Jail-Bird Melton tonight? You did? WOW! How emBEARassing! At least GB looked halfway decent today with a team full of backups….

    And now my trolling job is done. Enjoy your week sweating bullets ladies.

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    • Two Bears, One Cup says:

      God I hate the Bears. I felt awful after losing yesterday. But I felt pretty good after the Bears self-immolated. I try to avoid schadenfreude but I allow myself to relish any Bears loss. Especially when it saves the Packers’ season for one more week.

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  9. wim says:

    i have not recovered from last night. how does flynn who never seems to look at more than one receiver not look first to jordy on that last play and see him OPEN and instead looks only at the very well covered Boykin. and as for next week, as bad as the Bears looked at Philly, put them up against our CM3-less D and with or Lacy-less O and ….

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    • Brian says:

      It appears Flynn’s go to guy is Boykin from his days as a back-up (Flynn’s). There is clearly a bias as Nelson was targeted less than the others unless it was because he was matched up against the Steeler’s best d-back. Flynn lost his composure at the end of game. He played like a marginal #2 qb yesterday.

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  10. Add “MD Jennings” to that last bullet.

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    • wim says:

      or pretty near everything Morgan Burnett has shown since being shown the money.

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  11. Jerry says:

    Any update on Clay Matthews injury?

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  12. Big T says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Brian says:

      My only comment to this is now what will become an overly used excuse…”look what happened to CMIII”. I don’t think they are trying not to win the division but it sure is frustrating.

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  13. Brian says:

    Is there anyway that the winner of next weeks Bears-Packers game can decline to play in the playoffs? Whichever team wins will get a serious beat-down in the playoffs.

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  14. Since '61 says:

    We probably won’t hear much on the injury front until Friday. MM will not want the Bears to know who is playing until the last possible minute. Since the Bears gave up over 300 yards rushing last night it sure would be nice to have Lacy for this game. To me, he is the most important player to have ready, unless of course Rodgers is ready as well. If we have Lacy, Cobb and Rodgers the offense is good to go. As for the defense, let’s hope the offense is back and can hold the ball for forty minutes or more. Thanks, Since ’61

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  15. Since '61 says:

    One more thing, today is 7 weeks (49) days since Rodgers injury. This coming Sunday is one day shy of 8 weeks. To me one day should not make a difference. His 6-8 weeks will be up and he should be ready. Thanks, Since ’61

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    • Jerry says:

      My cousin is a MD (No not Jennings) he told me that he believe’s ARod’s injury is more complicated than a simple fracture. There isn’t enough blood flow to the Collarbone or Clavicle. Healing time takes longer,8 weeks minimum 12 weeks normal.

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      • Big T says:

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        • marpag says:

          “Unless it was displaced??”

          You don’t even know if the break was displaced, and yet you are confident that your opinion to play Rodgers is self-evidently right, while the entire Packers organization, including their licensed medical doctors, is stupid?

          I think you’ve got something backwards there…

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          • Big T says:

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            • marpag says:

              You are PROBABLY right that it was not displaced. I’m not arguing that it was or that it wasn’t. I’m saying that you, “Big T from the internet”, know virtually nothing about the injury, save for the fact that it was a fractured collarbone.

              To the best of my knowledge, NO ONE with knowledge of the injury has EVER said, “The bone was not displaced.” People only ASSUME that from the fact that Rodgers did not have surgery. If you can find evidence of any knowledgeable person saying that the bone was not displaced, post it. If you can’t find any evidence, why should we believe you?

              And even if could prove that the bone was not displaced at all, you’re still missing the point. Where exactly was the break? How close was it to the AC joint or the SC joint? How close was it to that nerve trunk, the name of which I can’t remember offhand? Was the break stable? How “clean” was the break? How has the healing progressed in the past seven weeks?

              Until you can answer these questions with some authority, my neighbor’s cat could give medical opinions as useful as yours.

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              • Big T says:

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              • marpag says:

                Oh, please. Even if you are a doctor (which I SERIOUSLY doubt – God help us if you are), you still have no access to ARod’s medical files and therefore have no basis for making an informed decision. A REAL medical doctor would obviously know this, and you apparently do not.

                Furthermore, when did MM say that Rodgers was “cleared”? As of last Thursday, he said that he was “NOT CLEARED” (read the story here: http://www.packersnews.com/article/20131219/PKR0101/131219023?nclick_check=1)

                If Rodgers was NOT cleared as recently as last Thursday, why are you saying 1) that he was cleared, and 2) that he should have played long before now?

                To use your pal Archie’s term, now your just talking out of your ass-clown.

                Also, I never claimed to have any authority to assess ARod’s injury. I said that YOU DON’T have any authority to assess the injury. And I’m right.

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              • T somewhere in America is the countries worst DOCTOR and someone has an appointment with them tomorrow….Carlin

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        • Jerry says:

          During yesterdays game on Fox Wayne Harland stated that A-Rod isn’t even close to coming back.I have to believe that MM is trying to bluff or bamboozle the opposing D coordinators into preparing for an ARod return. I hope I’am wrong!

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          • Big T says:

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            • marpag says:

              The fact that you wrote the “ballsack” post above, and yet somehow are still criticizing others for not having class explains why no one takes you seriously.

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        • Jerry says:

          Wrong Big T Romo broke his collarbone week 6 in 2010 and missed the rest of the season. He was replaced by Jon kitna!

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      • Steve Cheez says:

        Like Bo Jackson’s hip? Ugh!

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        • Steve Cheez says:

          If T really is a doctor, just my luck that’s probably who BHO is going to assign to me…

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  16. iccyfan says:

    Few of us “believe” Rodgers will play next Sunday though it’ll mark 8 weeks for a fractured clavicle. We’re discussing how the Packers have led the NFL in “lost games” since 2010. I’m wondering if our medical staff is way more conservative than others? Reggie White played with a club on his hand and Ronnie Lott amputuated a pinkie to play! Are Packer players unwilling to play unless “near 100%” or is our medical staff taking them off the field? What we’ve been reading from Rodgers and Cobb would suggest the latter…

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    • Big T says:

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    • Jerry says:

      When A Rod went down it proved to anyone who had a shred of football common sense that the Packers are an average team( maybe worse) without him. Considering the fact that the Packers O-line is a constant concern and A Rod’s propensity to hold on to the ball to long there is a good chance he’s going to fall on that non throwing side and re-injure that collar bone. Ted T is not going to gamble next season or A Rod’s career for what would more likely be 1 and done in the playoffs.Another factor is that the Packers D is no where near being championship caliber. No pass rush, The linebacker core has more pic’s than the safety’s. Matt Flynn and the offense hung up 31 points and it still wasn’t enough.If Rodgers is cleared and the bone is stable which I doubt it is let him play, if not that’s it for this season. Remember Rodgers and Matthews are the franchise, if either one of them goes down for an extended period of time this team is toast, This season is a testament to that!

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    • iccyfan says:

      Two people have “disliked” my question regarding whether or not the Packer medical staff is more conservative than those contracted to other teams?

      It was a question regarding the number of “man-games” that the Packers have lost as opposed to that of our competition, coupled with a couple observations. Reggie Bush was a late scratch with a “hamstring” two weeks ago and played the next week. We have multiple season-ending hamstring injuries. Why do other team’s players miss 1-3 weeks with an injury that puts a Packer on season-ending IR?

      I know it’s not a apples to apples comparision and I don’t want that discussion – I simply wonder whether others think like I do, namely that our team doctors are over-the-top cautious…

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      • marpag says:

        I didn’t give you a thumbs down, but honestly maybe I should have. You listed two possibilities: 1) players don’t really want to play, or 2) the medical staff is needlessly protecting them.

        Is it not even possible that maybe they REALLY DO HAVE serious injuries?? Why are you not even allowing for that possibility?

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  17. Big T says:

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  18. tim says:

    After all the injuries, bad play and every other crappy thing that has befallen the pack, my brain is still struggling with how it is possible that the packers can still make the playoff picture. We are in some different universe where I can still have hopes for a packers superbowl. Why not, everything else about this season defies logic. Merry Christmas to all good packer fans. A lump of coal for da bears.

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  19. palmda says:

    This fiasco all started in training camp with MM and the boys not playing to win and not playing with the starters. You have to instill a need and desire to win! By not setting the tone early they accepted mediocre play.
    Secondly, they are playing with a lot of rejects that should have been let go last year and not upgrading their talent. Now you can see the result. This is not criticism it is fact. The fact that they could not score touch downs in the first few games and only field goals in the red zone was telling. This is a team without a decent defense for the pass and now the rush. Poor special teams, coaches and players, No pass rush (No Talent), the only thing they had going for them was Superman Rodgers…take him away and there nothing. So now what to do: Start by removing Capers. Find a offensive coordinator that can call plays. Get a special team coach and pay him for performance not just showing up or being some ones relative. Find two or three Offensive line men that want to play and make their pay conditional. Stop paying players big bucks that are not worth it. These things would be a good start.

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    • jtmax says:

      With all the injuries, not sure if even Bill Belicheck can be successful. You can’t blame anybody but the injury god.
      4 of our best players are badly injured-CM3, Lacy, Lacy, and Rodgers. I think we can pretty much wrap up the season and look forward to good draft next year to prepare for another season filled with injuries. That’s all you can do. Can’t blame trainers for herniated disc, sprain ankle, broken collar bone or broken finger.
      As for depth, keep Flynn, draft TE, Safeties and linebackers high in the draft. Draft some speed on the defense. Our lb and safeties are too slow.

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    • 2Shares says:

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  20. Elo says:

    Why is Shawn Slocum still our ST coach?

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    • 2Shares says:

      Exactly. Slocum is a very good example of a lack of accountability in the Packer organization. It should be that if McCarthy doesn’t fire a coach with Slocum’s history of poor performance and a nightmare of a game, long punt return, long kickoff return, blocked FG, successful fake FG by the opponent and continuing penalties, then McCarthy should be fired. If McCarthy isn’t fired for letting Slocum continue over his head, then Thompson should be fired, if not Thompson, then Murphy. Accountability!!!

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      • Archie says:

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  21. GBPDAN says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the Packers are just simply jinxed when it comes to injuries. Watching the Packers weekly injury report is both frustrating and depressing. Injuries are are part of the NFL and have a great influence on who makes the playoffs, or better yet, who goes deep into the playoffs and plays in the SB.

    We over came 15 IR players in 2010, which was awesome, but , there was a back up player that came through behind most of those injured players.

    Now we are at the last game of the 2013 season and will be playing our hated rivals for the division crown. Hopefully not, but , we could be playing without Rodgers, CM3, Lacey, B jones, Cobb. We will definitely be playing without Bulaga, Finley, Jolly, and Hayward, not to mention other back ups. That’s 9 starters not playing or in question. The Bears are missing 2 starters.

    things seem to be setting up for the niners and seahawks, who are healthy. Denver just lost von Miller on a suspect D, Saints lost their top safety , Pats are without wilfolk and their TEs,

    i hope Steve Smith is back for Carolina come playoff time. I do not want the niners winning the SB.

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    • JimR_in_DC says:

      There’s no such thing as “jinxed.” Other actions create the conditions for things to go bad. It’s a probabilities problem.

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  22. Archie says:

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    • Dave D says:

      Right on Archie, MM is blew the game. Why not spike the ball, it was second down. Then you can huddle and call a better play. Then if not successful, you still would have 4th down. Also, I knew a punt fake was coming when Pittsburgh lined up. Wake up MM.

      One last thing. Does anyone remember this sequence in the Atlanta game. (times and yard lines are approximate) half coming to a close, 3rd and nine I think, 1:30 or so to go and Flynn scrambles for a 1st down at Atlanta 35 YL. Packers still have two time outs. MM does not call time out, clock continues to run and Flynn tries to dump it off to Kuhn. Then that crazy interception for a pick 6. Why not call time out and regroup? But here is the worst part. With about 16 seconds left MM calls two pass plays both incomplete. No, here is the worst part. On third down and ten with about 5 seconds to go, MM calls a running play and that is went Eddie Lacy hurt is ankle. I went nuts, just kneel down and regroup at half. No one on this blog, that I read, caught this. Total ineptness and to get your best running back hurt and now it has come back some more to haunt them.

      MM is overrated and, as I said many times, gets out coached EVERY game day.

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      • Dave D says:

        I really need to proof read what I write, lot of typos above but should be able to get idea of post.

        Thanks

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  23. Big T says:

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  24. Since '61 says:

    Archie – we want to keep MM because he is one of the most successful coaches in the NFL. His record is 84-45 including playoffs (.651winning %) with Rodgers and 86-50 total for his HC carreer (.632 winning %). Here on earth people with those types of results are considered excellent NFL coaches. BTW, check Belechickens record without Brady. You will find it below .500. Not sure if he was cheating back then or not. We know how difficult it is to find a coach like MM. MM held this team together after the Thanksgiving fiasco. Now in spite of everything he and his team still control their own destiny. Again, here on earth, that’s called character and resilience and belief in yourself, your program and most importantly in your people. Unfortunately, Archie, those qualities are apparently absent on your planet. Perhaps there you would prefer Schwartz the Lions coach. Thanks, Since ’61

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  25. SOL says:

    How about adding Idiot Fans to the list of the Packers might make the Playoff’s despite:
    I scoured the press and reviewed the tape today. EDS’s quote blames the Barclay False Start on crowd noise that he couldn’t hear Flynn. If you look at the tape Flynn is waving his arms trying to get the crowd noise down. It was loud on the tape.
    What kind of idiot fans did we have at the game that they don’t know what home team etiquette is when your team is in the red zone? You pipe down!!!
    Do they need to have the scoreboards flash be quiet? Do flyers need to be passed out as they enter the stadium?
    Where I work CI (Continuous Improvement) is a mantra. I know that one play was not the lynchpin on the loss of the game. It was lost on cascading team errors but the fans should not be part of the problem. The questions is how to fix it?

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