The Clarion

Playoffs still a remote possibility for Packers

Joseph Craker, Sports Editor

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After yet another disappointing loss last Thursday, the Green Bay Packers have dropped below .500 yet again this season and are now very much at the bottom of the NFC wild-card short list.

What’s more, the Packers are now 0-5 on the road this season going into one of the most difficult yet important road games of the season at Minnesota against the Vikings.

Both questionable coaching and lackluster offensive production have many fans pessimistic for the first time in years.

Since last season, head coach Mike McCarthy has been in the hot seat for the way the team has been managed.  Critics have argued that if it were not for Aaron Rodgers singlehandedly dragging McCarthy along with him, he would have been out of a job for a while.

Furthermore, last spring McCarthy claimed to have made fresh and widespread changes to the entire system, however this season everything seems to be stale, save for a few newcomers on both sides of the ball.

Both play calling and situational opportunities have been lowlights for Green Bay’s head coach, with the most recent evidence pointing towards the decision to punt the ball away on fourth and 2 yards to go with four minutes remaining in the game against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.

After the game, McCarthy claimed to have been “Playing the numbers.” Unfortunately for him, it was plain to every Packer fan that the only number he should have considered is 12, the number of his quarterback.

More issues with McCarthy seem to be his play-calling. After a 145 yard performance from Aaron Jones against the Miami Dolphins, McCarthy still refused to give him an adequate number of touches. Almost out of defiance to the praises the coach received last week, Jones was given the ball just 11 times. Although he averaged 3.6 yards per carry, it cannot be expected to cause much concern to defenses when they know the running game is not going to be a main course.

Offensive production — especially on third down — hasn’t been a relief to coaching woes like it has in the past. With an average of over 8 yards to go on third down before heading to Seattle this season, it should have been clear that a more equal balance of runs and passes could whittle that number down a bit. A not-good average got even worse when the Packers went 3 for 11 on third down against the Seahawks. 

At this point in the season, the Packers have faced third down 126 times. Of these, they handed the ball off to running backs just 9 times.

To top it all off, there are reports of rising tension in the locker room between McCarthy and his future hall-of-famer quarterback.

As pessimistic as fans are, things could look worse at this point in the season. On Nov. 25, the Packers head to Minnesota just one game behind their border rivals in the NFC North.

Although it looks like the Chicago Bears will run away with the division title, Green Bay needs only to gain two wins on other contenders to grab a wild-card spot.  There may not be a reason to RELAX for fans this season, but it is still possible. Perhaps Rodgers should tell fans to PRAY instead this season.

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Playoffs still a remote possibility for Packers