The Green Bay Packers might already be in the playoffs, but it could be a short run once they get there.
With two games left in the regular season, the Packers called Sunday’s game at Arizona a tone setter and a measuring stick contest. The 38-8 setback to the Cardinals didn’t set a very good tone.
It means The Packers and Vikings will square off this Sunday night at Lambeau Field for the NFC North Division title and the right to play a home game in the first round of the playoffs. The game was flexed from a noon start to a 7:30 pm kickoff.
If the Packers win, they’ll be the three-seed in the NFC playoffs and play either Seattle or Minnesota in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
If the Packers lose, they would fall to the five-seeding and play a wild-card road game against the Washington Redskins.
The Cardinals, who improved to 13-2 and clinched the two-seed with one game remaining. The Cardinals will host Seattle in this weeks finale.
Mike McCarthy showed no concern with his teams ability to bounce back from Sunday’s loss. Yet four turnovers for the Packers and nine quarterback sacks allowed has one wondering how they can compete against playoff caliber teams.
Of the four turnovers, two were fumbles that were scooped up for Arizona touchdowns. Mike McCarthy said they need to do a better job in ball security and that includes quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The turning-point for the Packers came when they trailed 10-0 late in the second quarter. Mike Daniels intercepted a Carson Palmer screen pass and gave the Packers excellent field position at the Arizona 15-yard line. Rodgers turned right around and threw a pick in the end zone to give the ball back to the Cardinals.
This time, Palmer led his team 80-yards for a 17-0 lead just before halftime.
The Packers would start with the ball in the second half, but James Starks took the first handoff and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered and scored two plays later to make it 24-0. Starks didn’t return to the field after that.
David Bakhtiari didn’t start the game and the Packers lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga with an ankle injury. It meant Don Barclay on the left side and Josh Walker on the right, which led to a whole lot of trouble for Aaron Rodgers.
Even when the Packers had to throw the football, they still struggled, finishing with 77 net passing yards.
The Offensive line is banged up, the receivers aren’t getting open and the quarterback is no longer the difference even when others fail.
The Packers have performed OK against the teams they’re supposed to beat, except for the Bears and Lions. But they’ve proven they haven’t been able to play with the power teams (Carolina, Arizona, Denver). That doesn’t bode well for the playoffs.
They did beat the Vikings back in November, 30-13 at Minnesota. Can the Packers put the Arizona loss behind them and sweep the Vikings, or will the Packers lose their third game at Lambeau Field this season in what would be the Packers final home game of the season?