It’s that time of week again. I sat down with ACME Packing Company’s Jon Meerdink for round two of questions about our wacky rivals from Wisconsin.
You know, with Mike McCarthy guaranteeing a win over Washington this week, it would kind of seem fitting to honor his legacy and drop a game the Packers should win. If they do, my reaction would probably be pretty similar to that Alonzo Mourning gif, depending on the fashion in which they do.
2. How’s Aaron’s pinky toe doing and what should the Bears expect from Blake Bortles when that booboo inevitably takes Rodgers off the field?
He still hasn’t said what happened (might have broken it sticking his foot in his mouth? Who knows?), but it doesn’t seem to be getting that much better. He hasn’t practiced this week despite plenty of rest over the bye week. He’ll play Sunday, but you’re right, he’ll be hurting.
As much fun as it would be to see someone in a Bortles jersey tossing Molotov cocktails a la The Good Place, if Rodgers can’t finish, it’ll be journeyman quarterback and professional video game player Kurt Benkert stepping in. Could be equally amusing, if not quite as humorous as the idea of yet another former first-round QB succeeding Rodgers.
3. Speaking of Rodgers, it seems like people have too quickly forgotten about his COVID fib and delightfully embarrassing interview with Pat McAfee. Has Rodgers lost some of his “smart guy” reputation with Packers fans? If not, should I start a business shelling homeopathic immunizations in Wisconsin?
I think my colleague Paul Noonan said it best: Aaron Rodgers is a putz. We all know people like him. It’s important to them (and him, specifically) that you know they’re smart — and they’re definitely WAY smarter than you in their mind. And it doesn’t matter if you catch them dead to rights wrong on something, they’ll still try to find a way to weasel around and make it so “no, actually, it’s you that are wrong about me, because you’re dumb and I am smart.” We’ve seen some of that with Rodgers, and I think it really has worn on people.
But I think we’ve also seen that there’s a large swath of people in this country that will defend people they like no matter what, so if you’ve got a banger of a homeopathic remedy for something, by all means, shoot your shot.
4. The Packers defense has been annoyingly resilient despite several injuries this season. Do you think that’s a factor of quality of depth, scheme, overall team energy or something else?
This has been the most inexplicable part of the Packers’ season, because by and large they’ve got the same crew on defense as last year. They’ve added Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, and De’Vondre Campbell, but in no way should those guys have offset the players they’ve lost. I think the biggest thing the Packers have done this year is just tackling better. Pro Football Focus has them as the best tackling team in the league, and if there’s one thing that explains how well they’ve played this season, it might be that. Everybody on the team tackles well, and it prevents so many plays from rupturing into huge gains.
Beyond that, the Packers have gotten excellent performances from Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage, but really, it’s still a little hard to fathom how different this team is from last year with so few big changes.
5. Who do the Packers lose to in the NFC Championship game this year?
We all know what’s going to happen: Tom Brady is going to win MVP and head to another Super Bowl, probably at the expense of the Packers. Whatever supernatural being he made a deal with seems to already be bending the universe that way, so at this point we might as well start preparing.
I for one am truly offended that Jon referred to this as a game the Packers “should win.” I can’t wait to watch Justin Fields make the Packers pay for their overconfidence.