Prior to the 2023 NFL regular season, Green Bay Packers‘ Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins told reporters that he and the team expect to win the NFC North. At 3-5, the Packers have a tall mountain to climb if they are to overtake the 6-2 Detroit Lions, but given the weakened state of the NFC as a whole, they are not to far out of playoff contention.
Current NFC Standings
- Philadelphia Eagles: 8-1
- Detroit Lions: 6-2
- San Francisco 49ers: 5-3
- New Orleans Saints: 5-4
- Seattle Seahawks: 5-3
- Dallas Cowboys: 5-3
- Minnesota Vikings: 5-4
- Washington Commanders: 4-5
- Atlanta Falcons: 4-5
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-5
- Green Bay Packers: 3-5
- Los Angeles Rams: 3-6
- Chicago Bears: 3-7
- New York Giants: 2-7
- Arizona Cardinals: 1-8
- Carolina Panthers: 1-8
As seen above, the Packers are just a game and a half behind the Vikings for the seventh and final NFC playoff spot. With nine games left to play, and one of those against the Vikings themselves, the Packers are far from out of the playoff picture.
If Green Bay is to make the playoffs, though, there is a great deal of things that need to change/go right. With such a young team, especially on offense, there will need to be players that step up and take their game to the next level.
NFL Analyst Kay Adams Identifies Aaron Jones as the Key to the Green Bay Packers Offense
Last week, the Packers were able to snap a four-game losing streak by defeating the Rams 20-3 at Lambeau Field. One of the keys to that game was the fact that head coach Matt LaFleur gave a healthy Aaron Jones 20 touches in the run game. Combined with the four catches that Jones had in the passing game, the star running back was able to put up 99 total yards and a touchdown.
Last year, the Packers were 4-1 when Jones had at least 15 carries in a game. The formula for how to win games has been there; the problem is that LaFleur has either not used it or Jones has not been healthy.
If Green Bay is to make the NFC Playoffs, NFL analyst Kay Adams says that Jones is going to be the one who gets the offense rolling:
Gotta give an ATTABOYYYY .. ATTABABBBBYYYYYY to… 🗣️@Showtyme_33.
Also – the packers aren’t dead yet. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/zNPFRVRpDW
— Kay Adams (@heykayadams) November 8, 2023
“People forget that even when Aaron Rodgers was out there winning those MVPs it wasn’t all Hackett that was the reason guys. Aaron Jones was a key part in making that offense go. And the Packers are not dead yet. They are 3-5, the NFC, don’t tell me [it’s] not shaky on the back end. And if they beat the Steelers they’ll be right in the mix for a playoff spot.”
Obviously, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and Green Bay will need to finish well above .500 in their remaining games in order to finish with a record good enough, even in the NFC. But is that really possible?
A Look at the Green Bay Packers’ Remaining Schedule
- Week 10: at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Week 11: Los Angeles Chargers
- Week 12: at Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
- Week 13: Kansas City Chiefs
- Week 14: at New York Giants
- Week 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week16: at Carolina Panthers
- Week 17: at Minnesota Vikings
- Week 18: Chicago Bears
Obviously, there are some incredibly tough games left, including the matchup in Detroit on Thanksgiving and hosting the defending Super Bowl Champions (Chiefs) at Lambeau Field. That being said, five of their next nine opponents are below .500, and the Vikings are just one game over.
If Love and the offense plays as well as it did against the Rams, and limits its penalties and Jones gets a heavy workload while staying healthy, it is not out of the question that the Packers could sneak into the playoffs this year.