There can be no denying that the 2022 NFL season has been a disaster for the Green Bay Packers. Legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had to deal with no end of subpar performances from a roster that, to be frank, hasn’t deserved to pull on that famous shirt. With five game weeks still remaining in the regular season, the Wisconsin-based outfit has a measly record of 5-8.
With a record like that, the Cheeseheads won’t be anywhere near the end-of-season showdown, and deservedly so. As such, the Packers’ streak of reaching the playoffs for three consecutive seasons will be snapped. In fact, NFL odds changed in recent weeks, taking into account the form of teams, such as the Philadelphia Eagles who are now joint favorites for Super Bowl glory – alongside the preseason favorite Buffalo Bills.
But while the Packers’ season may end in disappointment, they do have the chance to have a major say in how the playoff picture looks by the end of the current term.
No Longer in Playoff Contention, the Green Bay Packers are Still a Major Force in the Postseason Picture
A potentially season-defining trip to Miami on Christmas Day
One of the surprising stories of the current season has been the resurgence of the Miami Dolphins. The Florida-based outfit has reached the playoffs just twice in the last 20 years, and you would need to go back a further two years for their last postseason victory. But this season, they are back, and back with a vengeance.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has had his fair share of critics in the last couple of years, but this season he has been a revelation. He has the best yards per pass attempt (9) of all starting QBs this season and only the sports finest – namely Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Aaron Rodgers – have thrown more touchdowns than the former University of Alabama standout. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the Dolphins have only lost once all season when Tua has started and completed the game.
That loss came recently against the San Francisco 49ers, taking the Dolphins’ record for the season to 8-4. Courtesy of that, the Buffalo Bills now lead the AFC East (9-3), but with that pair facing off on December 18th, the standings could look very different when the Packers visit the Hard Rock Stadium in a fortnight’s time.
If the Dolphins can manage a victory over the Bills – just as they did in the reverse fixture on September 25th – then they would be just three games away from immortality. The first of which is against Rodgers and his Packers.
And while the form of Rodgers and co. has been miserable this season, they have picked up a number of big-name scalps. They beat Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccanneers back in late September, as well as defeated the then 6 and 2 Dallas Cowboys last month. The Packers will be heading to the Hard Rock on Christmas Day to spoil the party.
Lions need to win 4 of their last 5 games, 2 commanders losses, and they can clinch a playoff spot in week 17.🤯 pic.twitter.com/1AXJMmCVlT
— NFC North News (@NFCNorthNewss) December 5, 2022
New Year’s Day clash against the Minnesota Vikings
Another team that has taken the league by storm this season is the Minnesota Vikings. They currently sit head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the NFC North, with a record of 10 wins and 2 losses. The only team in the entire country that has a better record than the Minneapolis-based franchise is the Philadelphia Eagles, who currently have a record of 11 and 1.
Should that still be the case on New Year’s Day, then the Packers will once again have the chance to spoil another party. The Vikings visit Lambeau Field in the penultimate game of the campaign knowing that finishing as either the number one or number two seeds for the end-of-season playoffs is crucial.
The reason for that is, the number one seeds in both the NFC and the AFC – currently the Eagles and the Bills respectively – secure direct passage through to the divisional round of the playoffs, bypassing the lottery that is the wildcard round. Should the Eagles slip up in the final few weeks of the season, and the Vikings continue their winning ways, then they would overtake their counterparts at the top of the NFC. The penultimate game of the season couldn’t have bigger repercussions for the visitors on that New Year’s Day showdown, while the hosts have nothing to lose.
Packers will have to settle for being the designated ‘party-poopers’
Attempting to curtail the seasons of both the Dolphins and the Vikings isn’t what the Packers wanted from this season, of that there is no doubt. Only four franchises in the history of the NFL have won more Super Bowls than the Green Bay side. And to add to that, they have reached the postseason playoffs in 12 out of the last 15 seasons.
We all know the Packers have pedigree, and hopefully, in the close season, they can strengthen and return to former glories. But in the meantime, they will have to settle for being the party poopers for the remainder of the campaign.