The Packers once again are the number one seed in the NFC. For the second year in a row, the Packers will have a home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. However, will the Packers still have the same result as last year? They have fallen short in the last two years. Nonetheless, there will be a significant difference that can hopefully help the Packers this year in the playoffs and reach the Super Bowl. Here are what will help the Packers.
Krys Barnes not having a club on his hand like last year makes a huge difference for the Packers’ defense.
Krys Barnes was a key player in the Packer’s defense last year. Yet, in the divisional round against the Los Angles Rams, he had a serious hand injury. It forced him to wear a club as he wanted to play through it. In the NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it affected him and the Packer’s run defense struggled to contain Leonard Fournette. The defense struggled as a whole with Barnes’s injury as they failed to stop the Buccaneers in key moments. Now fully healthy and playing great football down the stretch alongside De’Vondre Campbell he can be a difference-maker for the Packers in the playoffs.
Having Kingsley Keke as he missed the postseason last year due to injury.
Outside of Kenny Clark Kingsley Keke is the Packer’s best interior pass rusher. Last year he missed the playoffs due to a lingering concussion he suffered in week sixteen. He was certainly missed as the Packers did not have that interior pressure in the NFC Championship game as they failed to put consistent pressure on Tom Brady. Keke looks to be ready for the playoffs this year and he will be a key player for the Packers pass rush.
Getting the Offensive Line Fully Healthy Unlike Last Year Can Make a Difference For the Packers Offense
The Packers are indeed getting healthy at the right time. They are especially on the offensive line. That was a huge problem in the playoffs mostly due to David Bahktiari’s ACL injury last December. Playing Billy Turner at left tackle was not a good plan as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rush exposed him. David Bakhtiari will be available in the playoffs this year and that will keep Turner at his natural position of right tackle. Also, not to mention Josh Myers is nearing a return which is key. In addition, the recent good play of Jon Runyan Jr. and Royce Newman is a good sign too. With a healthy offensive line, it can open up the play calling on the Packer’s offense. Getting healthy in the trenches will be important for the Packers in the playoffs.
Joe Barry putting his players in a position to succeed this year.
Everyone has blamed Kevin King for that big play given up in the NFC Championship game last year. He did not play it well, however former Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deserves all of the blame. He set Kevin King up to fail and even Matt Lafleur acknowledged that after the game. This is a big reason why Pettine was let go. He was not putting players in a position to succeed. Joe Barry this year has done the exact opposite and it has paid off for the Packer’s defense as they are among the NFL’s best. He has proven his doubters wrong even having the defense play at a high level despite injuries. The defense is getting healthy and Joe Barry could have all of his key players back from injury which can indeed make the Packers defense scary.
AJ Dillion this year in the playoffs will make a huge difference.
The Packers in the playoffs last year did not really use AJ Dillion a lot. Understandably Dillion was still learning as a rookie but now he is in his second year. He is that powerful bruising back that can be a problem to defenses in the fourth quarter. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship did not use AJ Dillion enough even when the run game was good when he was in the game. That indeed has to change this year if the Packers want to make it to the Super Bowl. The run game including AJ Dillion will be needed for the Packers in the playoffs.