Thoughts From the Green Bay Packers at the New York Giants (12/11/2023)

 My thoughts from last night's 24-22 Green Bay Packers' loss to the New York Giants:

Don't think of it as a loss. Think of it as a learning experience, and not just for the team. I think fans (me included) were clearly a little too quick to crown this year's Packers' squad as playoff worthy. That may still prove to be the case with four games left on the schedule but for the time being, fans need to take the team at face value - talented enough to get a win against the top teams in the league but still inexperienced/inconsistent enough to lose the games they are expected to win.

The offensive struggles seemed to be more about execution than game planning. There were open receivers. Jordan Love just couldn't get on the same page with them. Plus, the turnovers and negative yardage plays (like the screen pass that lost 10 yards) didn't do them any favors. This is to be expected with a young team though. Teams are learning how to attack Love in the pocket and he and the receivers are learning how to adjust to that.

I think Christian Watson was also missed. Even though his stats aren't as good as they were last season, this is a different team when he's on the field and defenses need to account for him. Hopefully his latest hamstring issue won't keep him out for the same amount of time as the last one and he's able to figure out how to avoid those going forward over the off season.

I'm not as hungry to see defensive coordinator Joe Barry fired as other fans but games like this do support that argument in my opinion. Yes, the defense doesn't allow a lot of points, which is the primary argument for retaining him. But the inability to stop the run, when that was the emphasis heading into this game, is beyond frustrating. The Giants rushed for 209 yards and their quarterback, Tommy DeVito, had 71 of them. They also just can't seem to stop teams from marching down the field when they need to. It was just way too easy for the Giants to get in field goal range on that game-winning drive.

The special teams units seem to be regressing. I'll forgive the missed field goal because that wind seemed to be a major factor. However, I think the aggressive nature of the return teams is doing more harm than good. Yes, Keisan Nixon can potentially break a return for a big gain but that doesn't matter if you're the most penalized return team in the league and your returner tries to make something out of nothing with a muffed punt when he should be falling on it and avoiding the turnover. Focus on the fundamentals first, then worry about the big plays.

All is not lost. The Packers are still firmly in the playoff hunt and despite this setback would be the 7th seed if the season were to end today. The loss doesn't quash their hopes, it just tempers the expectations a bit.


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