Three overreaction from Packers’ victory in week 17.

Jordan Love vs. Jaren Hall is a quarterbacking mismatch of epic proportions. With that overwhelming advantage, the Green Bay Packers needed to take care of business against the Minnesota Vikings.

They did much more than take care of business. They dominated. By routing the Vikings 33-10, they can clinch a playoff berth if they can beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Here are our weekly Three Overreactions from Sunday night.

With Jordan Love, Anything’s Possible

Yes, it’s true. With Jordan Love, anything is possible. Not just in future seasons. This season.

With Love, the Packers destroyed the Vikings. With Love, the Packers should beat the Bears to get into the playoffs. With Love, the Packers – despite their other warts – are going to be a formidable opponent for the Lions, Cowboys or whoever awaits on Wild Card Weekend.

Over the last seven games, 33 quarterbacks have thrown at least 100 passes. Love is second in passer rating (109.9), first in touchdown passes (16) and first in interceptions (one). That 16-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is better than FanDuel Sportsbok’s MVP front-runners: Lamar Jackson (15 to 4), Dak Prescott (15 to 2) and Brock Purdy (16 to 6).

Against the Vikings, Love delivered another elite-level game. Playoff-level intensity. Deafening noise. Blitzing opponent. Rivalry game.

Love handled it all with the ease of a championship-caliber quarterback.

“I can’t say enough great things about him,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “Just his ability to hang in there vs. some tough looks, drifting away from pressure, putting the ball in play, allowing his guys to go make plays. I think he’s playing at an incredibly high level. Super-happy for him because he’s put in a ton of work to get to this point. I really think the sky’s the limit for him. He’s just showing a glimpse of what he can ultimately be.”

The Other MVP

There’s no doubt that Jordan Love is the team’s MVP for the production he’s assembled despite a revolving door of skill-position weapons.

The runner-up would be right tackle Zach Tom, who personifies the type of draft pick that championship teams make.

Every year, the focus of the NFL Draft is the first three rounds, in general, and the first round, in particular. Tom was picked with a fourth-round compensatory pick. Teams considered 139 other players to be better prospects.

Five offensive tackles were picked in the first round. Nine went in the first 80 picks.

Tom arguably is better than all of them.

On Sunday night, the matchup was against Danielle Hunter, who’s fifth in the NFL with 15.5 sacks and is one off the NFL lead with four forced fumbles. He’s a game-wrecker, the type of player capable of flipping a game on one snap.

Tom gave up one pressure. He’s been excellent all season but has really hit his stride down the stretch. Starting with the Week 11 game against the Chargers, when Love and Co. got rolling, his man has touched the quarterback just once in seven games, according to Pro Football Focus.

Addition by Subtraction

In 2020, cornerback Jaire Alexander was an All-Pro. In 2021, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell was an All-Pro. In 2022, Alexander was an All-Pro again.

The Packers certainly don’t need Campbell. They might not need Alexander, either, after the unlikely combo of Corey Ballentine and Carrington Valentine helped shut down the Vikings’ star-studded receiver trio of Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn.

Yes, the Vikings’ quarterback situation can’t be ignored. But any quarterback good enough to be in the NFL should be able to connect with open receivers. Jefferson caught 5-of-10 targets for 59 yards. Addison caught 3-of-5 passes for 28 yards. Osborn never saw the ball in 33 snaps.

Ballentine got in Jefferson’s face and never backed down against a player who in his last two home matchups against the Packers caught 17 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns. That has to be how the Packers play against Chicago and whatever playoff games are ahead. Heck, that should be how the Packers play in 2024

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.