Green Bay Packers: Can they make another late season playoff run?

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images /

Do the Green Bay Packers have what it takes to make a magical stretch run to the playoff this season? Are Aaron Rodgers‘ heroics enough?

For the third consecutive year, and fourth time in the last six seasons, the Green Bay Packers have a losing record in November (see below). And once again, the team is relying on Aaron Rodgers’ heroics to make a late-season rally to qualify for the playoffs.

Here are some of the Packers’ records in November:

2018: 4-5-1
2017: 5-6
2016: 4-6
2013: 5-6-1

This doesn’t even include Rodgers’ infamous plea for Packer Nation to “R-E-L-A-X” following a slow start to the 2014 season.  Nor does it include the 2015 season when the Packers had to recover in December after losing four of their five games in November.

In 2013, the Packers won three of their last four games and capped it off in a dramatic winner-take-all contest in Chicago.  With only 38 seconds remaining in the season and the Packers trailing by one point, Rodgers connected on a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb on fourth down.  The play gave the Packers the division title and sent them into the playoffs.

In 2016, the Packers won eight consecutive games to advance all the way to the NFC championship game buoyed by Rodgers’ unfathomable 21:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  This magical run peaked in Dallas when Rodgers made one of the most historic throws in NFL playoff history.  His ridiculous 36-yard completion to Jared Cook with three seconds left set up the game-winning field goal.

Last year, Rodgers played in Week 15 despite his collarbone not being fully healed.  Regrettably, the Packers lost the contest and he watched the final two games from the sidelines while the Packers finished 7-9.

Which brings us to 2018.  The Packers find themselves in familiar territory with the fan base growing restless as the team tries to fight its way back into the playoff picture late in the season.  However, whether it’s a season or a game, digging out of a big hole has unfortunately become the trademark for Mike McCarthy’s teams.

Since the start of the 2017 season, the Packers have trailed by 10 points or more in 15 games.  For comparison, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have trailed by 10 or more points in only 14 games during the same time frame.  Yes, the same Buccaneers who have not played in a postseason game in more than a decade and have averaged a paltry five wins over the last seven years.  Extending back to the start of the 2015 season reveals McCarthy’s teams have trailed by 10 or more points in 25 games, 13 or more points in 23 games, and by 16 or more points in 16 games.

The futility doesn’t end there.  The Packers have failed to win a single road game this season.  Dating back to last season, they have now lost seven consecutive road games. Entering Sunday’s games, the Cleveland Browns are the only team in the NFL with a longer active losing streak on the road.

This isn’t a recent issue for McCarthy.  In the last seven years, only once have the Packers posted a winning road record.  And in the last six years, the Packers have a measly three road wins against teams with a winning record.  That’s only two more than the Browns.

McCarthy has been armed with the NFL’s most gifted quarterback, blessed with the NFL’s leading running back in yards per carry over the last two seasons (Aaron Jones 6.0), and is now equipped with a defense currently leading the NFL in sacks. This is a recipe to put the Packers on the short list of teams who could take home the Lombardi Trophy in February. For McCarthy, it’s barely good enough to win four games in three months.

Next. 3 free agents who could help Packers n 2019. dark

Wondering if the Packers can muster another unlikely playoff run is asking the wrong question.  Instead, the questions are why McCarthy’s teams continue to resemble the league’s bottom feeders instead of profiling as a contender and who should man the helm in 2019?