Green Bay Packers: 10 Quick Observations after Clinching Top Seed

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 03: Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after catching a 72 yard touchdown pass against Danny Trevathan #59 of the Chicago Bears during the second quarter in the game at Soldier Field on January 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 03: Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after catching a 72 yard touchdown pass against Danny Trevathan #59 of the Chicago Bears during the second quarter in the game at Soldier Field on January 03, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After rewatching the game, here are 10 quick observations from the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Chicago Bears.

Say it with me, folks: the NFC goes through Green Bay, Wisconsin, and oh how sweet it is. Things may have gotten a little tight in the third quarter as the Chicago offense was able to find some success while the Green Bay Packers stalled a bit, but ultimately, the more talented team won and earned a first-round bye in the process.

Now having had the opportunity to go back and rewatch the television copy of the game, I have 10 quick observations from the Packers’ performance.

The offensive line held up just fine

Understandably, there was some concern about how the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line would handle the Chicago pass-rush without David Bakhtiari at left tackle. As many expected, the Packers went with the same lineup that they used earlier in the season when Bakhtiari missed three games. Billy Turner was the left tackle, Rick Wagner was at right tackle, and Lucas Patrick was the right guard.

When it was all said and done, Rodgers was sacked just one time — and it was a play he had time on but nowhere to go — and the Bears recorded six quarterback hits. However, the likes of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks didn’t come close to wrecking this game. Although losing Bakhtiari is a big blow, this offense is well-equipped to handle his absence.

And hats off to Billy Turner who has been excellent all season at multiple positions.

Aaron Rodgers is your MVP

If there was any doubt after last week’s performance against Tennessee in regards to who the MVP is, Rodgers put any and all questions to bed this week. Rodgers finished the game completing 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards, with four touchdowns, and an average of 10 yards per attempt. Not to mention that these numbers could be even better if it weren’t for a dropped deep ball by MVS. Just hand the man his third MVP award now.

This is just who MVS is

I’m pretty sure I had something similar to this as an observation already this season, but after Sunday’s game, it’s worth mentioning again. We saw Marquez Valdes-Scantling get a favorable matchup against Danny Trevathan which led to a 72-yard touchdown. But as I just mentioned, we also saw him drop what would have been another deep touchdown reception.

Since his first season, MVS’ career has been filled with ups and downs. The highs are really high, but the lows are low. And at this point, I think we’ve seen enough to know that this is just who he is. With that said, Valdes-Scantling is an important part of this Green Bay Packers’ offense as he gives them a deep threat and speed that they just don’t have without him. The dropped passes may be frustrating, but he makes a lot more big plays than mistakes.

Future All-Pro Jaire Alexander

The future is now. Since entering the NFL, Jaire Alexander has flashed that All-Pro potential, and that has culminated this season with an all-around fantastic performance. Entering Sunday’s game, Alexander had a completion rate of only 50 percent when targeted and he allowed only 10.3 yards per catch. He had also recorded an interception, 12 pass breakups, and quarterbacks had a passer rating of 69.1 when throwing his direction.

Against the Bears, Alexander had another pass breakup, a forced fumble, and we hardly heard from Allen Robinson.

Trubisky did what Trubisky does

Over the last four games, the Bears’ offense had been averaging an impressive 36 points per game and we had seen improved play from Mitch Trubisky. So much in fact that it’s been reported that Chicago could bring him back next season. During this stretch, Trubisky completed over 72 percent of his passes at 8.14 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

And that’s similar to what we saw against Green Bay. Trubisky completed 33 of 42 passes for 252 yards, however, he had no touchdowns and an interception. While he’s played better as of late, much like with MVS and the Packers, we know who Trubisky is. He’s a limited passer who will take easy completions and he’s eventually going to make a mistake. And that’s what happened on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers defense

In the heat of the moment, this game could have been a bit frustrating for fans to watch considering that the defense was unable to get off the field at times. When the clock hit zero, Chicago held the ball for over 11 minutes more than the Green Bay Packers and ran 30 more plays. However, the numbers show that the defense continued playing well.

For starters, the Bears did only score 16 points, thanks to leaving the red zone with only one touchdown in five trips. They also averaged only 4.8 yards per play, David Montgomery averaged just over three yards per carry, and the Packers did force two turnovers. This unit is peaking at the right time.

Matt LaFleur, take a bow

The Green Bay Packers second-year Head Coach now has two full seasons under his belt and holds a 26-6 record, Matt LaFleur has clinched a first-round bye each season, and now, the NFC has to come through Lambeau Field. LaFleur reinvigorated a locker room that had become a bit stagnant at the end of the Mike McCarthy era, he’s help Rodgers regain that MVP form, and this is has been one of the best offenses in the NFL all season. Take a bow, Coach.

Regression? What regression?

From a win-loss standpoint, the Green Bay Packers were prime regression candidates this season, simply because it’s difficult to win 13 games. But on the field, despite what all the talking heads and draft analysts had to say over the offseason, this was a group that was poised to take a big step forward in Year 2 of the LaFleur system. And that’s what we saw.

Green Bay led the NFL in points per game this season and their offense ranked as the best unit in the game by Football Outsider’s DVOA metric. Rodgers is the MVP, Davante Adams had an incredible season, Aaron Jones was actually more productive on the ground in 2020, and the offensive line was the best in football.

With Green Bay winning so many one-score games a year ago, and coupling that with an ugly NFC Championship performance and an offseason that many would consider lack-luster, this was a team that many didn’t even expect to win the NFC North. But look at this group now. Behind the most productive offense in the game, the playoffs will run through Lambeau Field.

Special teams strikes again

Goodness, I don’t like having to discuss this each week, but yet here we are again. As I’ve said many times, the play of this unit since the Houston game has been abysmal and that continued against Chicago–especially early on.

The opening kickoff went out of bounds giving the Chicago offense a short field to work with and they eventually found the end zone. On the following kick return for the Packers, they barely reached the 20-yard line, and then of course, there was Tavon Austin’s fumble which led to three more points for the Bears. Of Chicago’s 16 points, 10 were helped tremendously by the Packer special teams unit

The Green Bay Packers’ offense is one of the best in football, the defense is trending in the right direction just in time for the playoffs, but the special teams unit continues to have major issues.

This game was ideal for Chicago but Green Bay is just better

If Matt Nagy told us how he wanted this game to go, I imagine that Chicago was able to check many of those boxes. As I’ve already mentioned, they did a great job of keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field, holding the ball 11 more minutes than the Packers, and running 30 more plays than them. They also got a turnover on special teams, Trubisky found a rhythm with the quick passing game, and they held the Green Bay running game in check.

Next. Instant Takeaways after Clinching No. 1 Seed. dark

However, even with all of that going right, the talent — and coaching — gap between these two teams was just too much to overcome. Even in the third quarter when Chicago had the chance to take the lead, at least to me, it never felt like it was going to get to that point. The Packers are just that much better.