3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 18 Loss

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2022

3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 18 Loss

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers fell to the lowly Detroit Lions on Sunday. However, Packers fans shouldn't take too much sorrow from the loss.

    The Packers had already locked up the NFC's first-round bye and had nothing to play for against Detroit. Yet it was still a fun and entertaining game for the Packers faithful. Green Bay relied largely on backups in the second half but still came close to pulling out a win.

    A pair of Jordan Love interceptions ended Green Bay's final two possessions.

    Again, there was nothing on the line here for the Packers. However, Sunday's performance did provide some insight heading into the postseason.

    Here's what we learned during Green Bay's 37-30 loss in Week 18.

The Packers Were More Concerned with Chemistry, Health Than a Win

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    The Packers had to walk a fine line heading into Week 18. With a week off already secured, Green Bay needed to ensure that it reached the postseason healthy but without sacrificing team chemistry.

    "If somebody goes in there and gets injured then, 'Well, why'd you play your guys?' But if you go out there in that first playoff game and you lay an egg, 'Well, why'd you rest your guys?' So there's not a right answer," head coach Matt LaFleur said, per Mike Spofford of the team's official website.

    Starters like Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams did suit up against Detroit, but they only played through the first half. Jordan Love took over in the second half with the score 17-13 in the Lions' favor.

    Playing starters for a half allowed LaFleur to give his vital players some game action without exposing them too much to injury. Rodgers and Co. may still experience some rust when Green Bay resumes play, but not as much as if the Packers had had a two-week layoff.

    Most importantly, perhaps, players like Rodgers and Adams should be at 100 percent for the divisional round. Winning this game was never part of the plan.

Jordan Love Is Still a Work in Progress

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    The Packers got a little bit of good and a little bit of bad out of Love in the second half. He led a pair of scoring drives, but he also struggled early and then finished with a pair of turnovers.

    "Obviously didn't end the way we wanted it to, but mistakes happen all the time, and just because it happened at the end it's gonna be pointed out a little bit more, but I thought he did a great job," receiver Allen Lazard said, per Kassidy Hill of Packers News.

    The reality is that while Love's teammates may believe in him, there's a clear dropoff when Rodgers is out of the game. Love finished a solid 10-of-17 for 134 yards and a touchdown. However, he also delivered only nine points while overseeing three drives that ended in turnovers.

    Rodgers finished with a passer rating of 135.6. Love's rating was only 64.0.

    Love may still be the future at quarterback for Green Bay, but the Packers had better hope that the future isn't needed during the upcoming postseason.

Packers Must Be Wary of Postseason Trickery

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    Lon Horwedel/Associated Press

    Green Bay only lost twice during the regular season in games that Rodgers started and finished. We should expect potential postseason opponents to seek an edge wherever they can find them.

    When the Packers take the field in the divisional round, they will want to be on the lookout for trick plays. The Lions used them to great effect Sunday, pulling out gems like a wide receiver reverse pass by Tom Kennedy and the fabled flea-flicker.

    Detroit did its fair share of just playing well too. Jared Goff passed for 238 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Rookie standout Amon-Ra St. Brown caught eight passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

    However, teams will remember Green Bay falling victim to trickery. This is a squad that has struggled on special teams and may also be susceptible to gadget plays. If the Packers' divisional-round opponent doesn't believe it can simply outplay them, perhaps it will try to force enough miscues to steal a win.

    If it worked against the Packers at all in 2021, opponents are likely to try it in the postseason.