2019 Week 15 - That's What Cheese Said

Winning ugly is still winning, and the 2019 Packers are going to the playoffs. The Packers took care of business against the Chicago Bears at home and head to Minneapolis next week to take on the 10-4 Vikings. 

Head Coach Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay Packers now have a 4-0 record against the NFC North this season after beating the Chicago Bears 21-13. LaFleur also became the first head coach in Packers history to clinch a playoff berth his first season with the team. After winning the 200th matchup between the two storied franchises, the Packers now sit at 11-3 in full control of their own destiny heading into these final two games of the regular season. 

“Our guys have found a way to get the job done 11 times,” said LaFleur after the game. “We somehow find a way. I think that’s a credit to our players and their belief that we will find a way.”

While it came down to the final play of the game, the Packers did find a way to close out another victory, going 7-1 in the regular season at Lambeau Field in 2019. 

“It’s my fifth year in the rivalry,” safety Adrian Amos said. “I feel like every single game has been close. Every single game comes down to the wire and you never think the other team is put away. It’s just too much pride involved and you want to fight until the last whistle.”

The Packers literally did fight until the last whistle, but in the end came out victorious and now sit one game away from clinching the NFC North for the first time since 2016. 

“There’s moments of some really good football I think in all three phases, but a little too inconsistent,” said LaFleur. “But it still was enough to get the job done, and that’s the goal.”

The offense couldn’t find a rhythm for much of the game, going only 5-of-15 on third down conversions. While Aaron Jones only had 51 rushing yards on 13 attempts, he did have two of the team’s three touchdowns on the day, giving him a total of 17 on the season. With that, he’s three touchdowns shy of tying Ahman Green’s franchise record of 20 touchdowns in a season. 

A theme throughout the post-game locker room remained ugly wins, and Green Bay not finding ways to close out games. That said, the players acknowledge the importance of their current record. 

“We haven’t been in this position in a while, being 11-3, so while there’s a lot, you know, that we can improve on to be better at, 11-3 is a hell of a position to be in at this point in the season,” said veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga. 

“Like we always say you can’t apologize for any victory. Everyone’s hard in this league, and sounds cliche, but it’s that way for a reason,” said Davante Adams. “It’s tough to win in this league.”

Adams had seven receptions on the day for 103 yards and a single touchdown on a fourth down conversion attempt. 

“I don’t know that we have the full respect of the entire league at this point, based on some of our performances,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said postgame. He referenced a few of the team’s losses coming by multiple scores and how that affects the team’s perception across the league. 

Rodgers went 16-of-33 for 203 yards and a touchdown, giving him a rating of 78.2. He also was only sacked once all game (despite the lone sack knowing Green Bay out of field goal range). 

Still, ugly wins count the same in the win column, and that isn’t forgotten by this team either. 

“Identity can be whatever you decide to make it, or you know, whatever you’re putting on tape. And if we’re putting ugly wins on tape, I’ll take that,” said Adams. “Obviously we’d love for them to be pretty but you know, it’s not realistic to think they’ll all be that way. But at the end of the day, like I said, we got the win, so if we can, if we have to have ugly wins, we don’t want ugly losses, we want ugly wins. We’ll be fine with that.”

Statistically, the Packers had the numbers that mattered. For example, the plus-three in the turnover differential column. While Green Bay protected the football all game, Chicago lost three turnovers, two interceptions and one in a last-second fumble. The Packers held the Bears under 100 yards rushing on the day despite giving up over 300 yards through the air to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

One interception came from defensive lineman Dean Lowry who got his hands up at the right time to give the Packers the ball back as time wound in the fourth quarter. Even with the turnover, the Packers weren’t able to generate any momentum on the offensive side of the ball. 

“The great teams can finish off opponents in that situation,” said Rodgers of the fourth quarter interception from Lowry. “We’re going to have to keep improving to get to that great status I think.”

Still, the Packers showed promise in the Week 15 victory against the Bears. The offense, when clicking, is difficult to stop and the defense is still forcing turnovers and generating pressure for opposing quarterbacks. Even special teams got involved this week when newly acquired returner Tyler Ervin broke a kickoff return 46 yards to midfield before the first half ended. Flashes of inconsistency, but also flashes of greatness. 

Green Bay will travel to Minneapolis in Week 16 on Monday Night Football to face off against the 10-4 Minnesota Vikings. If the Packers win, they’ll win the NFC North and be guaranteed at the lowest, the third seed in the playoffs. 

“Our goal is to win the north. Right now that’s still out in front of us,” said LaFleur. 

“We’re 7-1 at home, we have an inside track at the two seed, obviously we have an opportunity to wrap up the division next week which guarantees a home game and the third seed at worst,” said Rodgers. “I like our chances. I like our football team.”

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcasts for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (43)

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Cubbygold's picture

December 17, 2019 at 04:02 pm

This game has such big implications for the playoffs. A loss to MN, and a SEA win at home over the 49ers likely means 49ers @ GB in the wild card round. That's not a matchup I'd like to see at all, but certainly not compared to earning a first round bye.

One interesting stat. People have talked about Seattle winning close games and having a narrow point differential. When you look at yardage, the 49ers have the largest spread of any current playoff team at +1,599 (yards gained on offense vs. yards given up on defense). The lowest of any current playoff team is Green Bay, at -485.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 17, 2019 at 06:20 pm

The Packers are awful at yards. But they're better than the Seahawks in point differential...

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Johnblood27's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:11 pm

I believe that yards for and against is the absolute stupidest statistic used to rate teams.

Best = wins and losses
Second best = points for and against
All others are waaaaay behind numbers 1 and 2 but better ones might include turnover differential, third down conversion percentage, red zone efficiency both offensive and defensive.

Yards for and against is right there with time of possession and opening coin flip victories as near useless.

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canadapacker's picture

December 17, 2019 at 04:09 pm

Even if the Packers lose to the Vikings and beat the Lions, they get a home game. Probably a rematch against the Vikings. If the Vikes lose to the Bears that is a fact - vikes Pack in GB 3rd seed and if Seahawks beat the 49ers then we fall to the 4 seed its Dallas/Eagles getting the Vikes and we get the 49rs and the playoffs are set. So as far as that is concerned - kind of hoping to lose to the Vikes because in the NFL it is hard to beat a team 3 times in same year,

Final note - we all have seen AR miss throws and give up easy throws and either takes sacks or throw the ball away - but we have been winning. HIs arm is still there and his legs are still there - So it is entirely possible for him to put it into gear in the playoffs. It is also entirely possible for guys like EVS, Allison not the have drops and Kumerow and Lazard to play lights out - So I am postive as long as we beat the Lions big time and dont lose anybody to IR.

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murphy's picture

December 17, 2019 at 06:59 pm

The Packers cannot be the 4th seed.

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Lare's picture

December 17, 2019 at 04:16 pm

It sounds like they all realize that their record is far better than what their on-field performance indicates. Are their problems or success related to talent, performance or coaching? I think the answer to that question will be much more apparent after the next three games.

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Adorabelle's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:17 pm

The packer defense has given up 16 points or less 4 of the last 5 games. If theres no dalvin cook playing I think they do it again.

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Bure9620's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Not enough has been made of the Packers Red Zone defense which by my count has been a huge part of beating Chicago twice, Detroit, Washington, Carolina, Denver and Minnesota. In those game we gave up 3, 13, 22, 15, 16, 16 and 16 points. HENCE, 11-3

Pettine has stressed Redzone defense and turnovers, you get what you emphasize.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:25 pm

Exactly.

Red Zone efficiency and turnovers = wins

concern over yards = misplaced attention and losses

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Leatherhead's picture

December 18, 2019 at 04:41 pm

Entirely possible Adorabelle. Our defense started the season well, then hit a rough patch, but then started playing some real stingy defense.

IMO our defense is probably better than they are ranked. Offensively, if we execute we can hit 30 pretty easily.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:19 pm

I appreciate MLFs honestly.

Lucky or not they are in this position. This week against nthe Vikings is going to tell us a lot about this football team.

As far as I am concerned the playoffs start this week.

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albert999's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:20 pm

No they dont

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Johnblood27's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:13 pm

first time ever, alber999 is absolutely correct.

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albert999's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:20 pm

The Packers currently rank 22nd in the league in passing. That’s good for seven spots behind the 1-13 Cincinnati Bengals. For seemingly the last five straight seasons, Rodgers has simply refused to throw the ball without holding onto it for at least three or four seconds.
In the first half, Rodgers made several bewildering blunders. Just into the second quarter, Rodgers decided to make a low-percentage and off-target throw to Robert Tonyan instead of running for what would have been an easy first down. Later on in the half on a third-and-six, Rodgers under-threw Jimmy Graham by 10 yards and right into the arms of a Bears defender who coughed it up.
We will be 1 and done in the playoffs if he doesn’t drastically improve......and why can’t he is the big question?

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Bearmeat's picture

December 17, 2019 at 06:21 pm

He's in a major funk for sure.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 17, 2019 at 07:15 pm

Tonyan did not break down into the zone when Rodgers moved out of the pocket. Error to Your boy Tonyan. On a 4th and four play, Rodgers fired a perfect strike to Adams on the seam for the TD. Let's see, got Jones run into his lap twice and Lindsley along for the ride on another occaison, but only was taken down Once.......

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albert999's picture

December 17, 2019 at 10:22 pm

Really
U should be coaching

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Johnblood27's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:23 pm

alber999 on a roll....

you got this pegged!

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NickPerry's picture

December 18, 2019 at 04:26 am

"Rodgers under-threw Jimmy Graham by 10 yards and right into the arms of a Bears defender who coughed it up."

I'm not trying to defend Rodgers play recently because he just hasn't played that well, BUT the pass to Graham WASN'T 10 yards underthrown, it was a hell of a play by #44 who thankfully dropped the ball. Rodgers clearly didn't see him or thought he could fit it in there but it wasn't underthrown!

"We will be 1 and done in the playoffs if he doesn’t drastically improve......and why can’t he is the big question?"

My best guess is his WR's include guys like Lazard, G-Mo, MVS, and Kumerow. Now I think Lazard and Kumerow could be a legit #3 or #4 on SOME teams but common on dude. We support and hope for the best for them because their GBP players. BUT an HONEST look and an influx of talent for 2020 with the draft and FA, they'll be hard-pressed to have a roster spot next season.

It's not an excuse, just the hard facts.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 18, 2019 at 04:35 pm

He’s keeping himself in the lineup, protecting the ball, and executing....especially in the red zone.

That’s all we need him to do. He doesn’t have to be perfect on every play.

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Qoojo's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:37 pm

This team is bewildering. No idea how they will perform. This has been the luckiest packers team I can remember, like defenders dropping easy INTs or calls simply going their way like Tramon's fumble being called interference. Based on the egg the packers laid after the bye-week, I am not even sure if MLF can do any master planning given an extra week should the packers get the first or second seed.

I think it's a coin flip on the packers winning, and if they really are a good team, they need to beat MN this weekend.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 17, 2019 at 07:19 pm

Just remember sherman was 12-4 once with Farve. How did that work out? LaFleur will open a can of worms on the queens next Monday. The players have to execute the plan. Have to have the reliable people on the field. Hug Time is over.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:58 pm

Jannes, I'm convinced your posts send messages to sleeper cells, or coordinate cash drops for weapons and drug deals.

Just remember Ray Rhodes was one and done. Who's decision was that? Buford ate a fat newt. The eagle flies at dawn. The irresistible force meets the immovable object. Win your individual battles at the point of attack. Get a seal here, and here, and run this play in the alley! Today we start the big push.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 17, 2019 at 09:28 pm

Cover the spread.

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LeotisHarris's picture

December 17, 2019 at 09:39 pm

LOL! Well done.

The fox is in the valley.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 18, 2019 at 04:47 pm

Go hang a salami. I’m a lasagna hog.

Rats live on no evil star.

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Bure9620's picture

December 18, 2019 at 01:28 am

That's funny

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ShooterMcGee's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:53 pm

Dean Lowry has better hands than our receivers. Yikes!

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JohnnyLogan's picture

December 17, 2019 at 05:53 pm

Rodgers is a very smart guy and he knows he's not playing well. My concern is that he seems blase about his performance and that of the offense. I wish he'd spit a little fire. I wish the same from MLF. This offense is basically Aaron Jones and Davante Adams. When MLF and Rodgers decide to shut Jones out, as this week with no catches, then it's only Adams. All those "almost" plays are nonsense. Every team has them. There is no rhythm to this offense and it's the bad WR's, the poor playcalling, and Rodger's suddenly inexplicable poor decision making. Lazard and Kumerow should play 75% of the snaps, stop throwing to Graham, and maybe, give Ryan Grant a chance. He's a legit slot receiver.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 17, 2019 at 06:33 pm

Rodgers is playing like s••t. He wasn't even an average QB against the Bears. He had a healthy offense and good blocking so those are not excuses.

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edp1959's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:00 pm

Vinkings trolls must really be miserable having to come here and try to throw trash. HaHa...

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albert999's picture

December 17, 2019 at 10:23 pm

BULLSHIT

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Lphill's picture

December 17, 2019 at 07:04 pm

We speculate here but we don’t really know what it takes to run an offense and win in the NFL , I watch other games thanks to the Sunday ticket I see drops by receivers , open tight ends in the middle of the field , missed chances, it’s not just the Packers , every team is vulnerable on Sunday. Some good teams blow out bad teams , one thing about the Packers is that they are consistent regardless of the opponent.

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Sol's picture

December 17, 2019 at 07:52 pm

Playing a football game is a bit like playing poker, you never want your opponents to know what you have in your hand. The Packers have done a pretty good job at it this year and I for one like Aaron dealing the cards. I would think that Aaron and the rest of the team still have a few tricks up their sleeves for last two games and into the playoffs.

Heck we punched our ticket into the dance last weekend, let the music begin!

I would respectfully like to say to all the nervous fans, something you have all heard before.

JUST RELAX AND LET THEM RUN THE TABLE.

Go Pack

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purdyball46's picture

December 17, 2019 at 07:57 pm

I hate the Vikings so much that I want to invent things to piss off the Packers like Danielle Hunter said Bulaga is a big pussy or Rodgers could backup Cousins as a game manager! Forget the record, playoffs just beat the smirk off those Viking fans! Let's see Zimmer said LaFeur could coach his scout team!

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Bure9620's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:02 pm

Just food for thought, first year Head Coaches not named Matt LeFleur, are 22-50 this year.

Lets put 11-3 in perspective for a first year head coach

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Johnblood27's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:22 pm

Adam Gase could have 11 wins with the GB team and the breaks they have gotten this year.

Let's not lay the 11 wins at MLF's feet without going into the underbelly of coaching decisions and the results of them. MLF has a D grade at managing Rodgers and he is the one that just keeps trotting Graham and Allison out there week after week. He is at the heart of Aaron Jones receiving going underground since Adams returned as well as the disappearance of run-pass balance. The 4th Q disappearance of the GBP offense seems to be scheme and playcalling related, can you make a reasonable counter argument?

Lets not annoint him after one year with lots of room for improvement.

I believe that for a first year HC he looks pretty good. I hope he continues improving and actually learns from his shortcomings and doesn't hide behind a won-loss record like MM did for so long.

If you're not getting better you are getting worse.

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Bure9620's picture

December 17, 2019 at 08:53 pm

I was not annointing anyone. Never said he has not made mistakes and in-game management blunders (so has Gase) but coaching is not just game planning and game management, it is also getting buy in from players and building a culture which is easier said than done particularly for young coaches whose teams are losing. Both young players and Veterans have bought in.

Say what you will, but minus the FA signings, Lazard and the rookies, this was a similar roster to last years team that looked uninspired and won 6 games......a less than mediocre team in 2018.

The fact is you are good as your record. I keep hearing how many "great players the Cowboys have" yet they are a .500 team.

Graham's snaps have been going down consistently week after week since Carolina, he only played 42% of the snaps against Chicago. I gave you the up vote by the way, I enjoy being challenged. Cheers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 18, 2019 at 02:04 am

True, LaFleur is doing a good job. However, LaFleur got 6 new starters, four through free agency and two through the draft. Four of them have been massive upgrades, with the other two being significant.

Turner is okay, but he's a massive upgrade from Bell.
Amos is pretty good and he's a massive upgrade from Brice.
Preston Smith is a massive upgrade from Fackrell/Perry.
ZaDarius Smith is a massive upgrade from CM3.
Jenkins is a nice upgrade from Taylor.
Savage is an upgrade from Tramon/HHCD.
King is < average, but he has doubled his snaps in 2019.

I give LaFleur credit since he has won two games more than I thought the team would. No way though that this team as augmented should be less than 9-7 or 10-6. Most of the other first-year head coaches inherited teams that had little to no talent. That wasn't the case in GB.

Most weeks I wonder how GB will generate points. So far, they have managed to score against most of the defenses they have faced. No, AR hasn't fully bought in to the new scheme, but I suppose that should have been given at least a full season. The regression of Lowry and the falling off the map into reject territory by Montravius Adams has really hurt the defense.

He has been slow to dump Graham but he was quick to recognize the value of Marcedes (heck, they recruited him during the off-season, telling him that MM's crappy scheme for TEs would be changed). He is being stubborn on Allison, but the replacements aren't stellar in Lazard and Kumerow.

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albert999's picture

December 17, 2019 at 10:21 pm

I’m sorry but Rodgers and bakhtari getting named to pro bowl and Aaron Jones and D Smith not is a fuckin joke

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carlbs's picture

December 18, 2019 at 04:55 am

Inconsistency on Sunday afternoons begins with our QB. it seems like there's skirting around the issue each offseason the past couple-few years about possibly getting a quarterback in the draft and I think we've seen this year that front office needs to get serious about looking at starting-caliber quarterbacks coming out in the next couple of years. Rogers is on a decline, and we need to get a heir apparent soon.
you don't win in the NFL with an average quarterback.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 18, 2019 at 08:11 am

Finally, we are going to get a playoff preview. No more scraping out wins against bottom-feeders or decent teams playing with back-up QBs. This will be real big-boy football. All the blah-blah stops here. They either have it or they don’t and all the stats in the world won’t mean a thing.

I’m really concerned about injuries. I get to see the Vikings a lot over here and they do a lot of grab-and-twist tacking, where One guy grabs the ankles and another hits high and twists the torso. Not good for the knees. I remember the Bengals used to do a lot of that a few years back. Hmmmm.....didn’t Zimmer used to coach there. What a coincidence.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm

a great example of why metrics mean nothing and people who write and rely on them instead of doing their own work are wrong more often than not

Rodgers went 16-of-33 for 203 yards and a touchdown, giving him a rating of 78.2. He also was only sacked once all game (despite the lone sack knowing Green Bay out of field goal range).

yet with MVS catching the opening pass, and holding everything else the same Rodgers has a rating of over 102. Wake up and stop parroting trolls

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