After a 24-17 loss to the Bears, the Packers are out of the playoffs for the second straight season, which marks the first time since 1991 that they’ve suffered back-to-back losing seasons and the first time since 2005-2006 that they’ve missed the playoffs in consecutive years.

What started out as a season filled with promise—a new contract for Rodgers, the acquisition of Jimmy Graham, and the hiring of Gutekunst and Pettine—has turned into a franchise-altering year after the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy.

But we are here now to focus on some of the few bright spots of the Packers this season—with the fresh Pro Bowl announcement, two players (plus three alternates) will represent Green Bay in Orlando a week before the Super Bowl.

Davante Adams

Adams has been the best player on an otherwise average squad this season, and you can make the argument that he’s now one of the top five receivers in the league. He has recorded career highs on all major categories, going for 100 receptions (fourth in the league), 1,315 yards (fourth) and 12 touchdowns (second). If Rodgers is throwing to the endzone, it’s more than likely going to Adams—he’s accounted for over 50% of the Packers’ passing touchdowns. Any receiver would be happy to have these stats at the end of the season—we still have two games left for those numbers to increase.

Numbers are great, but they are only a quantifiable indicator of Adams’ skillset—if you zero in on Adams every play, you can see that he is one of the quickest players off the line and one of the best route runners in the league—Packers fans should be excited about the connection he’ll have with Rodgers for at least the next three years after his second straight Pro Bowl appearance.

Aaron Rodgers

It really shows the greatness of Rodgers that even when he’s having a “down” year, people still believe he’s having a Pro Bowl-caliber season.

Because the quarterback play in the NFC was weaker, I get it.

But I’d be lying if I told you that I thought Rodgers was having a Pro Bowl year.

His stats are fine—he should surpass 4,000 yards by the time the year is done, and he’s thrown for 23 touchdowns and 2 interceptions—all very respectable numbers. But when it comes down to it, something is off with the 2x MVP. It was especially apparent in the game against the Bears, where he missed wide open receivers that he usually hits with ease. He also seems to have never fully recovered from that week one knee injury.

The best thing that can happen for this team is to finish up these next two games and get ready for a fresh start with a new head coach.

Alternates

David Bahktiari

A well-deserved alternate nomination for one of the best tackles in the game. He is currently the second-highest rate lineman on PFF, and a critical cornerstone that the Packers must continue to build the offensive line around. He is locked in with the Packers for another two years, and we can only hope that he re-signs for the rest of Rodgers’ career.

Kenny Clark

When healthy, the defensive line is one of the best in the league (a lot to look forward to next season!). That’s the problem, though—Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, and Muhammad Wilkerson were all injured this season, which made for a pretty improvised group up front. Of those three, Clark is the youngest (23 years old) and is already on the verge of being a star in this league. His six sacks and 55 tackles were enough to earn him a Pro Bowl alternate—a full season in 2019 could secure him a guaranteed spot.

Corey Linsley

I still remember Linsley’s first start—he replaced the injured JC Tretter in the first game of the 2014 season, where he was thrown into the fire against the Seahawks defense—little did we know that Linsley would start from then on out. He’s been very consistent for the Packers, and if Gutekunst can find some solid guard talent in the draft/free agency, this line could be much improved next season.

 

 

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