Green Bay has this winning-franchise thing down to a science

Green Bay has this winning-franchise thing down to a science

The Green Bay Packers are one of the handful of NFL franchises that has done precious little losing since the turn of the millennium. Even the decade prior to Y2K, they experienced sustained success. The Packers seem to have a firm grasp on NFL team building, including the most important part — quarterback. For all of Jordan Love’s ups and downs during the 2023 season, a Week 13 win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football thrust the Packers into the final NFC Playoff spot.

As bad as the Packers had played going into Week 9 against the Los Angeles Rams, their four-game losing streak was not even as bad as their longest one from the 2022 season. They defeated the Rams that day — who were quarterbacked by backup Brett Rypien — 20-3. At that point of the season, any shine from Love’s Week 1 performance against the Chicago Bears had long since dulled.

The Packers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers the next week, but would go on to win their next three games. During this stretch, Love has thrown for a total of eight touchdowns, and no interceptions. He has also completed no less than 67 percent of his passes and averaged at least 7.4 yards per attempt. The Packers never trailed during Sunday’s 27-19 victory against the 8-3 Chiefs. It was a performance that proved for all of the criticism of Green Bay’s roster building during the end of Aaron Rodgers’ time there, the franchise is one of the best in the NFL at assembling talent.

Those final Mike McCarthy years in 2017 and 2018 were stinkers for the Packers. The first one was not his fault with Rodgers missing nine games, but in 2018, they both had to own that funk. McCarthy did not even make it all the way through the Packers’ second consecutive below .500 finish, and several reports were published about dysfunction in the franchise.

Drafting Love in 2020 did the opposite of sooth Rodgers. Still, the Packers got two more MVP seasons out of him that ended in playoff apperances, but short of the Super Bowl, even with Davante Adams performing at a first-team All-Pro level. Adams chose not to re-sign with the Packers in 2022, so they began the process of overhauling their wide receiver corps by drafting Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.

The group showed promise late that season when the Packers won four of their last five games. They traded Rodgers in April 2023 and added Jayden Reed in the second round of the draft. After a win against the Bears to open the season, Love struggled mightily in his first year as a starter while the Packers started piling up losses.

In Week 13 against the Chiefs, Love showed out against one of the best teams in the league — fourth in Defensive DVOA — proving that he and his pass catchers are continuing to improve. Love threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns on 7.4 yards per attempt and no interceptions, with top running back Aaron Jones out with injury. Love made crucial completions off of his backfoot that looked quite Mahomesian.

Along with the offense beginning to click, the Packers are playing some of their best defense in years. They have allowed 24 points or less in eight consecutive games — their longest such streak since the Super Bowl Championship season of 2010. Rashan Gary leads the attack with nine sacks on the season. He was a first-round pick of the Packers in 2019. They selected Luka Van Ness in the first round of the 2023 draft and both players sacked Mahomes on Sunday night. Going into the game, Green Bay had the eighth highest QB pressure percentage in the NFL.

It has been 31 years since Brett Favre first started a game for the Packers and they appear well on their way to remaining a competitive NFL franchise while only intentionally starting three different quarterbacks since the Chicago Bulls won their second NBA Championship.

The NFL is not designed for decades of dominance. At best, most teams occasionally nudge into the playoff picture before getting shoved out of it. In the last two years, the Packers have gotten rid of a consistent 100-catch and 10-touchdown wide receiver, as well as the NFL MVP of 2020 and 2021.

Currently, they are the NFL’s youngest team and just defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions in a prime-time telecast, putting themselves in great playoff positions. The Packers remain a model of NFL consistency.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.