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Jordan Love might lead the Packers to the promised land sooner than you think

If the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday, quarterback Jordan Love will have done something that Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, his predecessors at his position, were unable to do — lead his team to the postseason in his first full year as a starter. The 1992 Packers just missed the boat at 9-7, and the 2008 Packers were 6-10. The 2023 Packers, who currently stand at 8-8, are on the precipice, and they’re on the precipice with a young group of receivers who are still figuring it out for the most part.

One thing we know — in the second half of the 2023 season, Love has been as good as any quarterback in the league. Since Week 9, Love has completed 210 of 313 passes (67.1%) for 2,350 yards (7.5 YPA), 19 touchdowns, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 105.5. Love has also completed 22 of 44 passes of 20 or more air yards for 665 yards, seven touchdowns, one interceptions, and a passer rating of 125.9. So, he’s not only one of the league’s best passers overall; he’s also one of the best aggressive passers, and that can take you a long way if you get into the tournament. 

Let’s get into one play in the Packers’ 33-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday night. Love completed 24 of 33 passes for 256 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 125.3, and he did that against a Vikings defense under Brian Flores who will throw the entire kitchen at you schematically — they just start with the sink, and move on from there. Love’s first touchdown pass, a 33-yarder to rookie receiver Jayden Reed, showed how well Love can deal in the face of just about anything right now.

With 5:15 left in the first quarter, the Packers went four verts on second-and-10 from the Minnesota 33-yard line. Minnesota showed a single-high safety look pre-snap,  but as the Vikings have played the NFL’s highest rates of Cover-0 (11.5%) and Cover-2 (27.5%), Love probably had a pretty good feeling that the middle of the field would be open eventually. It was, but as is often the case with Flores’ defenses, it was in ways you might not expect. The Vikings went with inverted Cover-2 to the boundary with cornerback Mekhi Blackmon dropping to two-deep, and linebacker Jordan Hicks as the middle hole defender.

Love also had to deal with pressure here, as defensive tackle Harrison Phillips pushed center Josh Myers into the pocket. Love made a little hop out of the pressure, righted his body, and made the throw with ideal accuracy and velocity.

“Yeah, they kind of disguised it, went to a cover-two-ish coverage and we had four verts on, and I knew I was going to have J-Reed right there,” Love said after the game. “Kind of didn’t see him at first where he was at, and then he came into my vision, so just let it out there, let him go get it. It was an awesome play.”

Postgame, head coach Matt LaFleur couldn’t wait to talk about his quarterback.

“I can’t say enough great things about him. Just his ability to hang in there versus some tough looks, drifting away from pressure, putting the ball in play, allowing his guys to go make plays. I think he is playing at an incredibly high level. I’m super happy for him because he’s put in a ton of work to get to this point, and I really think the sky’s the limit for him. I think he’s just showing a glimpse of what he can ultimately be, and he’s been more consistent as the season has progressed with a young group around him.”

In this week’s “Xs and Os with Greg Cosell and Doug Farrar,” the guys get into how much Love has progressed as a passer this season.

You can watch this week’s “Xs and Os” right here:

You can also listen and subscribe to the “Xs and Os” podcast on Spotify…

…and on Apple Podcasts.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire