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Win or lose, the Packers’ young guns are going out in a blaze of glory

Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle has one of the most quotable NFL Films sound bytes of all time when he yells “Regulators, mount up!” quoting Emilio Estevez’ Billy The Kid.

Funny enough, though, it is the hated Green Bay Packers that are NFL’s young guns, and their sharp-shooting quarterback has them within one more shootout of getting to the NFC Championship Game.

With the roster averaging 25.7 years of age, the Packers have the youngest roster in the NFL, but that hasn’t fazed them in the slightest. Since Week 12, their offense is second in the league in EPA per play, trailing only the San Francisco 49ers. They are also third in success rate in that time frame, and their young leader has emerged as one of the best gunslingers in the NFL during that time.

In the final seven weeks of the season, Jordan Love was second in the NFL in EPA per dropback, and he led the NFL in CPOE. Love also finished sixth in the NFL in DYAR and DVOA (min. 200 attempts). The Utah product has been one of the best deep ball passers this year, as well, finishing fifth in deep-ball completions and third in yards off deep balls.

Love’s emergence as one of the most complete passers in the game has been the silver bullet in the revolver for the Packers’ group of youthful playmakers. Jayden Reed caught 64 passes and eight touchdowns. Romeo Doubs matched Reed’s eight touchdown catches. Dontayvion Wicks had north of 500 yards. Both Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave became vital parts of the intermediate passing game, as well, averaging over 10 yards per catch a piece. And of course, don’t forget about Christian Watson who missed time with injury but averaged 15 yards per reception in the nine regular season games he played. Every one of the Packers’ top six receivers is a rookie or in his second season- that is unheard of in terms of a team that just won a playoff game. This isn’t a group that has shaky hands when it comes time to pull the trigger, this is a motley crew of young, confident desperados who just kicked in the doors of the coral, took what they wanted, and knew that there was nothing their opponents could do about it.

Now the Packers are reaching the climax of their cinematic season. They face an absolute wagon of a 49ers team that will look to exploit their 27th-ranked defense in terms of DVOA. The Packers defense hasn’t been good when it comes to early-down pass defense, and the 49ers lead the NFL in empty formations on first down, doing so six percent of the time. Green Bay’s defense was 26th in yards allowed per drive- the 49ers’ offense led the NFL in yard’s per drive.

San Francisco will look to kill the Packers with a thousand cuts. Green Bay’s defense played phenomenally against Dallas, but there is a large difference between playing a Mike McCarthy offense and a Kyle Shanahan offense. The 49ers painted those end zones red, they’re going to be well rested, and they will be out to make an example of Brown County Regulators.

Metaphorically, the Packers are already pinned down and surrounded, ready to make their final stand with every odd against them. That said, this team has shown all season that they aren’t afraid of the moment. They aren’t afraid of the 49ers riding in on their white steeds ready to hold down their fort. Will they come out victorious? No one seems to like their odds. But one way or another, win or lose, this iteration of the Green Bay Packers, and their young guns that lead them, are going down swinging, guns up in a blaze of glory.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire