If you told Green Bay Packers fans in the middle of the season that, come Wild Card Weekend, they’d have knocked off one of the so-called Super Bowl threats, and in dominant fashion, they’d have called you crazy. After all, even in Week 15, their playoff chances looked slim.
The flame of playoff chances had flickered for most of the season, but refused to die. Green Bay turned on the gas at just the right moment, winning its final three games and sneaking into the playoffs. Then, they shocked the world, winning 48-32 and sending the Packers future into a tailspin.
The team staged a complete turnaround, and of course, some players did as well. Fandom is knee-jerk and seldom rational, so some current star players producing wins and huge moments were at some points written off.
“Dude can’t catch, is soft and always injured” — Nov. 13
No, he hasn’t been a fixture of the team’s recent success, but Christian Watson still deserves a place on this list.
Watson’s season grade was always going to be incompletely assessed until he got significant playing time. Watson spent a good chunk of the start and end of the regular season injured which has put a massive asterisk over his 2023 body of work.
And while Watson was a relatively insignificant piece of the Packers’ win over the Packers with just one catch on nine yards, there is absolutely reason to believe he’ll be a bigger piece of the strategy going forward.
In his first seven games of the year, Watson’s offensive performance didn’t grade above 65 in Pro Football Focus’s grading system a single time. The final two games of the year he played in? 87.7 and 88.9.
Watson would miss the final five weeks of the season due to injury, but it’s clear the potential is still there for Watson, especially once he can find some steady health.
Getting Watson a catch in the Wild Card round is important, too. As he returns to health, getting him some game confidence going into the Divisional Round is massively important.