Out of Love: When Should the Packers Move On to Sean Clifford?

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Sean Clifford #8 and Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers talk before a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on August 26, 2023. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

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It feels like Thursday Night Football happened forever ago. Still, it is hard to ignore how bad Jordan Love and the Packers looked against the Lions, at Lambeau Field.

It’s “Overreaction Monday” and with 20% of the season over, we’re focusing on when should the Green Bay brass break up with Jordan Love and move to Sean Clifford. More importantly, is Love a value pick in the “First QB to be Benched” market?

Love is currently tied with Trevor Lawrence, sitting at odds of +10000 via BetOnline, before Sunday. We also have to see what happens on Monday Night Football with Daniel Jones, who’s third to last, at +5000.

After signing Jones to a new deal worth $160 million for the next four years, it’s hard to see the Giants benching him, so let’s focus on other QBs with a better possibility of losing their starting job, including Love.

New Deal

Speaking of deals, back in May, the Packers restructured Jordan Love’s deal. This allows them flexibility in case the Love Connection comes to an abrupt end. 

Love agreed to a one-year extension worth $22.5 million, which in turn pre-empted the fifth-year option from his initial rookie contract. This means that he is under contract through the 2024 season

So, while the cheeseheads have been adamant about their belief in Love, this deal allows them to change directions should Love not deliver the expected goods.

First Four Games

Despite looking very good against the Bears, we now know that Chicago is a dumpster fire, so this victory looks less impressive than it did back in Week 1.

The Packers lost in Week 2 to a one-dimensional Falcons team that saw the current favorite to get benched, Desmond Ridder, pull a last-minute comeback.

Worrying Trends

Green Bay bounced back at home, in Week 3 against the Saints, after a 4th quarter comeback but the truth is that they had no business winning that game after questionable calls by Matt LaFleur. The only reason the Packers got the W was that the Saints’ kicker missed a game-winning field goal.

Less than a week later, the game against Detroit started to signal some worrying trends. The most notable? The Packers were held to 21 yards on 22 plays in the first half. While things got better offensively, the Lions were able to put the game away in the third quarter. Something similar to what happened in the game against New Orleans.

Who’s Sean Clifford

During the pre-season, Sean Clifford earned plenty of praise thanks to his maturity and talent during the off and preseason. For starters, Clifford moved up to 2nd-string before training camp was over.

However, by the end of the preseason, it was clear that the Packers had something in the rookie from Penn State… in case things didn’t work out with Love.

In three preseason games, Clifford threw 41 completions in 57 attempts for 391 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a QB rating of 81.8.

Season Wins for Green Bay

Currently, there are no odds at the top offshore sportsbooks regarding a possible Jordan Love benching. However, given the circumstances discussed above, if I had to put on my oddsmaker hat, the No would be -300.

Still, things can quickly change in the NFL and as Einstein used to say, “Insanity is doing the same over and over again, expecting different results.”

The total season wins for the Packers was set at 7.5 at the start of the regular season. If, by Week 12 the Packers are below 5 wins for the season, it’s clear that the Love Boat is sinking and Green Bay should take a flyer on their rookie QB.

The Pick

While we spent most of this article discussing Love, Clifford and the Packers, it’s clear that, right now, Love is not a value pick to be the first quarterback to be benched. We also mentioned above that Desmond Ridder is the current favorite.

With the Falcons in an NFC South division that is up for grabs, it’s easy to see Arthur Smith moving on from Ridder if the season is in jeopardy. However, as bad as Ridder has looked throughout four games, the reality is that the Falcons spent the whole offseason building this team around him.

Going to Taylor Heinicke is the equivalent of flushing the future of the franchise down the toilet.

Bad News Bears

Which takes us to Justin Fields. Before his fourth straight loss, Fields was sitting at +700 and despite the MVP talk about him during the preseason, the truth is that he’s a leftover from the old regime.

Head coach Matt Eberflus didn’t draft Fields but was instead brought over last year after Matt Nagy failed to do with him the same he did with Patrick Mahomes back in Kansas City (where Nagy has since returned).

After a questionable call, going for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal, Eberflus might have cost his team the first W of the season. This will put him on the hot seat and with no loyalty owed to Fields, I see Eberflus pulling the plug on this failed experiment.

NFL Pick: Justin Fields to Be First Quarterback Benched (+700) at BetOnline

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