What’s going on in Green Bay?
The team that started 6-0 and looked like the clear favourites to come out of the NFC has all of a sudden lost three consecutive games, most recently at home on Sunday to the worst team in football, the Detroit Lions. The same Lions who recently fired their GM and President after a 1-7 start to the season, and who hadn’t won in Green Bay since 1991.
With the loss, the Packers conceded possession of first place in their division to the Vikings, who moved to 7-2 with a win against the Raiders.
You’ll likely hear a lot of talking about how everyone needs to RELAX about the Packers, but this offence is one pace for its worst statistical season in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Just about every statistic is as low as it’s been with Rodgers at the helm: the team is averaging 24.3 points per game, 236.3 passing yards per game, and a worrying 36.4% 3rd-down conversion rate. This is worrisome for a team led by the reigning MVP.
Problems crop up just about anywhere you look. Eddie Lacy has turned into a shell of himself and has been benched despite his insistence that nothing is physically wrong, and his replacement James Starks (42 yards on 15 carries against the Lions) isn’t much better. No run threat hurts the passing game, and the offensive line is struggling to protect Rodgers, who was sacked three times against Detroit.
The injury to Jordy Nelson seems more and more costly with each consecutive loss, as Rodgers looks out of sync with his current receiving corps. Against the Lions, who entered the game with the second worst defence in all of football, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb both struggled to do much of anything. Adams was targeted 21 times for just 10 catches and 78 yards. Cobb, meanwhile, caught just five passes fof 53 yards.
Despite the stagnated offence, head coach Mike McCarthy has insisted that he won’t take back the play-calling duties, which he handed off to assistant coach Tom Clements this season.
The good news for the Packers is that there’s a steep drop-off in talent in the NFC. Outside of the division leaders, the Packers and Falcons are both 6-3 and comfortably locked in the two Wild Card spots. The next closest teams are all 4-5.
The Packers also play the Vikings twice (including this weekend), so the division title is still very much up for grabs.
If anyone can turn things around, it’s Rodgers. And if you really want to be optimistic, you can consider that the team’s first two losses both came on the road: to the Broncos, who have an all-time great defence, and the Panthers, who remain undefeated.
Still, a loss to the Lions is indicative that something’s up in Green Bay. Whatever it is, they will need to fix it before heading to Minnesota.
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