The Green Bay Packers have been on a scary skid this season.
The Packers are currently sitting at 4-5 on the season. This just flat-out is not something that fans have come to expect of a team like the Packers. Green Bay has collected wins against below average teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. The Packers have also been able to beat better, more competitive teams like the Detroit Lions and the New York Giants.
The fear for fans comes when they see who the Packers have lost against, and how they have lost. The Packers first loss came against the Minnesota Vikings. At the time, the loss was acceptable and excusable because the game was on the road. The Vikings were also in the middle of a 5 game win streak to start their season. The loss was a close one with Minnesota edging Green Bay 17-14.
The Packers would then win their next two games, then lose to the Dallas Cowboys led by rookie QB Dak Prescott at Lambeau Field. Again, some could say that Cowboys rookies Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliot are having magical seasons, so the loss could even still have been accepted. The Packers would lose by a wide margin of 30-16. Against the Chicago Bears, the Packers faired better, winning 26-10.
The Fear Rises
This is where the nerves start to rise and the fear starts to set in. The following week the Packers would travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Now the Falcons are a good team, but this is a game that many people thought Green Bay would be able to win. Well it came down to the final seconds as Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw a touchdown pass to Mohammed Sanu with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter to take the lead 33-32. Aaron Rodgers had about 26 seconds to make some magic happen. This was a situation that Rodgers seemingly thrived in; only a field goal was needed to win. Alas, Rodgers and the Packers offense were unable to even pick up a first down and the Falcons would go on to win.
The next two games would turn out to be the most troubling. The Packers would lose the next week 31-26 to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts currently have the 27th ranked defense, so this was a game that should have been a win for Green Bay. The Packers would then suffer their ugliest loss of the season against the Tennessee Titans 47-25.
Who’s to blame?
The first two losses could have been excused, but after losing three in a row, there has to be some blame to throw around. Some may blame the QB, Aaron Rodgers. According to ESPN, Rodgers is currently the 15th ranked QB in the league. Rodgers has currently thrown for 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with an average of 255 passing yards per game. These numbers are historically average for a player and Super Bowl MVP like Rodgers as Green Bay currently ranks 20th in the league in passing yards.
The Running Game
The problems continue into the running game. The Packers were forced to place their starting running back, Eddie Lacy, on the injured reserve list early in the season. After their second running back James Starks had to be out for a month with meniscus surgery, the Packers had little options at running back with undrafted rookies Don Jackson and Joe Kerridge. The Packers are currently ranked 19th in the league in rushing yards per game.
The Packers currently have the number one defense against running backs, only allowing 606 yards. On third downs the Packers currently rank third with only 36 allowed. Green Bay’s defense also ranks sixth in total defense with 2606 total yards allowed. Outside of these stats, there is not a whole lot to brag about. The defense has allowed an average of 23.4 points per game, allowing 30 or more points in five games this season. The following tweet from ESPN Staff Writer Rob Demovsky, probably won’t calm any nerves either: “The last time the Packers allowed 30 points in four out of five games before Sunday was the 1953 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.”
This team, as a whole, has been exceedingly average this year. With very middle-of-the-pack rankings, it makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly where the biggest problem lies. Or perhaps there is not one big problem, but a multitude of smaller ones. It’s easier to place the blame on solely the defense or QB Aaron Rodgers, but the reality is that small problems lie on both sides of the ball. If there is anything positive to say at all, the Packers are only two games out of first place in their division, which is currently led by the 5-4 Detroit Lions. Problems that are hard to place are hard to fix though, and it will certainly be an interesting, probably tough, road ahead for the Green Bay Packers.