After four games, the 2018 Green Bay Packers can best be described as one thing: inconsistent. The start has not necessarily been bad, as the team posted a 2-1-1 record to begin the year. Yet there’s still an overwhelming sense that Green Bay has left a lot to be desired through the season’s first quarter.
Most of that disappointment can be attributed to lackluster showings from Aaron Rodgers and the offense. Statistically, the Packers’ offense is just average–not terrible, but far from the level the team is capable of. They rank 17th in yards per game (14th in passing and 19th in rushing) with the 19th-ranked scoring attack. That point production would be the lowest (by a wide margin) of any season in which Rodgers played at least eight games.
But the offense hasn’t been terrible all year; they’ve just been inconsistent. After being blanked in the first half by the Bears to open the season, Rodgers and the passing attack looked unstoppable during a 21-point fourth quarter.
The Packers moved the ball fairly well against Minnesota, but just couldn’t find their way into the end zone. Red zone efficiency is another area where the offense needs to see marked improvement. Through four weeks, Green Bay has the fifth-worst percentage (41%) of red zone trips converted to touchdowns.
Aaron Jones finally gave life to the running game in Weeks 3 and 4, but wasn’t given enough carries to really grind out opposing defenses. The team even made a conscious effort against Buffalo to make something work in the deep passing game, a dimension of the offense that’s seemed to be absent the last couple years. The Packers’ offense has shown flashes, but it needs to be able to maintain production throughout an entire game.
A similar trend has been seen on defense. It’s clear to anyone watching the games that Mike Pettine’s unit has been much better than what the Packers have fielded in recent years. To the defense’s credit, they did put together a complete game against Buffalo. Green Bay recorded seven sacks, forced three turnovers, and recorded the Packers’ first shut out since 2010. But over the first three games, inconsistency was again the biggest knock for Green Bay’s D.
The team was bulldozed by Chicago on the first drive of the game, putting Green Bay in an early hole, before limiting the Bears’ offense to a trio a field goals the rest of the way. The Vikings were held to just one touchdown through three quarters, before exploding for 22 points in the final 15 minutes. Washington put up 28 first half points, but the defense gave the Packers a chance by preventing the Redskins from eclipsing 50 total yards the rest of the way.
The defense has outperformed the offense to start the 2018 season, but both units have struggled to put together complete outings so far. The Packers, preparing for a crucial divisional match up against the Detroit Lions, need to find more consistency before facing a tough stretch of games against the 49ers, Rams, and Patriots. Hopefully a healthier Rodgers and a defense that’s starting to click can give Green Bay a much-needed complete game performance in Week 5.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .