Coming into their Week 5 bye, the Green Bay Packers have experienced a ton of success early on, as their 4-0 record puts them in the top realm of the NFC contenders. And while there have been some question marks on both sides of the ball, the offense has been the unit that has carried this team so far, no surprise.
Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones have been the offensive stalwarts, and with Davante Adams nursing an injury, the likes of Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, and others have stepped up to help fill that large gap in offensive production. But with Adams on his way back from injury and Lazard out indefinitely with surgery on a core muscle, there are some question marks coming out of their bye.
The next four opponents for the Pacers are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, and the San Francisco 49ers, with only the Week 8 tilt against the Vikings at home. So, Green Bay will be forced to go on the road for three of their next four games in a true test of how legitimate their undefeated record is up to this point.
Week 5 – @ Tampa Bay
Somehow, someway, as we speak, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are favorited in the Week 5 game, something that makes not a ton of sense at this point. The Bucs are coming off a Thursday Night Football loss in Soldier Field at the hands of the Chicago Bears, not an impressive defeat to say the least, even with the Bears moving to 4-1.
Led by ol’ reliable Tom Brady, the Bucs came into the year looking like an offensive juggernaut, as Brady was going to have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Rob Gronkowski to throw to. Add in Leonard Fournette after Jacksonville dumped him this offseason, and that looks like a ton of formidable offensive weapons.
But Evans and Godwin have both been dealing with their share of injuries, Gronk has not looked anything close to the generational TE talent that he used to be, Fournette has looked solid but has some injuries as well, and Howard has continued to underplay what he should be.
The Tampa defense is nothing necessarily to be scared of, so Rodgers and his weapons, which will hopefully include Adams should be able to do what they want against it and have sustained success.
Week 6 – @ Houston
With head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien finally out of the picture, the Houston Texans will be led by interim head coach Romeo Crennel for the remainder of the season. And while the Texans are certainly above average in some categories, their lineup is in need of some serious tuneups if they want to become competitive again.
QB Deshaun Watson is all by his lonesome on that offense, especially after DeAndre Hopkins was traded this offseason to the Arizona Cardinals. The trio of Will Fuller IV, Brandin Cooks, and former Packer WR Randall Cobb now hold down the for at receiver, with David Johnson as the lead back here.
On defense, J.J. Watt leads a below-average unit that certainly is exploitable and one that both the passing and running games should be able to enjoy. Even as this game is another road affair, the Packers should be heavy favorites coming into this contest.
Week 7 – vs. Minnesota
The lone home game in the next stretch pits divisional rivals against each other, but this time in the friendly confines of Green Bay. with the Vikings having a sieve of a defense, Rodgers should be able to compound his opening-week performance and turn that into a stepping stone for one of the more beneficial matchups of the season so far.
With both Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson as formiddable WRs that will keep Jaire Alexander and Kevin King busy, Dalvin Cook could put together another strong showing against Green Bay, something that will dictate how much throwing Rodgers will need to do in this contest.
The defensive backfield for the Vikings is extremely young and decently taught, but they still are an easy target for the GOAT on his MVP revenge tour, which could make it a long, long day yet again for this Vikings D.
Week 8 – @ San Francisco (TNF)
One of the better-looking Thursday night matchups, at least on paper, pits Green Bay against the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of the NFC Championship contest, which saw the Niners destroy GB.
With the Niners dealing with a plethora of injuries currently, they should be back at or at least close to full strength, which will mean that both of these teams will most likely be at full strength when they face off.
The rushing attack is what destroyed GB, and that looks to most likely be the same thing, as Raheem Moster and Jerrick McKinnon lead a very stout rushing attach that helps keep Jimmy Garappolo in the role of game manager.
Their secondary has been really banged up, and if that holds true for this contest, then Adams and the rest of the WRs could feast early and often.
The upcoming slate of games is all winnable for the Packers, something that will be a very tough task to do. If they can minimally come through with only one loss in this stretch of games, then this team will look like the leading candidate to come out of the NFC. Seattle, San Francisco (when healthy), and potentially the Saints and Buccaneers look to be the best options in the NFC, and Green Bay has put together better seasons than those listed teams so far, something that hopefully will continue.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23