Talk about Sunday scaries.
The Green Bay Packers had their rear ends as solidly kicked as a football team can be against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not a single aspect of the team looked like the Super Bowl contender we saw in previous weeks. But there is no point in living in the past. The Packers have a great opportunity to bounce back against the free-falling Houston Texans this Sunday and show the world how they bounce back from adversity.
The Texans were considered a belle of the ball in the AFC going into the season as star quarterback Deshaun Watson signed a big extension. Unfortunately, former head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien set the team back significantly through poor coaching and asinine personnel choices. Trading their best skill position player in DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts especially hurt the team. While the team has a fantastic quarterback, it needs a lot of work on both sides of the field, and they lack first- and second-round picks, so the team has an uphill battle to right itself over the next few seasons.
Interim head coach Romeo Crennel has done the best he can considering the circumstances, and Watson is playing Superman to keep the team in contention, but the Packers have the opportunity to take advantage of the weakened Texans and put the dagger in their season.
The Texans defense is squarely towards the bottom of the NFL, a refreshing breath of fresh air after the Packers offense stalled out against the Bucs’ tough, physical defenders. Expect Rodgers to bounce back and give Davante Adams the return to form we expected this last week.
After a tough stretch of early games, the Texans offense is improving, and Watson is playing at the high level we expected. He almost led Houston to a comeback win against the dominant Tennessee Titans. But his supporting cast is less than ideal without Hopkins. Should Kevin King return, he and Jaire Alexander should be able to handle Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks.
Running back David Johnson, brought to the team in the questionable Hopkins trade, has looked better than he had in his past few seasons, but isn’t the same star he was five years ago. The Packers maligned run defense has actually been solid enough in the past few weeks where Johnson shouldn’t be a massive threat.
Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur both claimed a bad week of practice after the bye week and had a similarly terrible post-bye game last season. Expect them to get back on track this week. Someones a good rear-kicking is the wake-up call a team needs to shore its weaknesses and to simmer down some cockiness. The Packers need some of their star defensive players to play to the level we expect from them, and this week will provide a Texas-big opportunity to get right.
The next stretch of Packer games features a cornucopia of winnable games to get hot again. That starts this week in Texas.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.