Packers Looking Like a Playoff Team After Rough Start to Season

The Green Bay Packers look completely out of sorts in a 38-3 blowout loss to the Saints in the opener. Despite a slew of injuries, the Packers rebounded for wins against the Lions, 49ers, Steelers, Bengals, and Bears. While it hasn’t always been pretty, the Packers sit at 5-1 in the NFL standings today, leading the NFC North.

Statistically speaking, the Packers are 15th in the NFL in scoring at 24 points per game. They have had more difficulty moving the ball than expected, ranked 23rd  in yards, 21st  in passing and 17th in rushing.  Defensively, the Packers are 5th in fewest yards, and 13th in fewest points allowed. 

Offensively, the team is led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown for 1436 yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions.  One problem has been the offensive line play that has allowed Rodgers to go down 13 times. When Rodgers has had time, he’s delivered the ball to Davante Adams, who has 46 receptions for 668 yards. Aaron Jones and Randall Cobb have combined for 32 catches and six touchdowns, but the passing game will be much more diverse when Marquez Valdes-Scantling returns.  On the ground, Aaron Jones has 385 yards and two touchdowns to a rushing attack that is averaging a mediocre 109 yards per game.

Defensively, the Packers have struggled getting a consistent pass rush without Za’Darius Smith. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark has three sacks, and linebacker Preston Smith has two of the team’s 14 sacks. Despite that lack of pressure, the Packers have allowed only 207 yards in the air and six interceptions, but have given up too many touchdown passes with 13.  The Packers are a +4 in turnover differential.

The special teams have generally been very solid. Kickoff returned Kylin Hill has returned nine for an average of over 20 yards per return. Punter Corey Bojorquez is averaging 47.4 per punt with a net of 42.2 yards and six of his 18 punts have been inside the 20. Despite a poor kicking performance against Cincinnati, Mason Crosby has hit 11-of-14 and 2-of-3 from 50 yards and out with a long of 54 yards.

Looking forward, the Packers go back home against Washington, and at Arizona to face the Cardinals. The schedule is difficult in November with road games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings with home games against the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.  Green Bay begins December with a bye week followed by games against the Bears at home, the Baltimore Ravens on the road, and the Cleveland Browns at home on Christmas day.  The season concludes with divisional rivals, Vikings and Lions at home and on the road.

The Packers have lost the NFC Championship each of the past two seasons. They need to stay healthy, but if they do, have a shot to go deep in the playoffs once again with the ultimate goal of raising the Lombardi Trophy.

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