Week 1’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings certainly wasn’t ideal for the Green Bay Packers. However, the NFL world moves fast for better or for worse. Now, it’s time to turn the page and begin looking forward to Sunday night’s matchup against another divisional rival. This time around, the Packers should be expecting a rebound performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 2.
No team in the NFL has been better at bouncing back after a loss than the Green Bay Packers under head coach Matt LaFleur. LaFleur’s team is a perfect 9-0 following a loss in the regular season and the Packers have never lost back-to-back games under his leadership. That alone should bring some optimism to Packers fans.
After looking back on Week 1’s loss to the Vikings, every mistake made seems fixable. The drops and lack of trust in the passing game had to have been an area of focus throughout practice this week. Another issue that plagued the Packers’ offense on Sunday was the protection up-front. LaFleur said on Wednesday that the starting offensive line will be looked at game to game while hinting at a potential starting opportunity for rookie Zach Tom.
Consistency was another area of concern for the Packers’ offense. On Sunday, the Packers were 3/9 on third down and 0/2 on fourth down. Those missed opportunities are drive killers for the offense. One thing the Packers need to do more consistently on Sunday night is relying more on the run game, which of course is hindered if the team gets down early in the game. While speaking with the media on Tuesday, LaFleur addressed this issue noting that, “any time Aaron Jones comes out of the game with eight touches, that’s not good enough.”
In the passing game, expect the consistency and confidence to be fixed in front of the home crowd. The player to keep an eye on this Sunday will be rookie wide receiver, Christian Watson. Watson, who dropped a sure-fire touchdown on the first play against the Vikings, looked stellar running his routes and getting open the entire game. If Aaron Rodgers can get Watson involved early, his confidence can skyrocket while becoming a viable downfield weapon for this team. Another player to keep an eye on will be Randall Cobb, who has famously been known as the “Bear Killer” amongst Packers fans.
On the defensive side of the ball, the mistakes are clear. This was praised to be one of the best defenses in the entire league. They looked nowhere close to that level on Sunday. Between miscommunications in the secondary leading to big plays and a lack of a pass rush against the quarterback, things need to be fixed.
Good news for the Packers, that’s likely going to be the worst defensive outing the Packers will have all season. The unit is ripe with the talent and leadership needed to get them back on track. Expect the defensive line to have an improved game against the Bears’ suspect offensive line.
The main thing going the Packers’ way on Sunday night in terms of bouncing back will hopefully be getting healthy. In Week 1, the Packers were without both starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins along with their number one wide receiver Allen Lazard.
All three players returned to practice on Wednesday which is a great sight to see at the start of the week. Lazard and Jenkins were both also present at practice on Thursday, with LaFleur calling Bakhtiari’s absence just a “day off.” Just getting these three players back on the field will go a long way towards fixing the majority of the errors that occurred on offense last week. However, Bakhtiari might end up being a long-shot to play yet again.
Sunday Night Football should live up to the hype and the drama. Whether the story is a bounce-back game for the Packers or a second straight win to open the season for the Chicago Bears, this game will add another moment to an all-time great rivalry. For the Packers, Rodgers has now won six straight starts against the Bears including winning 10 of his last 11 games against Chicago. Last October against the Bears, Rodgers stunned the Chicago crowd by yelling “I own you! I still own you!” following a game-sealing touchdown. Rodgers couldn’t be more correct in his claims and Packers fans should expect to see similar energy from their quarterback on Sunday night.——————
Kole Noble is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in North Carolina and is a huge NFL Draft nut. You can follow him on twitter at @SlawSportsShow.