If you were to tell the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago that they’d be 2-1 through three weeks despite averaging a measly 16 points per game, Aaron Rodgers and company would surely happily take it.
The Packers mustered only 14 points against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s highly-anticipated Week 3 battle. Despite being shut out entirely in the second half, Green Bay narrowly escaped with a 14-12 win over their Kryptonite thanks to a grade-A effort from Joe Barry’s defense.
Rodgers, the reigning MVP, has completed 72.3 percent of his pass attempts but only has 684 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s averaging 228 passing yards per game, which marks the lowest in his career as the Packers’ starting QB.
The Green Bay offense will try to get back on track when they host Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots in Week 4 (4:25 p.m. EST) at Lambeau Field this Sunday. The Patriots are unlikely to have starting quarterback Mac Jones, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the team’s Week 3 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The hope is that The Bay State will launch legal mobile/online sports betting in the final quarter of 2022 or early 2023. When that happens, sports fans in the state will be able to place wagers through the Caesars sportsbook Massachusetts that will presumably offer new customers a risk-free wager upon signing up.
New England is uncharacteristically struggling at both ends of the ball. They’re 25th in scoring offense (16.7 points per game) and 22d in scoring defense (23.7 points allowed per game). With Jones likely out for Sunday’s visit to Lambeau Field, the task of getting back to .500 becomes that much tougher.
Slow Starts Are Nothing New For the Packers
Don’t forget that Rodgers memorably told Packers fans to “R-E-L-A-X” following the team’s 1-2 start in 2014. Green Bay went 11-2 the rest of the way. Rodgers won MVP and the team was an onside kick recovery away from going to the Super Bowl.
The 2016 Packers endured a four-game losing streak and found themselves sitting at 4-6 with six weeks to go. They finished the season on a six-game winning streak to claim the NFC North and reached the NFC Championship Game, where they fell to the Atlanta Falcons.
Last year, the Packers fell 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. The Packers finished as the NFC’s top seed with a 13-4 record, and Rodgers went on to claim his second consecutive MVP award.
And even if it’s not pretty, the fact is the Packers are 2-1 through three weeks. An ugly Week 1 road loss to the Minnesota Vikings was followed up by a convincing home win against the Chicago Bears, and then a statement road win over the powerhouse Buccaneers.
So now’s a good time for Packers fans to remember Rodgers’ “R-E-L-A-X” message. History tells us the offense will only get better as the season goes on.
Rodgers Needs Time To Gel With New-Look Receivers
Many expected the Packers offense to struggle without All-Pro wideout Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. Rodgers also lost his reliable WR2 in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, as the deep threat specialist signed a three-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs worth $30 million.
With rookie Christian Watson and veteran speedster Sammy Watkins missing time in the early going, first-year wideout Romeo Doubs has been Rodgers’ go-to receiver (14 catches, 137 yards and one touchdown) through three weeks.
Doubs led all Packers in Sunday’s Week 3 win against the Buccaneers in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (73). He also caught his first career touchdown in the first quarter on a crucial 3rd-and-5 play.
With Watson and Watkins already missing some action, it could be a while until we see Green Bay’s offense at full strength. As great as Rodgers is, it’s tough to put up a lot of points throughout the course of a full season when you’re dealing with a rebuilt receiving core which no longer features a player of Adams’ caliber.
As time progresses, so will the Green Bay offense. For now, Matt LaFleur and company can take comfort in knowing that the lights-out defense and the prolific rushing duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon are more than capable of leading the way.
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