QUICK HIT: Packers Face ‘Must Win’
Yes, I know. On the surface, it’s ridiculous to talk about a ‘must win’ situation only 3 games into the Packers season; especially since they already have a win while many other teams are 0-2. In fact, if the Packers hadn’t raised expectations with their promising play in the pre-season, this might be just another early season game. But a number of factors are converging here that require the Packers to come away with a ‘W’ today if they hope to challenge for a playoff spot in 2009.
First, we’re all overly familiar with the trials that Green Bay has faced so far. Even in the opening win over the Bears, they struggled with many aspects of the game that were only glossed over because of Chicago’s carelessness. The Packers need to establish themselves on both sides of the ball to realize their potential. The offensive line has to create some running room for Ryan Grant in order to negate the pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and allow the passing game to flourish. The defensive line must hold the point of attack so the linebackers and secondary are free to make plays.
Secondly, the schedule gets much tougher from here. Let’s face it; despite the protestations of their GM, the St. Louis Rams are currently among the dregs of the NFL. The way Cedric Benson ran over the Pack last week doesn’t bode well for them as they face Steven Jackson today. If they can’t find a way to control the line of scrimmage, Jackson can do some damage against them.
Bottom line: The Packers need a convincing, if not a blow-out win against the Rams simply to stop the bleeding. The alternative is unacceptable. If they can’t gain any traction against one of the league’s worst teams, their prospects for the rest of the season are greatly diminished. A win today is imperative as they head into the tougher portion of their schedule. The season could hang in the balance.