The Pack Will Come Out Swinging This Weekend
It’s easy to panic, when you are 1-2 going into week 5, with a plethora of injuries and playing a team coming off a big win. It’s also easy to point fingers left right and center at the quarterback when his team isn’t winning consistently, and he isn’t quite at his best too. But this weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions is set to heal all wounds, and calm the naysayers, as Aaron Rodgers and the Pack look to win their first divisional game of the year.
Week’s 3 loss to the Bengals was a heartbreaker, with a W left well and truly on the field in the fourth quarter. Rodgers didn’t look like Rodgers, Jermichael Finley went out concussed and Franklin stepped in admirably, but fumbled in costly fashion. But the moral of the story here is that the Packer teams in recent years rarely get dis-heartened after losing.
Astonishingly, the last time the A-Rod’s Green and Gold lost two games in a row was December 19th 2010 – when the Packers lost to the Patriots in Foxboro 31-27 with a young Matt Flynn starting in place of Aaron. The Packers also went to Dallas and won a Superbowl that year, so….
The Packers also tend to dominate coming off a loss too. Since the 2009 season, the Packers have won by more than seven points all but three times after losing the preivous week – with more than half the games ending up as routs with a winning margin equal to or greater than 14 points.
Sunday’s game is also at Lambeau Field, a place where the Lions tend to struggle – in fact, they have lost their last 22 games in Green Bay with Brett Favre beating Detroit 17 times and Rodgers contributing a further 5. Who know’s why visiting teams become a shell of themselves when playing in the ‘Tundra? Nobody, that’s why the Packers keep on rolling at home each year, serving up beating after beating in front of the now 80,000 strong group of uber-passionate Wisconsinites eight plus times a season.
In terms of injuries, Green Bay look to be more healthy coming into the weekend’s game too, with Morgan Burnett, Jermichael Finely, Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin and Clay Matthews all but set to play again this week. As long as the running game stays as solid as it has been, and our group of backs don’t get hurt, it should give Rodgers that bit of breathing room he needs so desperately at the moment in the pocket. David Bakhtiari also needs to step up of course….
Burnett’s dreadlock-less return is particularly welcome in this case, bolstering the struggling secondary which has a tendency to collapse in the second half of games. He’s is one of the better safeties in the league, who didn’t miss a defensive snap all last year. With him back playing the majority of downs, all eyes turn to the injured Casey Hayward, who now becomes the final piece to the secondary puzzle which Dom Capers has yet to fully solve.
The Lions are however 3-1 going into this week. This portrays the Michigan based franchise as a tougher out than they actually are however, their three wins so far have been against the woeful Minnesota Vikings who can’t win outside of London, the Washington Redskins who can’t win full-stop and the Chicago Bears who are as much of an enigma week to week as ever.
Meanwhile the Packers are 1-2 and have only beaten the ‘Skins this year, but they have on the other hand have led in the fourth quarter in each game and had to face two teams with in my eyes at least, legitimate Superbowl aspirations (49ers and Bengals).
Sure divisional games are always difficult, especially in the NFC North recently. The Lions are not the cupcake opponent they once were either, *cough* 0 – 16 *cough*. But don’t panic this week Packer fans, it’s too early. History tells us that the Packers are more than likely to go back to playing .500 football by Sunday night, and that losing two games before week six isn’t quite suck-for-Luck territory.
It’s next week that’s panic worthy, if Matthew Stafford and his crew cruise into Lambeau this Sunday and leave with a win.