The Green Bay Packers went into Los Angeles last week and played like a junior varsity football team facing a professional football team. They couldn’t run the ball effectively, they couldn’t tackle, and the only hope they had was the way their defense bent but didn’t break. The Packers need to win those games because as everyone knows, its a week to week season.
“It was a slice of humble pie” as Aaron Rodgers put it.
As it looked like the Packers were prepared to knock out the Chargers with a refreshed one-two punch in Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, it was the exact opposite.
In a season that saw Aaron Jones explode both as a runner and pass-catcher, he rushed for just 30 yards.
The expectations for Davante Adams remained all the same, coming off of a turf toe injury, it seemed like Aaron Rodgers had his All-Pro receiver back.
That wasn’t the case either. Adams had 7 receptions for just 41 yards.
An abysmal performance by the offense caused the Packers to leave with just 11 points on the board which came in garbage time.
If the Packers are going to make a comeback, they are going to have to flush this one down the toilet and move onto the next one.
In another world, the Carolina Panthers are excelling into a solid contender in the NFC as a whole- let alone the NFC South.
Earlier this week, Panthers’ longtime quarterback Cam Newton was placed on Injured Reserve with a foot injury, something that the Panthers and their medical staff weren’t able to solve. Taking over was second-year quarterback Kyle Allen. Allen, who has only lost one game this season (against the top team in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers), comes into Green Bay with a new attitude.
The Carolina Panthers could be his team. Cam Newton may have played his last snap as a Panther. If the Panthers cut Cam Newton, they are able to save around $17 million. Besides, if Allen keeps playing the way he has been playing, the Panthers have no reason to look elsewhere for a QB. This is Allen’s prove-it moment, it is going to be interesting to see how he plays against the Packers on Sunday.
Here are 3 things the Packers have to do to get back on track and beat the Panthers on Sunday:
- Stop Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is a man amongst boys out on the football field. He is more than just a runner, he is a fast, agile, pass-catcher as well. I would expect the Panthers to use him much of the time on offense, instead of looking for other players such as DJ Moore, who currently leads the Panthers in receiving yards with 564. The Packers’ run defense has been horrid this season, giving up an average of 128 yards per game on the ground, according to NFL.com. McCaffrey, who has rushed for an average of 110 yards per game in 2019 according to Pro Football Reference, has an opportunity to eat the Packers’ run defense alive. The Packers will need to take care of the A gap in the middle of the line, as the inside run lanes have been a weak point for the Packers so far this season. If the Packers can hold McCaffrey to under 100 total yards for the afternoon, they will surely come out with a victory.
- Make running a priority, and be successful in doing so. If the Packers can run the ball, as they have been able to do for most of this season, they will flow comfortably in this offense. Matt LaFleur loves to use different modes of attack using the run game, and lots of play-action to set up the pass. You can’t have a successful nor effective play-action game if the run game isn’t working first. The run game feeds to everything else. Get the defense thinking run-first, and it opens up passing lanes for Aaron Rodgers. Do Packers fans want to see Davante Adams become the Davante Adams as we know him? The Packers better run the ball first, because that is where it starts.
- Protect Aaron Rodgers. The Los Angeles Charges hardly blitzed the Packers on Sunday, and yet they were able to sack him 3 times. The formula for taking down the Packers is to put pressure on Rodgers using a minimal amount of defensive players while allowing a Nickel or Dime Package to cover every passing lane. It doesn’t help either, that the Packers hardly have one consistent weapon outside of Davante Adams. Jimmy Graham isn’t playing to the level everyone expects him to, and that shows up on the stat sheet. If the Packers can consistently protect Aaron Rodgers, he’ll play like himself and pick apart this Panthers defense. If not, the Panthers’ defense is going to have a field day, and the Packers go into the bye week 7-3.