Well, just one full week without Aaron Rodgers and we can already say, “We would’ve won that if we had Aaron Rodgers.” Then again, that isn’t all that surprising when 12 kept the team playing above it’s talent level for so long. That isn’t to say they are terrible now, but they certainly aren’t what they were. However, with reports that Aaron Rodgers could come off of IR and play in as few as eight weeks, hope may not yet be lost.
Brett Hundley’s stat line was certainly uninspiring. 12 for 25 passing for 87 yards and an interception. He added 44 yards and a touchdown on three scrambles, but that wasn’t nearly enough to save the day. In the end though, this seems a much larger reflection of play calling than poor performance. The Packers seemingly entered with a “don’t let Brett cost us the game” mindset, and he didn’t. That being said, they also didn’t appear ready to give Brett a chance to win it, either. Hundley hardly was given the opportunities to throw downfield, and, when he did throw deep, it was as if the entire New Orleans defense knew exactly what was coming.
The Packers don’t win off of sleight of hand or ingenious play calling. They win off of out executing their opponents and having superior technique. That’s all well and good when you have Aaron Rodgers throwing the football. But, when you don’t, you need to keep the defense on their toes, at least a little. One would think the incredible rushing performance of Aaron Jones (131 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries) would have created options for Green Bay. Instead, they just put themselves in 3rd and long situations and tried to win the game by having the defense beat Drew Brees. News flash, Drew Brees and the Saints offense will win that battle nine times out of 10.
With a bye week in Week 8 (thank God), Green Bay has some time to look at things and evaluate how to proceed. Hundley finally has decent film of himself which he can use to improve his game, and the team can see what did (perhaps I should say did not) work. As a fan, don’t look for the team to thrive under Hundley. That isn’t the goal. All they need to do is survive.
If Aaron can play after eight weeks, that means the Packers have six more games to play before he gets back. If they can win half, giving them a 7-6 record with three games to go, they’ll have a chance at the playoffs. If they make the playoffs with Rodgers back, the Super Bowl aspirations aren’t yet dead.
The next six games are as follows; vs Detroit, at Chicago, vs Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, vs Tampa Bay, at Cleveland. The games against Chicago, Baltimore, and Cleveland are all very winnable. The team will have its hands full against Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. Three wins, that’s all they need. Of course, their is no way to guarantee that a end of year record of 10-6 will earn a playoff spot, but recent history says it will be.
Keep those chins up, Packer fans, the team may yet survive this stretch.