The Packers were 2-3 entering Sunday’s game with the Texans and all of Wisconsin was befuddled.
“I thought this was supposed to be a cakewalk to the playoffs,” Packers fans said. “What the heck is wrong with my Packers?”
Week-to-week overreaction is common in the NFL. After a loss you think you’re team is worthless. They’re finished. Done. No good. Time to start preparing for the draft.
After a big win, there’s hope. You’re team is back on track. They finally played with some pride. Mistakes were corrected. Players stepped up. The machine got rolling again.
Truth is, it’s hard to judge teams on a week-to-week basis this early in the season, especially this season. I swear every team is 3-3 like the Packers now are. With the exception of the Falcons (maybe), no team really seems ready to step up and say, “Hey, we’re going to dominate the leage. Good luck trying to slow us down.”
For us Packers fans, our hopes should not have been dashed after losing to Indianapolis last week. And while we’re all wound up about beating the Texans on Sunday night, we shouldn’t be overly excited and think everything is roses back at 1265 Lombardi Ave., either.
The Packers entered Sunday night’s game against Houston with several questions lingering over them. For one night at least, they answered those questions.
Will they continue answering these questions with a resounding YES as the season progresses? We shall see.
For now, let’s see what those questions were and further examine how the Packers answered them on Sunday.
Q: Can the Packers play with emotion and attitude?
A: Yes. There hasn’t been a sense of urgency with the Packers all season. It seemed like the team almost adopted the mindset of its fans: Let’s just get this regular season out of the way so we can start the playoffs. After playing some tough defenses and choking away a game in Indianapoils, the playoffs suddenly became less than a sure thing. It’s unfortunate that it took all this adversity to get the Packers to show a little grit, but they showed it Sunday night, and the results were impressive.
Q: Can they overcome injuries to key players?
A: Yes. The entire defensive line stepped up to replace B.J. Raji. All of the WRs stepped up (finally) to replace Greg Jennings. Alex Green filled in admirably for Cedric Benson. Losing Nick Perry, D.J. Smith and Sam Shields during the game didn’t cause the defense to collapse. It’s frustrating that this type of determination and effort wasn’t on display during the second half in Indianapolis, but it was there all night on Sunday.
Q: Can the WRs make plays without Greg Jennings?
A: Yes. Honorable mention goes to the offensive line, but the WRs had probably been the most frustrating aspect of the Packers seaon heading into Sunday. Where were the big plays? Why couldn’t anybody get open? What happend to getting big yards after the catch? Why can’t you catch the damn ball?! James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson all went off against Houston, and it was scary good. My word, was it impressive. This unit still needs to clean up the drops, but Sunday was a major step in the right direction.
Q: Can they still run the ball without Cedric Benson?
A: Yes. I’ve always been lukewarm on Benson. Don’t get me wrong, he was fine for the Packers, but he wasn’t a game-changer. Not even close. There’s no reason Alex Green can’t give what Benson gave, and also provide much more explosion and big-play ability as a bonus. Pass protection was a question for Green, but he looked fine on Sunday. I’m looking forward to seeing Green evolve with this offense. If they incorporate him in to the passing game with screens and check downs, I have high hopes for this kid from Hawaii.
Q: What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?
A: Not a damn thing. Shhhhh……