Packers at 2-3: Looking ahead at the rest of the season

Rodgers and the offense have time to right their wrongs.
Rodgers and the offense have time to right their wrongs.
Rodgers and the offense have time to right their wrongs.

Looking at the schedule before the season, I thought the Packers would be 5-0 at this point. Instead, the team sits at 2-3 with a tough matchup next week against the undefeated Houston Texans.

Through five games, the offense has yet to score 30 points in a single game, while the defense has been up-and-mostly down. Sure, there have been some bright spots, but the outlook for the rest of the season looks cloudy at 2-3.

And immediately following the Packers’ unexpected loss to the Colts on Sunday, much of Packer Nation reached for the panic button. There’s certainly reason for frustration after blowing a 21-3 halftime lead, but the Packers have time to right their wrongs.

The season is still young, Packers fans. Back off that cliff, don’t jump just yet.

1) There were plenty of positives from the first half vs. Indianapolis.

It’s a distant memory after an atrocious performance in the second half, but the Packers’ first half against the Colts was their best 30 minutes of football of the season. Overall, the team looked a lot like the 2011 team that went 15-1.

Aaron Rodgers was sharp, the receivers (for the most part) caught the ball, and the defense held the Colts to just three points.

The offense consistently sliced through the Colts defense, with John Kuhn, James Jones and Randall Cobb each finding the endzone. And defensive end Mike Neal made his presence felt early, sacking Andrew Luck in his return from a four-game suspension.

Watch the first 30 minutes of the game, and your stance on the current state of the Packers will be pretty optimistic. Just make sure you don’t watch the second half.

2) An (unexpected) win next week at Houston would mask this loss.

Before the season, I predicted the Packers to go 13-3. One of the three games I predicted them to lose was week six at Houston. The Texans boast one of the strongest defenses in the NFL, as well as perhaps the most balanced offense in football.

Surely, the Texans will be favored next week on Sunday Night. But if the Packers are able to pull off the upset, it could very well be the turning point of the season.

One thing working in the Packers’ favor is that the Texans will be playing on short rest. Houston plays Monday night against the New York Jets, before hosting the Packers next Sunday.

At this point of the season, the Texans have been better than the Packers. Frankly, it hasn’t even been close.

But that doesn’t mean the Packers can’t win next Sunday if they play a complete football game. After all, nobody gave the Colts a chance this week against the Packers. In the NFL, anything can happen on any given Sunday.

3) If a couple plays go differently, the Packers are sitting at 4-1.

I know, I know. “Coulda, shoulda, woulda.”

But while you are what your record says you are, it’s important to take a closer look at how a team got to where they are.

The Packers were just flat out beaten by the 49ers in week one. San Francisco dominated the game in every aspect. By any stretch of the imagination, the Packers did not deserve the win on opening weekend.

But the Packers’ second loss was a much different–and all too often repeated–story. We all know what happened. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed a pass to Packers safety M.D. Jennings for the win as time expired. So, there’s one loss that wasn’t.

And then we get to this week’s loss to the Colts. Leading 21-3 at halftime, this game looked like it was going to be a blowout … and then the second half happened. There’s plenty of blame to go around for this disappointing loss, but Packers kicker Mason Crosby certainly deserves his fair share.

Not only did Crosby severely shank a potential game-tying field goal with :08 seconds remaining, but he also missed his other attempt earlier in the game. If Crosby hits just one of his two attempts, the Packers force overtime.

So even though the Packers played about as poorly as they possibly can, they were one kick away from extending the game into overtime.

4) With a loss next week, the Packers should still be 5-4 at their bye.

So let’s assume the Packers lose next week at Houston and fall to 2-4.

They’ll then travel to St. Louis to play the Rams, before hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals at home. Sure, the Packers will be playing against some good defenses during that three-game stretch, but they should win all three games.

So there you have it, for the first time of the season, the Packers should be over .500 at their week ten bye week. Finally.

If they improve to 5-4 on the season, the Packers will still face a tough road to the postseason.

Packers schedule following the bye week:

11/18: at Detroit Lions

11/25: at New York Giants

12/2: vs. Minnesota Vikings

12/9 vs. Detroit Lions

12/16 at Chicago Bears

12/23 vs. Tennessee Titans

12/30 at Minnesota Vikings

If the Packers are 5-4 at their bye week, they’ll likely have to go 5-2 over their final seven teams to crack the postseason.

Five of their final seven games are against division rivals, but by then, the Packers may have finally corrected their woes on both sides of the ball. Packers fans certainly hope that’s the case.

So far, the 2012 Packers have some striking similarties to the 2010 team that won the Super Bowl. They’ve battled some key injuries, though still not nearly as many as in 2010, while stumbling out of the gates to a sub-.500 record.

But the NFL season is just five weeks old. Packers fans need to take a step back away from the cliff.

Don’t jump. Breathe. And let the season play out.


Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


13 thoughts on “Packers at 2-3: Looking ahead at the rest of the season

  1. “But if the Packers are able to pull off the upset”…….

    They do…who here isn’t ‘UPSET’ every week.

  2. In 2009, we could say the offensive line was the issue. If Clifton would just stay healthy, and if he had a right tackle, the ship would steer correctly again.

    In 2010, we could say that the Packers didn’t have a run game. If Ryan Grant had just stayed healthy, we would have won at least another 3 games.

    In 2011, we could say that we didn’t have a defense. If we just had one piece there (Cullen Jenkins) and one more there(Nick Collins), then the problem would be fixed.

    In 2012, the whole team, Offense Defense Special Teams and Coaching, has just been completely inconsistent. There’s not one player, position, or portion of the team that has been under-performing throughout the season, thus we can’t blame what happened on that one particular spot like we have been able to in the past. This entire team just straight has to get it’s rear in gear, and FOCUS.

    Also, McCarthy needs to stop playing it safe. Why is Driver on the field when we have Randall Cobb? Why won’t he go for short gains like Drew Brees instead of always having Rodgers chuck it down-field? It’s like he’s only comfortable in working with what he’s used for so long, and simply will not change his methods unless he absolutely has to.

    It’s not that I’m upset over last week, it’s that I’m upset that we have seen this scenario play itself over and over again, but McCarthy refuses to budge. What happened in Indianapolis will probably happen again this very season. Maybe even a couple of times this season!

    When was the last time we saw Rodgers throw the ball like 50 times for 450 yards? It simply won’t happen because McCarthy keeps holding back!!! Just…


    1. Don’t know how much consolation this is, but I think the special teams has been wonderful this year. Tim Masthay has been a godsend and has been an underappreciated aspect of this team, as have the coverage teams overall (have 6th best punt return average). Maybe you don’t take much consolation in punting/kicking success, but remember how bad the Kapinos crew was.

      And if you think Driver is getting much playing time you’re watching a different game than I am.

      My temperament is to be even-keeled, so I’m not going to react to early season hysteria. Remember the Giants lost to a dreadful Seattle team last year and proceeded to win the Super Bowl. They aren’t playing their best right now, but I wouldn’t want them to. I want this team hungry toward the end of the season, and if it takes a losing record to light a fire under them so be it.

      1. In terms of Driver playing in front of Cobb, I was referring to last year. Cobb showed in the very first game of his career that he was talented, but Driver was still chosen over him. Also, Cobb isn’t asked to do the things that Driver has been asked to do this year. He’s mostly used in the backfield.

        Like I said, it’s not that anyone has played consistently bad, it’s that everyone has been inconsistent. Yes, the punting has been awesome, but don’t count on Crosby to make a field goal when it matters most. That my friend is an “inconsistent special teams”.

  3. Rodgers and the O-Line deserve equal credit for the bad sart. First O- linenot protecting him – too many hurries and sacks which kill drives. Also Rodgers must be using too much stickum on his hands as he is holding the ball way too long – Can’t blame that on O-line. If the play isn’t there – don’t force it.

    Young guys need to step up – Alex Green this season with Benson out. Wrs also have extra load on them with Jennings out – Too many drops. If inley continues too have hands of stone – bench him! Maybe he can concentrate better from there thn on the field.
    OK I’m done venting – I’ll be watching my Tigers beat Oakland tonight!

  4. I agree with chad. Every group on this taking a turn at bad play. All 5 members on the O line are taking a turn with bad pass and run blocking . The D line and LBs are inconsistent. The DBs are taking turns getting burnt , Arod has had his bad moments, the recievers are not getting open and dropping balls and the coaches are not correcting anything. Football is the ultimate team sport. Everbody has to do thier job on every play. If 10 guys do thier job and one guy screws up, its prob going to be a bad play. The biggest problem on this team is execution. They just are not executing as a team consistently. Everyone is at fault, players and coaches!

  5. While I’m not on the cliff, I really see no reason to think this team will somehow turn it all around and start playing great football. It’s gonna take great, not good, to salvage this season. They havent played well since KC last season, except for the Chicago games.

  6. For me, obviously McCarthy should’ve seen by now, best drives have had run game success from Benson–it’s a FACT from ESPN stats–Packers are 29-3 when run game is used and Packers throw ball less than 70%–this is NFL, not Arena football and running games work. Defenses are jamming Pack WR’s, disrupting timing, giving their D-line more time for pressure, hits and sacks on Rodgers. They dare McCarthy to run the ball and he falls right into the trap. Dom Capers defense plays too soft, never jams receivers and is giving up huge yardage again without sacks and QB knockdowns–it’s REPLAY ’11 season again. GB defense needs more man to man physical play jamming WR’s and hitting RB’s, TE’s coming into pass lanes even if it means taking a penalty every now and then. HIT SOMEBODY!!

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