The NFL just put Week 5 to bed.
So what does that mean for the Packers?
Many folks who thought that the season was swirling down the drain after losing two of three to start the year should be feeling pretty good right about now.
And the reason is because I really don’t see a dominant team in the league. Sure, the Eagles and Cowboys sit atop the NFC East at 4-1 but Philly has been getting by with smoke and mirrors without LeSean McCoy and everyone is just waiting for Dallas to come back down to earth.
Arizona and Cincinnati were that last two unbeatens before both teams got its doors blown off at Denver and at New England.
Amazingly, the best three teams right now are the Seahawks, Chargers and Broncos. When Seattle is able to get Russell Wilson in space, they can beat anybody. And San Diego doesn’t face Denver until Oct. 23, which will be the ultimate litmus test for both clubs.
So the Packers are just fine. Getting two of three in the first spin through the NFC North was important. Especially after getting embarrassed at Ford Field, the Packers have rallied and are looking strong. They could’ve hung 50 easily on Minnesota but Aaron Rodgers — who was outdone in yardage by Christian Ponder 222-156 — didn’t play the final quarter.
The biggest reason the Packers are back on track is because they have a plus-6 turnover differential. This defense surprisingly has seven picks. And it’s not just the secondary either. Julius Peppers — who showed off his quickness by becoming the first defensive player to score a touchdown this season — Clay Matthews and Jamari Lattimore are guys that are taking advantage of turnovers.
Add in Eddie Lacy’s 2014 reboot and the Packers are back. Now, I’m not saying they are one of the best teams yet, but the wins at Chicago and at home vs. Minnesota were near flawless.
But that’s not to say this team doesn’t still have questions. Things like a capable tight end to step up. Andrew Quarless only has one more target than Lacy and they have the same number of receptions.
And the other thing that’s crucial is keeping Rodgers upright. He’s been sacked 12 times, which is a pace of 38. Since Bryan Bulaga is back to anchor the right side of the line and with Corey Linsley playing far better than a rookie, Rodgers looks to be in good hands.
This year has been so upside down so far, just look at the Saints. That was my team to win the Super Bowl and they’re clinging to a 2-3 record, a mark that could easily be 1-4.
And in true NFC North fashion, the Lions fell apart at home giving Detroit a first place tie with the Packers.
The division is the Packers for the taking. They have the best quarterback and a secondary that is getting better every week. And don’t forget about a coach that took the predictability muzzle off the passing game, allowing Jordy Nelson to run open and free.
The Packers have gotten better since the season opener, but in the NFL, championships are won when a team peaks in December. Just ask the Super Bowl XLV champs.
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn
9 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Despite Packers’ early struggles, NFL is wide open”
” Now, I’m not saying they are one of the best teams yet, but the wins at Chicago and at home vs. Minnesota were near flawless.”
How close can we really be to being one of the best if it took a ‘near flawless’ (seriously..LOL) play to beat either.
Near flawless must have a broad scope as to definition. 🙂
Glad to get the wins but I am still not sold on this team, particularly on defense. We have a very suspect D-line, which can get overpowered by good O-lines. I doubt that we would be singing such high praise if our last game was against the 49ers. The Vikings with a 3rd string QB and no AP was a below average opponent. If the young D-line doesn’t keep improving we can’t look to our ILB to pick up the slack. I do like the way our secondary is coming together. It may be the true strength of the defense.
I am still waiting for the offense to play a full and dominant game. Our 3rd down conversions and 3 and outs against Minnesota were not impressive. The win was as much or more with our defense taking advantage of the Vikings. Let’s see this offense beat up a Detroit or Cincy type of defense. Thankfully, as Cory points out, parity is ruling the season so far. We still have a ways to go.
Mr. Jennerjohn likes to use superlatives even when they are not true or more measured terms would be appropriate. Clearly GB’s performance against Chicago was far from flawless.
If the Packers can continue to play as a unit…by this I mean both sides show up to play! then and only then will I be sold that this team has a shot at the title again this year.
Seattle is, by far, the best team in the NFC. It’s kind of hard to figure out where the Packers fit in the mix. They’ve looked really great the past couple of weeks, but I don’t want to get too excited about them crushing bad teams. I think we’ll know a lot more about this Packers team after they play the Panthers in a couple weeks.
Obviously the concern is still the young DL and ILBs. Assuming health, those units HAVE to step up for us to be considered a true title contender. If not, another NFCN title and 1st round playoff exit await.
If we can get MM’s testes to fully descend we have a shot at the division. It will take TT’s single testicle to descend before we win a playoff game. IMO
Eddie Lacey is crucial to the Packers. OL don’t like to pass block 74 plays in a row. If Lacey keeps his game going the OL has it easier, the WR’s and TE’s have it easier, number 12 has it easier and the opponents defensive coordinator has a nightmare on his hands.
If you watched the Bronco game against Arizona, Manning was picked off twice in the first half and the Broncos refused to run as the announcers were saying what a great run defense Arizona had. In the 2nd half Coach Fox apparently said screw it and began to run and Manning blew the game open.
A running attack keeps the Defense honest.
I disagree with folks who think A Rodgers can just win on his arm. It makes no sense.
We just added a DE to the practice squad – Joe Kruger 6’6” 290 from San Diego.
One more opening.
Comments are closed.