Cory’s Corner: A Packers win isn’t a statement or a signature

I hate the term “statement game.” Especially in November.

But let’s face it, the Packers haven’t looked overly impressive so far. They were outplayed by the hapless 2-8 Jets at home but still managed to win and they needed last-second fireworks to beat a 6-4 Dolphins team.

That Miami win is easily the best win on the Packers’ resume right now.

But unlike the college game, resumes don’t matter in the NFL. There is no committee that selects the playoff field. It all comes down to a couple things: wins and losses.

Most people are saying that Sunday’s Eagles-Packers game is a huge statement game. Would it give a struggling run defense confidence if it were able to muzzle one of the most dynamic offenses in the league? Most definitely it would.

But this game is important for another reason — to keep pace with the Lions. Detroit owns a one-game lead in the NFC North and plays four of its last seven on the road — including the season finale at Lambeau Field.

We haven’t seen the best from the Packers yet. Despite demolishing Chicago 55-14 last week, Green Bay still hasn’t fired on all cylinders. Moving Clay Matthews to inside linebacker is important. It protects the belly of the defense that opponents have been attacking all season and it also gives him a quicker lane to get to the quarterback and disrupt the passing game.

But the most important reason for moving Matthews is because it masks A.J. Hawk’s inefficiencies. Hawk gets lauded for his leadership skills but he has lacked juice this year and it’s even more pronounced on running plays. And with Matthews’ move inside, the X-factor is now Nick Perry. The 2012 first rounder hasn’t been dynamic but now Green Bay needs him to protect the edge.

The Packers need Sunday’s game. But it’s not because they need to make a statement or get a signature win. Granted, the Eagles have a shiny 7-2 record and with a win that would put them in sole possession of first place in the top-heavy NFC East.

But nobody knows if Mark Sanchez 2.0 will be able to carry the baton over the finish line. He looked pedestrian in a 31-21 win at Houston and he looked pretty confident in a 45-21 win vs. Carolina. He has started two games this year — the first time he has started a game since 2012 when he logged a 6-9 record as a Jet.

The reason Sanchez 2.0 is doing better is because Shonn Greene and Jeremy Kerley cannot hold a candle to LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin. But Sanchez is a career 55 percent passer, meaning this year’s 59 percent clip will slowly dip back to the mean.

And then there’s Aaron Rodgers. He has bailed out a team by putting up MVP numbers while it waits for its running game to get warmed up. Eddie Lacy has tallied just one century mark rushing game. And he only has 201 more rushing yards than receiving yards on a team with two of the NFL’s best wideouts.

Statement games happen in January in a win or go home scenario. It’s way to0 early to consider this a statement game or a must-win. If Adrian Peterson is allowed to come back to the Vikings, would that make the Nov. 23 visit to the Twin Cities another statement game?

Of course that doesn’t mean Sunday’s game is not important. Because the Packers cannot afford too many more losses without losing some of their grip on a potential fourth-straight division crown.









Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


13 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: A Packers win isn’t a statement or a signature

  1. Lacy’s averaging 13.2 carries a game this year, last year he averaged 18.9 carries a game. He averages 4.0 YPC this year, last year 4.1. Obviously with the weather turning, Lacy should see that number go up. Personally I’d like to see it start this week. Watching Rodgers and Company go 97 yards in 5 plays is fun, but so are 15 play, 80 yard drives that eat up the clock, especially if it keeps the Eagles offense on the sideline. Lot’s of comments were made this past week about Sanchez’s 54% completion rate against Carolina. Many including myself don’t think he can do that and win against the Packers. The Packers also have a much better secondary than Carolina so I think Sanchez is around 50% with 2 TO and the Packers win by 8.

  2. I agree with Cory,a rarity of late LOL,as this game hopes to show that the Packers have found an answer to one of its defensive issues and that it also hopes to be sticking around for the playoffs..hopefully via its own ‘kick down’ the door assertion and not the ‘psst’ hurry up before someone sees you backdoor sneak.

    The point is,this team needs to show a growth that remains and not wanes vs winning teams.

    We lost to the Saints and many are using the Rodgers hammy as the reason/excuse…but what of the defense,and the play against the Jets,the 3+ 80 yd drives allowed to Miami…is that also on Rodgers in some manner.

    We know the offense can take down nearly any defense we don’t play scared against,now if we can get the defense to take down the offenses of the average and heavens forbid…the more astute.

  3. Beating the 7-2 Eagles is huge and will give the Packers better status around the league and more confidence in the locker room. Lose this game and the Packers will have only beaten one winning team in 10 games. I think this maybe a regular season signature game, at least up to this point in the season. Of course beating the Patriots would be a better candidate for a signature game.

  4. Respectfully disagree. Have you glanced at the schedule of the other NFC teams? 10-6 does not make the playoffs, and depending on what PHI, DAL, and the entire west does, 11-5 isn’t looking too good either. Lose this game against another potential wild card team, and that may be too much to overcome.

    The real reality here is that we may have to acknowledge that perhaps we have seen this team’s best football. Its a good team but not a great one. When you have AR back there, you always have a shot, but there are a lot of holes, and the NFC is pretty good.

  5. What are you selling? A Packer loss combined with a Lions’ win over AZ, SEA win over KC and SF over NYG would all but doom the Pack’s playoff chances. At 6-4 GB would be tied for NFC seed 7/8. Problem is there is no seed 7/8. This game, the game vs the Pats and the game @BUF will determine whether the season finale v Lions matters. If the Pack wants to control its own fate, it needs to win 2 of these aforementioned 3 games and all of the rest to finish at 12-4. So yes, it is definitely a key game. And by definition, key games = statement games.

  6. Does anyone realize that the Eagles have also lost to the 2 top tier teams they have played this season, specifically SF and Arizona. Both of those losses came on the road against teams whose offense are not as good as the Packers and against QBs who are not close to Aaron Rodgers. We’re averaging 41 points a game at home this season. Do we really think that Sanchez can out score Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau? I live in NJ between Philly and Ny and know several Philly fans and they have no idea how the Eagles are going to Stop the Packers. In the Eagles loss to SF all of their 21 points came off of turnovers and Special Teams. Without that their powerhouse offense was shut out with their starting QB. Yes, the Eagles are good, but the Packers are playing at home, our team is healthy and MMs teams have always played better over the second half of the season. This game depends on the OL keeping Rodgers clean, getting a pass rush on Sanchez and keeping the ball away from Sproles on Special Teams. The best way to do that is to score on every drive and kick the following KO out of the end zone. Unless wind becomes a major factor I see the Packers with 6 or more red zone trips and at least 35 points. If Sanchez can do better than that to our defense then we need to chuck them all. Go pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  7. “But the most important reason for moving Matthews is because it masks A.J. Hawk’s inefficiencies.” MM: “We have to find a way to mask Hawk’s inefficiencies.” Dom: “Okay I’ll move Clay inside.” Hawk leads the team in tackles. I laughed.

  8. Cory re-defines the term “statement game” essentially out of existence. GB does not play a regular season game in January. I guess statement games only happen in the playoffs.

    Not sure what Horse is trying to say. Hawk leads GB in tackles every year. What matters is WHERE Hawk makes the tackles, not how many he gets. CMIII so far is making many of his tackles near the LOS. I hope that continues.

    1. I agree. I think moving Matthews to middle makes Hawk a better player. Win win = huge win against the Eagles.

  9. Once again, I seem to be missing both the point and the logic of the article. I’m told that “a Packers’ win is not a not a statement or a signature.”

    Really? And how have we determined this?

    As far as I can tell, the game has not been played yet. If the Packers go out and utterly obliterate the 7-2 Eagles by a score of 56-0 while playing their scrubs for the last quarter and a half, will you say, “No, no! I have already decided that this is not a statement! Didn’t you read my article??”

    This game will be a statement if the Packers make it to be one.

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