With star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in true form this season and running back Aaron Jones at the top of his game, many are already speculating that the Green Bay Packers have a good chance of making the Super Bowl. Of course, the NFC is uber-competitive this year, but the Packers are leading their division (albeit just one win ahead of the Minnesota Vikings) as they head into a bye week. Their snowy defeat of the Carolina Panthers last weekend, however, solidified their spot at the top of the NFL’s power rankings, particularly after the Saints’ surprising loss to the Falcons.
If the Packers can keep this up, they’re setting themselves up for a first-round bye in the playoffs. But before we think that far ahead, they’ll have to prepare for their next game against the impressive-looking San Francisco 49ers. Here’s how Green Bay is shaping up this season, including their biggest strengths and a few challenges they’ll need to overcome as they head forward.
Shop Cheap Packers Tickets! They’re always authentic and you’ll always receive them on time!
Green Bay’s Key Strengths
We’ve said it before, but Aaron Rodgers has been playing like a real MVP for the better part of the season. He’s finding key support in players like Aaron Jones – who has 14 touchdowns – and Jamaal Williams who has six TDs and 457 yards of his own. Jones himself is playing like an offensive MVP as the leading running back on this team, and he’s actually tied for most running back TDs in the league. Heck, he might even be more critical to this team’s offense than Rodgers. Either way, it’s clear that Jones, Rodgers, and the whole coaching staff are just really jelling right now. The team is currently averaging 25 points per game.
No, they shouldn’t have lost to the Chargers in Week 9, but their 24-16 victory over the Panthers felt like a little bit of redemption on Sunday. Their defense peaked in players like Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, who were able to break through the Panthers’ offensive line for seven QB hits and two sacks. Lineman Kenny Clark also played one of his best games this season and limited Panthers star RB Christian McCaffrey to 108 rushing yards.
Not a Packers fan? No worries, we’ve got tickets your favorite team’s games right here. Shop Cheap NFL tickets!
Challenges for the Packers
One of the biggest problem facing Green Bay are penalties – we’re talking 18 in the past two games – and they’re usually things like false starts and delays of game. It has ruined drives and given the opposition way more chances than necessary. Penalties were perhaps their downfall against the Chargers, so they’ll need to up their discipline in the coming weeks as they face tougher competition. Head coach Matt LaFleur recognizes that communication during substitutions is an issue and says they’re going to work on it during the bye week.
And let’s talk defense. The past several weeks, this Packers defense hasn’t looked anywhere near the “elite” status that fans were expecting at the start of the season. Their defense can be solid, particularly when they defend against the throw. But while their pass rush is great, they’ll need to get better at containing the run. They also have issues covering the tight ends of opposing teams, and fixing that will be critical before they face a potentially healthy George Kittle of the 49ers. One positive thing to note is that the Packers defense seems to be able to get itself together when it needs to, as we saw in their strong red zone defense against the Panthers.
Finally, the Packers special teams could use a little improvement as well – they’ve been making mistakes and racking up penalties of their own (including four in the past two games). Hey, it’s a good thing they’ve got that bye week!
The Packers only have six games left in the regular season. And if they can beat the 49ers on the road next week, we may just be looking at the best team in the NFC. But that’s a big “if.” Green Bay will likely need four or potentially even five more wins to secure one of those top two seeds in the playoffs. It won’t be an easy feat though. After San Francisco, they’ll also have to face each of their NFC North opponents – the Vikings, Lions, and Bears – one last time.