A month ago, the 3-1 Green Bay Packers were leading 20-10 over the 3-1 New York Giants at halftime in London. It felt as if the Packers were on their way to another dominant regular season and the division title. A month later and the Packers have lost five straight games and their hopes of making the playoffs are quickly fading.
Throughout this season, the Packers defense has underperformed based on their talent and the offense has struggled to consistently score any points. Receivers have dropped the ball and run the wrong routes and the offense has sputtered in the red zone.
In the last few weeks, the Packers have lost a myriad of players due to injury, including star pass rusher Rashan Gary (ACL) and starting cornerback Eric Stokes (ankle/knee) for the rest of the season.
Hope is running out for the Packers. However, they are only a couple games out of a wildcard spot in a wide-open NFC.
For the Packers to generate any success offensively, they need the rely on the strongest part of the offense, the run game.
After back-to-back MVP campaigns, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has looked like a shell of his former self. Through nine games, he has only thrown for 2,091 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a passer rating of just 89.0.
In last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions, Rodgers played his worst game of the season, only completing 53.5 percent of passes for 291 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Despite multiple trips to the red zone, the Packers only scored 9 points. Rodgers missed routine throws, underthrew multiple receivers and missed easy reads.
“The play comes in, we’ve got to execute it,” Rodgers said. “There’s a lot of things that go into that. We had a couple of chances for sure. We can’t lose a game like that against that team, no. So that’s going to hurt for a while.”
Despite Rodgers’ throwing woes, there is still hope for the Packers offense.
The Packers currently have 27th ranked scoring offense yet boast the 12th-ranked rush offense. Through nine games the Packers have rushed the ball for 1086 total yards, 120.7 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry.
Even though the Packers run game has been successful the Packers have elected to throw the ball unsuccessfully in obvious running situations.
For example, on the Packers first drive versus the Lions, the Packers were inside the five-yard line, yet still threw the ball multiple times leading to an interception.
“Like I can’t tell you how many times, you know, you’re looking, and particularly, when we’re under center and everybody’s mugged up on the line of scrimmage,” head coach Matt LaFleur said after the game. “So, we’ve got to do something different, obviously, because we’re not throwing and catching to the level that is conducive to winning football.”
Last Sunday’s contest against the Lions wasn’t the first time Rodgers has decided to throw the ball rather than hand it off. Rodgers has consistently checked out of run plays all season including on a fourth and short in London that ended up costing the Packers the game.
But Rodgers is not always to blame. Defenses are consistently stacking the box and playing single high, essentially daring Rodgers to throw the ball down the field.
On top of that, the Packers haven’t been able to hold onto the ball. The Packers have a whopping 17 fumbles on running plays this year, the third most in the NFL.
After losing five games in a row the Packers season is on life support. With a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the 2022 campaign may be all but over. However, if the Packers can get the ball moving on the ground, that may give them the momentum they need to turn the season around.