Two seasons ago, the Green Bay Packers pulled off an impressive 31-25 victory of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Entering the 2011 season, the Packers were looked at as the undisputed favorites to win Super Bowl XLVI, and looked every bit of the part in racking up a 15-1 record during the regular season – before losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in the Divisional Playoff Game (the Packers first playoff game of the year). Even thought they were upset in the postseason, Aaron Rodgers was named the league’s MVP and things were still bright in Lambeau Land for not only the present but the future as well.
Fast forward to the days before the beginning of week six in the 2012 NFL season, and the Packers now hold a 2-3 record. They have looked shaky on both offense and defense and quite frankly, just don’t seem like the same team they were during the previous two seasons. The Packers are currently ranked 28th in the NFL in net yards per game and 31st in sacks allowed (21). On top of that, Green Bay is ranked 21st in the league in total offensive yards per game (338), 20th in rushing yards per game (95.6), 18th in points per game (22.4), 16th in total offensive yards allowed per game (344.2), 17th in rushing yards allowed per game (114.2) and tied for 14th in points allowed per game (22.2).
Rodgers is not having his typical season so far, completing 130 of his 189 pass attempts for 1,307 yards (9th in NFL) and 10 touchdowns (tied for 5th). It all starts with Rodgers, and continues to the lack of a running game that they currently have in Green Bay; and with starting running back Cedric Benson injured (LisFranc foot injury that could sideline him anywhere from eight weeks to the remainder of the season) during the Packers 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week five, things could be getting worse for the Pack.
Speaking of Green Bay’s loss to Indianapolis: in that game, they became just the first team ever to have a reigning AP MVP quarterback and lose to two rookie quarterbacks in the same season. In fact, a reigning MVP QB has only lost to a rookie counterpart just five times since the award first was handed out in 1957. The first came when the Pack lost to Russel Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks and of course, the second came at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Green Bay has just a plus one point differential (112-111), and have already lost to the likes of the San Francisco 49ers (30-22 in week one), the Seahawks (14-12 in week three) and of course, to the Colts last week. Unfortunately for them, their schedule will get even tougher for the remainder of the season. Next week they travel to Reliant Stadium to face the 5-0 Houston Texans, followed by a trip to the Edward Jones Dome to face the 3-2 St. Louis Rams and then a home meeting versus the 4-1 Arizona Cardinals in week nine.
Following their week 10 bye, they face the Detroit Lions in week 11 on the road, and then the Giants on the road in week 12. In week 13 they take on the 4-1 Minnesota Vikings, followed by the Lions again in week 14, the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in week 15, and will conclude the season at Mall of America Field (formerly the Metrodome) against the Vikings in week 17. Each and every one of those games will present a problem for the Packers. Now, I’m not saying they’re going to lose all of those games, but they could easily lose five or six of them realistically – that would give them either seven or eight losses on the year, making it more than likely they would fail to make the playoffs in a very competitive NFC this season.
Head coach Mike McCarthy is going to have to look into the eyes and souls of all his players, and see what they have left inside of them in order to get things back on track this season. Otherwise, it will be a very disappointing season in Lambeau Land.