Or you can take the pessimistic view and say what we were all thinking on Sunday: this sucks.
The offensive line can’t protect their MVP quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who has taken 37 sacks on the season and couldn’t buy a moment’s peace in the pocket against the Giants. The offensive line isn’t going to get any help, either. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is out for the season with a hip injury and Left Tackle of the Future Derek Sherrod, who has not played since breaking his leg a year ago, is a long shot to avoid the injured reserve. The five offensive linemen currently starting for the Pack are the best they have.
The MVP quarterback can’t throw when he’s being beaten to a pulp. Rodgers didn’t have a even a second to work his magic on Sunday night with the Giants’ constant pressure. Even if he had been able to move his eyes downfield, there wasn’t much open as the Giants were able to drop extra men into coverage.
The offense can’t figure out how to play against a Cover 2 defense. All season long, defenses have realized that, without a run game, Green Bay doesn’t have an answer for a two-high safety look. It took the Giants exactly one play–Jordy Nelson’s 61-yard touchdown reception–to switch from a one-high safety defense to Cover 2. Green Bay didn’t score another touchdown all game. 11 games into the season, the Packers have not found an answer to this type of defense, which they’ll see plenty more of in the future.
The run game is non-existent. Since Cedric Benson went down with a foot injury in Week 5, James Starks and Alex Green have taken turns being completely ineffective. The inability to have a consistent (or inconsistent – I’d take anything at this point!) rush threat allows defenses to devote extra defenders to the backfield, further frustrating the pass game. Plus, the Packers can’t control the clock without a run game.
The run defense is embarrassing. Even before Clay Matthews sustained a hamstring injury, this unit was not very good. Green Bay lost its best run defender, Desmond Bishop, before the season started. D.J. Smith played well in Bishop’s stead, but is now keeping Desmond company on the IR. Opponents are starting to realize that the Packers are as bad at the defensive run game as they are at the offensive run game.
The secondary’s much improved, but still giving up big plays. Green Bay’s having to rely on rookies in the secondary more and more as they deal with injuries. Safety Charles Woodson broke his collarbone and, though recovering well, will not be returning to action in the immediate future. And I hate to say it, but cornerback Tramon Williams is not playing well. Williams had an off year last season as he played through a serious shoulder injury and, though recovered, has yet to match his breakout performance of 2010.
Mason Crosby can’t kick. I won’t say much more about this because I feel awfully bad for Crosby and don’t want to pile on him, but Green Bay’s kicker has made only seven of his last 15 kicks and is 12-for-20 on the season. Eek.
Since their impressive win over the Houston Texans in Week 6, Green Bay has beaten the St. Louis Rams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions, whose combined records add up to 14-29-1. Green Bay has defeated only two teams with winning records this season.
So, there you go. Happy Tuesday. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry into a glass of cheap wine.