When the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, most of the attention was put on Aaron Rodgers and the offense. While there is nothing wrong with that since the offense was hot at the end of the season, the play on the defensive side of the ball was highly overlooked.
The defensive finished second in the league in points allowed in 2010, only allowing 15 points a game. The only team to finish better was the team they faced in the Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers also finished second in interceptions in 2010 with 24 and followed that up last season by leading the league wit h31 interceptions. As of right now, the Packers only have 14 interceptions through 12 games.
The Packers are a defense that gives up a lot of yards and they depend on takeaways to be successful. Just look at that magical playoff run in 2010. Green Bay had an interception for a touchdown in three of their four playoff games, including one in the Super Bowl by former Packers safety Nick Collins.
In 2012, the Packers defense got off to a great start and it was the offense that was struggling to find any rhythm. The dramatic drop in production from the offense is what caught the attention of the public eye. The improvements made on the defensive side of the ball were almost unrecognized. As the Packers offense started to turn around, the defense started to slip and was riddled with injuries. However, over the course of the past three weeks, the defense has started to make strides towards becoming just like the defense from 2010.
Three weeks ago against the Detroit Lions, Packers safety M.D. Jennings intercepted quarterback Matthew Stafford for a 72-yard touchdown, which helped Green Bay win a key divisional matchup 24-20. Last weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, safety Morgan Burnett had two key interceptions in the red zone to switch the momentum of the game and at least swing the points by 12 in favor of the Packers. Defensive coordinator Don Capers is satisfied with the performance of the defense but knows there is still some work to do.
“We had six three-and-outs,” Capers added of the defense’s performance against the Vikings. “What I don’t want to say every week is ‘if we take those two, three plays out.”
Capers is right on with his assessment. What has been killing the Packers defense lately is the inability to stop the run. Last week it was the Vikings Adrian Peterson who racked up over 200 yards rushing, including the longest run of his career. Giving up the big play has been a problem for most of the year without the takeaways because it makes the Packers defense very vulnerable. However, if Green Bay can continue to be a playmaking defense, then they should be able to make a deep run into the playoffs.
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