After starting 6-0, the Green Bay Packers were considered a legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl. But after losing three straight games, including an embarrassing 18-16 home loss to the lowly Detroit Lions, the Packers desperately need to right the ship – and fast.
What’s been the biggest problem for Green Bay?
“I think it’s a series of problems,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They can’t run the ball and they’ve almost given up their confidence and willingness to do so. It’s almost like you can just tell they’re ready to become one-dimensional – and when they’re one dimensional and (Aaron Rodgers has) got to throw it 60 times and there’s no Jordy Nelson and James Jones has sort of hit the wall and people are going to take (Randall) Cobb away, (it’s tough).”
In their last three games, the Packers have rushed 58 times for 208 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Against the Lions, they rushed 18 times for 47 yards (2.6 yards per carry).
The result? Rodgers threw 61 passes.
“He had (31) targets to Adams and Cobb alone last week and they combined for like 15 catches for only (132) yards,” La Canfora said. “It was nothing. For that many balls to have gone their way and for it to have brought back so few yardage and points is troubling. They don’t have a difference-making tight end. It’s a lot of dump-offs to (James) Starks. It’s almost like a hope and a prayer.”
Defensively, the Packers rank 23rd in total defense (371.6 yards per game) and 11th in scoring defense (20.6 points per game).
“They’ve only just been okay,” La Canfora said. “Now, when Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP year and you’re playing 75 percent of most games with a lead, that defense is more than you need. But that’s not who they are anymore. They’re not going to be able to hold up more than their end of the bargain if all of a sudden they’re on the field (all the time). I think they were on the field almost 39 minute last week. That’s not them. You will run the ball down their throat if they’re on the field that much.
“So they’ve got some issues there,” La Canfora continued. “I’m sure they’ll win a few more games. They’ll probably get in the playoffs. But that, to me, does not look like a team that’s going to go out and win three games in January and one more in February. I just don’t see it as presently constructed. It’s going to take some Herculean stuff from Rodgers if they do.”
The Packers play the NFC North-leading Vikings (7-2) this Sunday in Minnesota. Kickoff is slated for 4:25 p.m. ET.