If the Green Bay Packers‘ offensive line protects Aaron Rodgers when they play at Houston Sunday night, the Packers will score some points. In fact, we all know that if Aaron Rodgers has the time and his receivers can get open, Green Bay will move the ball through the air.
If the line can do that, the team might not even have to worry about the run game that took a huge hit when Cedric Benson went down last week at Indianapolis.
The real question will center around the Packers defense. Which defense will show up? Will it be the defense that was solid against the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks in weeks two and three or will it be the defense that reverted the past two weeks to the leaky sieve that was seen in 2011?
Most disconcerting once again against the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts the past two weeks has been the soft “keep ‘em in front of you” defensive backfield that allowed both Drew Brees and Andrew Luck to move the ball at will.
With it looking like B.J. Raji might not play or will be severely limited at Houston, the Packers defense will be hard pressed to slow the potent Texans. Consider that Houston running back Arian Foster is probably one, if not the best, runner in all of football, the Packers will have their hands full in trying to stop him. Even with Raji in the lineup, their task of slowing Foster would be difficult.
When you’ve got the threat of Foster on every down, the added task of stopping the Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson tandem will also be a huge undertaking for this Packers defense.
Just how the Packers will do so is up to defensive coordinator Dom Capers. While his defenses during the first couple of seasons in Green Bay were unpredictable and aggressive, it seems the rest of the league has caught up with Capers’s schemes and offenses are giving their QBs the time to find open receivers all over the field. Just ask Drew Brees and Andrew Luck about that. While the run defense has done a good job of stopping the run this season and forcing third downs and long, giving up first downs has become the norm on third down.
So, the key for the Packers Sunday night will be getting off the field on third down and allowing Aaron Rodgers and the offense to chew up time on the clock and score points.
However, the Packers certainly can’t afford to get into a shootout with the Texans. The Packers defense has to find a way to slow down the Texans and force some field goals instead of giving up touchdowns.
If they do all that, they will have a shot at knocking off the undefeated team from Houston.
Some say this is a must-win for the Packers. I’m not so sure, but a win would certainly go a long way in restoring some of the confidence and swagger that this Packers team most surely needs at this point in the season. Mike McCarthy’s teams have always done well inside the North Division, so they need as many of these non-division games as they can get.
To do that, the right defense has got to show up.