Life without Aaron Rodgers – Week 2 for the Green Bay Packers

At least for the next couple of games, quarterback Scott Tolzien and Eddie Lacy will have to carry the team until Aaron Rodgers comes back. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

At least for the next couple of games, quarterback Scott Tolzien and Eddie Lacy will have to carry the team until Aaron Rodgers comes back.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

For the Green Bay Packers, week 1 without Aaron Rodgers ended in a loss, but why?

The Packers defensive backs have zero ball skills. The only thing worse than a defense that doesn’t force turnovers is a defense that doesn’t take those that are given to them. In the Last 2 losses, critical touchdowns could have been prevented if the Packers DBs could CATCH! The lack of takeaways is obvious. True, the offense didn’t score much, but they did have some impressive drives and controlled time of possession for much of the game. That will need to continue at the Meadowlands this week.

Eli Manning Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Eli Manning
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports photograph

After losing the first six games of the season, the Giants are riding a three-game win streak into today, and it has more to do with the competition than an actual resurgence. For the record, they’ve beaten a castoff in Josh Freeman, a rookie third-stringer in Matt Barclay, and a banged up Terrelle Pryor. What defined the Giants in their six straight losses was the terrible play of the Packers nemesis, Eli Manning.

He was awful in their losses and less awful in their wins. The Packers defense needs to keep him at the less awful level this week. The Giants don’t play long ball much (which doomed the Packers against Philly), but Eli will throw into tight spots and the Packers need to make him pay for mistakes with interceptions.

Offensively, as strange as it sounds, Tolzien needs to do what he did last week. Take out the goal line interception (bad throw) and Tolzien was very good coming off the bench and running the offense. I venture to say that if Tolzien was the backup versus the Bears the Packers might have had a chance.

That is open to debate but after the last two weeks, I think many might agree. Offensive line issues are also a concern, but if EDS can go, which seems likely, the Packers should have a good run game to take pressure off of the QB.

Defensively the Packers should be buoyed by Clay Matthews’ FULL return, the club gone and two hands to work

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Clay Matthews will be without his full club against the Giants.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

with. Better pressure on the QB should lead to more INT chances for the secondary, but they MUST take advantage.

Not one potential interception can be dropped. Over the last two weeks, at least two have been missed and both led to devastating TDs.

The Packers should be able to stop the run with the front 7 but I expect Capers to force the Giants into the pass by run blitzing on first and/or second down. With Clay back in the mix it should be more effective. Pressure on Eli is a big part of it, but capitalizing on the mistakes he might make because of it will determine the game.

I’ve avoided most of the media coverage personally this week since I live just outside Philadelphia and, no matter what people might tell you, they are intolerable winners (and losers). I couldn’t bear listening to the gloating over beating the Packers. It would serve me right as I often listen for my own schadenfreude as I bask in the glow of the Packers’ success. Yea, I’m one of those guys …

On to predictions:

This is a must win for both teams if they want to make the playoffs. I know it sounds asinine, but the Giants still have a chance in the NFC East. The Packers cannot lose this game and expect even a Wild Card spot. It wouldn’t be the death knell, but they’d need help.

I’m concerned, but not worried. The Packers will play well enough on defense to allow Scott Tolzien to win his first NFL start.

Packers 24 Giants 17

Topics: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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  • Vvait Fang

    You can see that the 2 TDs that should have been interceptions were both cases of miscommunication, not ball skills. The Packer DBs ran into each other in each case. Zero ball skills??? really?? How about all the other passes defensed, and balls that had to be thrown away? I love watching an interception as much as the next guy, but just give me DBs who can tackle properly, and then have them communicate, and I’ll be happy and the Pack will win.

    • PegLeg ✈™

      By “ball skills” I meant it in the ability to make interceptions. I think having only 2 interceptions by the secondary in 9 games speaks for itself. I didn’t mean they couldn’t play the ball, they just can’t catch it, and that means lost opportunities which they Packers just can’t afford at this point. Like you, I’ll be happy with a Pack win! GO PACK!