Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (center) will guide quarterback Scott Tolzien (left) during Aaron Rodgers' (right) absence and prepare the team to make a late season run to the playoffs. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Green Bay Packers Nation: Brace for a bumpy ride

Buckle up Green Bay Packers Nation, it’s going to be a bumpy ride from here on out.

With Aaron Rodgers on the shelf and several other big names and key role players on the mend or out of action the 2013 Green Bay Packers’ season is certainly one the fan base is not accustom to. It’s ugly, plain and simple. And if my hunch is correct it’s not going to get pretty for some time.

Now to be clear, I’m not saying the season is over, nor am I saying it’s time for the Packers to tank. What I am saying is the last six games of the season are going to be different than what we have cheered on in the past. Expect scrappy, grind it out games in which the quarterback play will be inferior to what has been on display in Green Bay since 1992.

Am I optimistic about the Packers playoff hopes? I most certainly am.

A few weeks ago I wrote that Rodgers would not return until the Dec. 15 game against the Dallas Cowboys. I still believe that. I also stated that the Packers would go 3-2 during the stretch of games without 12 at the helm. This is still possible.

This coming Sunday’s contest against the Vikings should result in a Packers victory. The tough one of course is on Thanksgiving against the Lions. Provided Green Bay is victorious against Minnesota, the game in Detroit is an absolute must win.

But let’s be honest, they are all must wins the rest of the way. Following the Turkey Day contest the Packers face a Falcons team that has been grounded with clipped wings. The game is in Green Bay, it’s fair to guess that is a game the Packers will win.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Lions are a good team. They are physical and the Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson combination is arguably second to none. What the Packers have on their side is the Lions are an undisciplined team. Guided by a coach with a very punchable face, it’s entirely possible their season could go up and smoke faster than a Cheech and Chong Colorado vacation. Maybe that’s a pipe dream, but the Lions are, well, the Lions, and that alone gives me hope.

For the Packers to be successful wins have to be delivered by the defense. It starts up front with the wide bodies on the defensive line. They have to shut down the run and absorb blockers in the passing game to free up the linebackers.

On the back end of the defense the play at the safety position must improve. Green Bay and the Jacksonville Jaguars are the only teams not to have an interception from the safety spot. The Jags are not a team with which anyone wants to be compared.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side of the ball Coach McCarthy should continue to be aggressive with the offensive play calls for quarterback Scott Tolzien. They have no choice. If they don’t put the ball in the air opposing defenses will continue to stack the box and shut down Eddie Lacy and the running game.

As the Packers careen through the remainder of their schedule I am not yet seeing any roadblocks. I see speed bumps that will need to be navigated at 90 mph. My guess is they skid into the playoffs with the mirrors missing and some dings and dents.

With Rodgers back behind the wheel they roll into the second season a hot team.



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Tags: Green Bay Packers Winning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing

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