Rodgers, Packers – no time to relax


For those who doubted that the Green Bay Packers had the heart to get the job done, all was quiet on the home front last Friday morning.

The Minnesota Vikings showed up Thursday night at Lambeau Field – at least in body.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense was intent on making their presence known early and often, after a weak showing against the Seahawks and again against division rival Detroit Lions in week three.

Much like the passionate, complete whoopin’ the New England Patriots just put on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night, the Packers felt like they had something to prove.

Much like the passionate, complete whoopin’ the New England Patriots just put on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night, the Packers felt like they had something to prove.

And they proved it … to the Chicago Bears in week four and to the Minnesota Vikings (and the NFL world) in last Thursday night’s prime time matchup.

There was a whole lot to smile about Thursday night, as the Packers offense got off to a very fast start and rolled into halftime with a 24-0 lead.

The run defense had its own struggles to overcome. Without B.J Raji (who was lost for the season to an early bicep injury), the defensive front has been thin (literally).

Run-stuffers and true gap controllers are difficult to find, and even harder if you are still trying to figure out new ways to rush the quarterback. While the pass rush has been hitting home more frequently, due in part to a creative five linebacker defensive scheme, the gaps have been left exposed.

Marshawn Lynch had his way with the Packers’ defense in week one and Matt Forte had a big day in a losing effort in week four.

Clay Matthews sacks Michael Vick during the Packers’ 31-24 win over the New York Jets on Sept. 14. Jim Oxley photograph

Big, strong running backs have been able to pound out extra yardage and missed tackles have plagued the Packers through another quarter of the season. However, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon were unable to sustain drives for the Vikings’ offense, despite having career days in Adrian Peterson‘s absence the week prior.

It sure looked like things are on their way to being fixed in Wisconsin.

Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers work very well off the edges together and Christian Ponder wasn’t able to set his footing or go through his reads, all day long.

Mike Neal, Mike Daniels and Nick Perry were in his face and forcing ill-timed throws, while the ball-hawking secondary was licking their collective chops to pick up the pieces. Jamari Lattimore and Julius Peppers both had interceptions, Peppers returning his for a touchdown and getting his first taste of the Lambeau Leap. It looked really good, all the way around.

The second half saw a stall in offensive drives, about which Aaron Rodgers admitted to being frustrated – but the defense never took its foot off the gas pedal. That’s the kind of intensity the Packers missed and that is the kind of intensity that we need to keep seeing as the season moves forward.

Live Feed

Jake Paul has unexpected connection to Aaron Rodgers
Jake Paul has unexpected connection to Aaron Rodgers /


  • What to Know: Packers re-sign core special teams player Eric WilsonDairyland Express
  • 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Full 1st round with tradesWith the First Pick
  • Packers hosting an exciting hometown NFL Draft prospectFanSided
  • The future of Aaron Rodgers: What's next for the Green Bay quarterback?NFL Spin Zone
  • 3 bargain free agent wide receivers still available for PackersDairyland Express
  • Even with a stagnant offensive production, the Packers were still able to blow out a capable division rival, showing that they are still in the conversation of elite teams with playoff and Super Bowl hopes.

    With the first division stretch at a close, the Packers are now sitting tied atop the NFC North with the Detroit Lions (who currently owns the tiebreaker between the two). And with a 10-day mini-bye week stretching out before them, the players and coaches have plenty of time to rest their minds and bodies for the second quarter of the season.

    If the players continue to stay healthy and play motivated, Rodgers won’t need to issue another R-E-L-A-X statement for a good, long while.

    At the same time, it’s no time for Rodgers and his team to relax. It’s time to win.