Can the Packers defense bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Packers News?


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Does the Green Bay Packers defense have what it takes to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Packers News?

A question that falls short of possessing a cut and dried answer. Like the relationship status of some, it’s complicated.

Dom Capers squad has certainly evolved over the course of the season. In doing so, Tweets from clever Packers fans were adjusted, instead of proclaiming #firecapers many now pronounce #hirecapers.

The change of heart can be attributed to an attacking defense that pressures opposing quarterbacks into making mistakes and creating opportunities for the defensive backs to snag errant throws.

The Packers pass defense heading into week 12 ranks thirteenth in the league.

They have accumulated 14 interceptions to tie for third and have amassed 25 sacks to tie for eleventh in the NFL.

This disruptive defense has bullied quarterbacks into an average opponent passer rating of 80.2, good for the sixth spot.

What may be most impressive are the 22 overall turnovers produced by the defense – 14 interceptions and 8 fumble recoveries.

This feat is good for second in the league and a tell-tale sign that opposing offenses are on edge when facing the Packers’ defense.

Even more impressive is the four scores by the defense, three interceptions returned for touchdowns and one fumble recovery for six points.

The trouble with the Packers’ defense has been the consistency of the run defense. Currently ranked twenty-ninth, it has moved forward of late from dead last in the NFL.

It is the one portion of the team that it is really difficult to have a lot of faith.

The Green Bay Packers defense – especially the run defense – has been poor. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports photograph

After being trucked on the ground by the Saints for 193 yards on 31 attempts for 6.2 yards per carry, Capers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy went back to the drawing board.

They moved Clay Matthews to inside linebacker on rushing downs. Matthews’ intensity and desire to make plays has since enabled the Packers to hold Chicago to 55 yards rushing in week 10 and 109 to Philadelphia the following week.

The Matthews move to the middle has improved the run defense. But as my friend and fellow Saraveza Packers analyst Fro Waters relayed to me during the midst of Green Bay’s rout of the Philadelphia Eagles, “The Packers best defense is their offense.”

Green Bay Packers linebacker Julius Peppers returns an interception for a touchdown as Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) tries to make the tackle during the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 53-20. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Fro’s assessment is spot on.

The difference the past two weeks is the Packers offense has been quick to score and amass a lead. In doing so they force the opposition into passing situations in an attempt to hastily put points on the board to stay in the game.

This eliminates their opponent’s ability to control the clock and exploit the Packers’ deficiencies in their run defense. It also sucks their foe into the heart of what the Packers do so well, create chaos around the quarterback and force turnovers.

All that said, I’m not sold that the Packers defense has what it takes, on its own, to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to its rightful place in Green Bay.

But paired with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ high-powered offense, the defense could very well be equipped to give them a fighting chance.