Why they lost: The Green Bay Packers drop the NFC North crown to Minnesota
By Kenn Korb
The third downs (or more so, the failure to convert any)
While that INT was the single-biggest killer play to the Packers’ hopes, their failures along the expanse of the game were a larger-scale problem on the evening.
Green Bay continued to struggle on third downs for yet another week. For the day, they managed to have 15 chances on third down.
How many did they convert?
That’s terrible … but we shouldn’t be surprised. For the season, Green Bay ranks #27 in the league.
These issues are directly rooted in all the problems surrounding the offense as a whole. The running game cannot provide anything on the early downs, leaving the offense in too many third-&-longs.
The receivers can’t get open and also cannot hold the ball, which means they fail to pick up decent gains.
The line is too injured and ineffective to hold up against even miniscule pass rushes — especially as long as it tends to take to get someone open (if they ever do).
Add in that Rodgers has gradually become less accurate over the course of the season — at least in part due to the struggles around him — and this shows us not only why Green Bay is failing on these plays, but why it is so essential for them to find a way to complete them despite their problems.
If they could find a way to convert more of these plays, the offense would undoubtedly be doing better — and it would be a good indication that they were finding ways to work around those problems.
Until they fix this, more than any other area I’ve mentioned, they will never manage to be more than a cursory threat to opposing defenses.