What were the biggest positives and negatives from the Green Bay Packers’ Week 13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
The Packers narrowly escaped with an overtime win against the lowly Buccaneers Sunday, improving their record to 6-6 and keeping their playoff hopes on life support.
The Packers’ season was on the line Sunday, as they were staring at their seventh loss. A hard-fought win in overtime keeps the team’s playoff hopes afloat at least for the moment, and gets them one week closer to Aaron Rodgers‘ return.
Here are some positives and negatives from the win.
Positive: Jamaal Williams
Jamaal Williams continues to fill in admirably for the injured Ty Montgomery, who is done for the season with a combination of wrist and ribs injuries. Williams has proven to be an extremely durable, physical running back who looks like what the Packers had always hoped Eddie Lacy would become.
Williams carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards with a touchdown. His performance was extremely important on the ground considering Brett Hundley did not even hit 100 yards passing throughout almost five quarters of play. Aaron Jones is back, but only carried the ball once for the game-winning touchdown. Williams is the bell cow for the Packers moving forward.
Negative: Brett Hundley
Hundley, as mentioned earlier, did not hit 100 yards passing against the worst pass defense in the league on Sunday, at home. The Packers passing offense was so bad that designed runs for Hundley were the more productive choice for Mike McCarthy. Hundley’s passing talent continues to come into question despite learning from Rodgers everyday.
Hundley’s mechanics continue to look average at best in the pocket. Poor deep ball accuracy along with bad pocket presence makes him vulnerable to better defenses across the NFL. The Ravens, one of the better defensive units in the league, shut the Packers out at home for the first time in 11 years.
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Positive: Clay Matthews
For the first time in far too long, Clay Matthews looked like his old self coming off the edge. His 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hits were long overdue for one of the highest paid linebackers in the NFL. Jameis Winston was overwhelmed by Matthews’ pressure from the boundary and had several throws brutally altered because of it.
If the Packers defense is ever going to get back to what it was during it’s Super Bowl run, it all begins with #52. Green Bay’s pass defense not only has had poor defensive backs, but has not had enough pass rush to help out their suspect secondary.
Negative: Jordy Nelson
Jordy Nelson is beginning to show the dreadful signs of aging after all these years. Without Aaron Rodgers, Nelson is struggling to create separation, no longer able to rely on Rodgers throwing him open. The Packers are beginning to see a changing of the guard at wide receiver, as Davante Adams has taken over the number one receiving duties.
Nelson admitted to his career beginning to wind down before the season, stating he will play “two to four more years”. Now that Adams is in a contract year and has been stellar as an end zone threat, the Packers would be smart to re-sign Adams and begin to transition into the new era with him as the team’s top receiver.
Positive: The Packers still have a pulse
Now at 6-6, the Packers kept their season alive, at least for the time being. The Seahawks’ win over the Eagles was a crippling blow to the Packers, as Seattle has become a prime contender for one of the NFC wild-card berths. Clearly out of contention for the division, Green Bay will have to win out to have a chance at the last wild-card spot.
With a game against the 0-12 Browns next up on the schedule, the Packers have one more game before Aaron Rodgers can come back. He is eligible to return in Week 15 against the Panthers. If Green Bay gets past Cleveland, as it should, Rodgers may be able to salvage the team during the final three games.
Negative: Why did the Packers place Rodgers on IR?
When Rodgers was tackled by Anthony Barr, the Packers’ season spiraled down the drain. The collapse was as sudden as it was complete, and they knew it. Rodgers looks like he has progressed faster than people had expected, meaning it was possible for him to return for last week’s game against the Bucs or this coming week’s game against Cleveland.
The Packers placed Rodgers on IR, rendering him inactive for a minimum of eight weeks. The Cleveland game will be the eighth and likely final game that he misses. The Packers may have a chance at a wild-card berth, and Rodgers’ return increases their chances considerably.
Green Bay will need a lot of help from its NFC counterparts, but the return of Rodgers gives them a puncher’s chance.