2. The defense will finally step up
Since the offense has been so hot, the defense has gotten away with below-average play. Their run game remains atrocious, but when the offense gets up early and big, opposing teams need to abandon the run.
But even when teams start passing more, they seem to move the ball with ease. Probably because the defensive backs always give receivers a 10-yard cushion at the line of scrimmage.
When the Packers finally faced a defense that played well against their offense, the defense needed to step up, and they didn’t. If you want to beat Tom Brady, you need to pressure him and hit him. I’m pretty sure Brady had a clean uniform the entire game.
This is a problem for a number of reasons. The Buccaneers offensive line is arguably the weakest part of their team. They struggled against the Chicago Bears’ defense a week before facing the Packers. The Bears made Brady uncomfortable in the pocket. They hit him seven times and sacked him three times.
The Packers hit Brady just four times and didn’t get a sack all day. Last year, the Packers had one of the best pass-rushing groups in the league. This year, that pass rush has been virtually nonexistent.
All of the problems on defense have been tolerated because the Packers have been winning and the defense has done just enough. Now, they’ve shown that when the offense struggles, they can’t pick them up. After the Bucs game, Packers Twitter started to stir. Fans have begun calling for Mike Pettine to get fired, and honestly, can you blame them? Since Pettine’s arrival, the Packers haven’t necessarily had a top-flight defense.
With all that said, I think this is the perfect time for the Packers defense to finally wake up and get going. I’m sure the defense knows they have a lot of eyes on them. We know the potential the Smiths have. If Kevin King is healthy, he and Jaire Alexander are one of the best cornerback duos in the league. They definitely struggled last week without King. If they can stay healthy and put it all together, I think this can be a pretty good defense.
They will surely be tested with the Texans’ offense. They have a great quarterback in Deshaun Watson and very deep receiving corps. Brandin Cooks has been all over, but is still a good receiver. Add in Will Fuller who can burn and stretch the field and an old friend in Randall Cobb who can produce in the slot. If there is a time for the Packers’ defense to get it together, this is it.