3 major questions emerging from Packers loss to Bucs

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Green Bay Packers' up-and-down season continued in Week 15, with Matt LaFleur's team suffering a two-touchdown home defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's the story of the season for this Packers team. They lost four in a row, won four of their next five, and have now lost two straight. It leaves them at 6-8 and in serious danger of missing the playoffs, having put themselves in an excellent position by beating the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago.

There are positives, including the continued development of Jordan Love and Green Bay's young receiving corps. Over the past seven games, Love has completed 169 of 252 passes (67.1 percent) for 1,876 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three interceptions, with a passer rating of 102.6. The Packers are 4-3 in those games.

The development of rookie receivers Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks is also encouraging. In the past seven games, they have combined for 55 catches, 629 yards, and three touchdowns.

However, the Packers leave Week 15 with a few major questions.

What's next for Joe Barry?

Is this the end for Joe Barry as Packers defensive coordinator? While his defense deserved credit for bending but not breaking against excellent offenses during the Packers' winning run, perhaps we should've seen this coming.

Here's a recap of the past six games:

  • Week 10: Steelers rushed for 205 yards and 2 TDs
  • Week 11: Chargers had 394 total yards, dropped game-winning TD
  • Week 12: Lions had 464 total yards
  • Week 13: Chiefs had 337 total yards
  • Week 14: Giants rushed for 209 yards and 2 TDs
  • Week 15: Bucs had 452 total yards, Baker Mayfield earned perfect passer rating

The Chargers dropped two touchdowns, including a potential game-winner by Quentin Johnston. The Lions had three costly turnovers but were shredding the Packers' secondary throughout the game.

Kansas City had several missed opportunities, including the missed pass-interference call late in the game. New York ran all over Joe Barry's defense, and then Tommy DeVito made it look easy on the game-winning drive.

Barry's defense turned Baker Mayfield into Tom Brady, giving up 381 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Yes, the Packers are dealing with injuries, mainly in the secondary, but Barry's scheme is making life comfortable for opposing offenses.

Will Matt LaFleur make a change?

Can the Packers still make the playoffs?

Amazingly, the Packers can still make the playoffs, even with their 6-8 record. According to the New York Times' projections, winning out would give Green Bay a 96 percent chance of making the playoffs.

But that's a big if. Can the Packers win three straight against the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears? The next two are on the road.

Is it time for Dontayvion Wicks to replace Romeo Doubs?

The Packers have found a real talent in Dontayvion Wicks. He is a smooth route-runner and always finds ways to get open. Jordan Love is looking his way often, and Wicks is making big plays for this offense.

Wicks had a career day with six catches for 97 yards against the Buccaneers. He is a starter while Christian Watson is out, but he is making a strong case for retaining a starting job even when Watson returns.

Romeo Doubs is a solid complementary receiver and makes plays in the red zone, but the Packers' top three receivers (when healthy) might be Watson, Reed, and Wicks.

Green Bay needs to keep giving Wicks more opportunities.

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