These aren't the Packers you're looking for
November 15, 2016 3:07 AM
by Ian Cameron
The Green Bay Packers have been a model of consistency for the better part of the last decade with their last losing season coming in 2008. But that streak is now in jeopardy with plenty of warning signs that indicate a turnaround won't occur.
After Sunday's horrendous 47-25 loss at Tennessee, the Packers now sit at 4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS on the season. And their schedule moving forward projects to be very challenging.
Green Bay's overall record suggests things haven't been all doom-and-gloom. But it's the current form that bettors should be concerned about. The Packers trailed by margins of 31-13 against Indianapolis and 21-0 against Tennessee in back-to-back weeks. Over their last five games their only win came against hapless Chicago.
Starting this week, Green Bay travels to Washington followed by another road trip to Philadelphia. Then it's back-to-back home games against Houston and Seattle and three straight division games – two of which are on the road – to close out the year.
Despite the loss of Eddie Lacy in Week 6, Green Bay continues to move the football with nearly 100 ypg on the ground and 5.35 ypc over their last four games. The passing game has been serviceable as well with Aaron Rodgers throwing for 1,240 yards and a 12-3 TD-to-INT ratio during the span.
The elephant in the room is the defense. Cluster injuries in the secondary led to 576 passing yards (13.8 ypa!) and five passing touchdowns allowed against Indianapolis and Tennessee. And the pass rush has been subpar as well, especially without Clay Matthews, who went down with a hamstring injury in Week 7. Overall, the team’s yards per play differential is currently 26th in the NFL at -0.4.
And perhaps we’re starting to see the players tune out head coach Mike McCarthy. Rodgers was quoted as saying the team had very “low energy” following their home loss to Indianapolis last week.
Their inability to fire back against Tennessee, particularly early on as they trailed 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, is a major red flag. Teams “lay eggs” all of the time but it’s now happened in back-to-back weeks to a team many considered to be a Super Bowl contender.
Rodgers once again alluded to problems with intensity, focus and urgency following Sunday’s loss to Tennessee. “I think we’ve all got to go back and the urgency’s got to pick up, the focus has got to pick up… we’ve all got to play better, and that starts with me,” he said.
Despite all the ongoing problems, Green Bay is only one game out of first place in the NFC North, trailing the Vikings and Lions who are tied at 5-4.
Make no mistake, the season is salvageable but you get a strong sense a lot of these issues won't be fixed overnight. We've grown accustom to the “don't panic” mantra famously coined by Rodgers but when a bettor can get ahead of the slide of an “elite” team, the profits can be bountiful. Even if Green Bay pops for a good performance at Washington, they’re unlikely to earn much of my support the remainder of the season.