Not having quarterback in Aaron Rodgers has certainly been an issue for the defending NFC North champion #Green Bay Packers. A 4-1 start has now turned into five losses in the last six games. That includes three straight setbacks at home to the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, and Baltimore Ravens. There was the 23-16 win over the Bears at Soldier Field but that’s been followed by back-to-back losses to AFC North contenders Baltimore and Pittsburgh. And it was last #Sunday evening’s setback at Heinz Field which had to be particularly concerning for head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
What went wrong?
A 23-0 home loss to the Ravens meant that the Green Bay Packers had been shut out for the first time since 2006.
But Capers’ defense did limit Baltimore to 219 total yards in the setback. The 31-28 defeat at Pittsburgh was a much different story. McCarthy’s team squandered a 14-6 lead and wound up giving up 28 first downs and 462 total yards to Ben Roethlisberger and company. Of course, it didn’t help that nine-year outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle Kenny Clark were unavailable last Sunday at Pittsburgh.
The standout defender is a difference maker for the Packers and the man in charge didn’t mince words. “He creates havoc,” explained head coach Mike McZCarthy to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com this past week. “When he lines up and plays on our defense, obviously the offense knows where he is. That’s why over the years you have to move him around. He’s a very disruptive player.” The Packers’ sideline leader made it very clear that his defense was much better with Matthews in the lineup.
Bucs coming to town
Both the Tampa Bay #Buccaneers (4-7) and Green Bay Packers (5-6) have already lost as many games as they did all of last season and there’s still five weeks of action remaining. So, can Capers’ defense bounce back from last week’s disappointing showing? The secondary is as healthy as it has been all season and if Matthews and Clark are available, there is a great chance that the Pack could be back at .500. But, keep in mind that the Bucs get back quarterback Jameis Winston on Sunday. The first overall pick in the 2015 draft missed the last three games with a shoulder issue but he could jump-start a Tampa attack that has been inconsistent during his absence. In eight games this season, the three-year pro has connected on 61.4 percent of his passes, good for 1,920 yards and 10 scores, while being picked off only six times.