We have seen it before. Just a year ago, the Green Bay Packers lost six of their first 10 games. They were riding a four-game losing streak as the team entered the final six weeks of the season. There was talk of running the table and the Pack did just that. Led by Aaron Rodgers, the team closed the deal by winning six consecutive games. Mike McCarthy’s team finished 10-6 and once again won the NFC North. Then came a home playoff win against the New York Giants followed by a thrilling 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington. The season would come to a screeching end a week later courtesy of a 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game.

At 7-6, Rodgers returned to the field on Sunday after missing seven games with a broken collarbone. The task ahead was games vs. the Panthers at Carolina, a home date with the Minnesota Vikings and a season-ending trip to Detroit. By Sunday afternoon, the Packers were on the short end of a 31-24 score. By Monday evening, McCarthy’s team was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Rodgers not at his best

For the first time since 2008, the Green Bay Packers won’t be playing postseason football. The team’s seven-point loss at Carolina dropped their record to 7-7. When the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, the Pack was officially out. There were numerous factors that attributed to the loss to the Panthers, in particular, the team’s veteran signal-caller.

Rodgers looked tentative at times and underthrew his share of receivers. He completed 26 of his 45 throws for 290 yards and three touchdowns. But he was also picked off three times. Consider that in his first six games this season, Rodgers threw for 13 scores and served up three interceptions. Add in a late lost fumble by wideout Geronimo Allison and a total of four turnovers eventually doomed the Pack.

Defense remains a liability

After 15 weeks of play, the Green Bay Packers rank 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game. The team is 20th in the league against the run while only eight teams are allowing more passing yards per contest. On Sunday at Charlotte, the Panthers rolled up 387 total yards. Green Bay also surrendered 29 first downs and allowed Cam Newton and company to convert 50 percent (6-of-12) of their third-down attempts.

The Panthers’ talented quarterback threw for 242 yards and four scores and Ron Rivera’s club also ran 38 times for 151 yards – with Newton gaining 58 yards on 14 attempts. All told, the Packers managed only one sack and did not come up with a takeaway in the seven-point loss. The Green Bay defense continues to disappoint and must once again be addressed this offseason.