The Green Bay Packers came agonizingly close to defeating the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. However, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling committed a costly mistake that has already resulted in death threats being sent his way.
But while Packers fans may be mad at Valdes-Scantling, he’s far from the biggest problem in Green Bay. In fact, after losing two of their last four games by falling apart in the second half, the Packers should no longer be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The Packers have now lost three of their last six games
After starting the season 4-0, the Packers had to feel good about their Super Bowl fortunes heading into their bye week. Yet, Aaron Rodgers and Co. have gone just 3-3 since returning to action.
In Week 6, Green Bay traveled to Tampa to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Although most expected the matchup to be a shootout, it turned out quite differently.
The Packers owned a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and never scored again.
By the end of regulation, Brady had thrown for two touchdowns, Ronald Jones ran for two more, and the Buccaneers easily won by a final score of 38-10.
Two weeks later, the Minnesota Vikings buckled down in the second half and walked away from Lambeau Field with a 28-22 win. Although Davante Adams caught three touchdown passes, the Packers scored just eight points after halftime.
Green Bay beat the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars before traveling to Indianapolis to take on the first-place Colts. Once again, though, Matt LaFleur’s team failed to preserve an early lead. Despite holding a 28-14 advantage at halftime, Green Bay eventually lost by a final score of 34-31 after Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime.
Of course, he never would have had that opportunity if Marquez Valdes-Scantling hadn’t committed a costly mistake.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has already received death threats for his costly mistake
On Sunday, the Packers squandered away a two-touchdown lead and needed a 26-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to force overtime. Green Bay got the first crack at putting the game away. But after Rodgers hit Aaron Jones for an 8-yard gain, Marquez Valdes-Scantling made a major mistake that essentially handed the Colts the victory.
The big-bodied wideout got stripped on a screen play by Colts safety Julian Blackmon. His lost fumble gave Indianapolis the ball at Green Bay’s 29-yard line. After three runs by Jonathan Taylor, Blankenship nailed the game-winning kick.
For Valdes-Scantling, his costly mistake on the field has now impacted his life off the field. In fact, just hours after committing the first fumble of his NFL career, he took to Twitter to give insight into the scary reality of being a pro athlete.
“Death threats over a football game? Jesus you people need help. It’s actually sick. I’m good. My team got my back,” Adams tweeted, followed by a raised fist emoji.
It seems crazy to think that committing a fumble would lead to such a harsh response. NFL players make mistakes on the field every week, but none of them deserve that type of treatment from fans.
In reality, Valdes-Scantling played such a small role in Green Bay losing for the third time in six weeks. Because once again, the Packers blew a lead and exposed themselves as fake Super Bowl contenders.
Should Green Bay be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender?
The Packers sit atop the NFC North with a 7-3 record. They have the third-highest scoring offense in the NFL. And they have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Yet, Green Bay fans shouldn’t feel confident about this team’s ability to win a title.
While the Packers certainly have some strengths, their biggest weaknesses could come back to haunt them in the playoffs.
Defensively, Green Bay isn’t anywhere close to championship-caliber.
After surrendering 34 points to the Colts, the Packers rank 17th in points allowed. They have only recorded five interceptions all season. Plus, after totaling 41 sacks in 2019, the Packers have recorded just 21 through 10 games.
Quarterbacks have posted an average rating of 101.8 against Green Bay’s defense. Only the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, and the Jaguars have been worse.
On the other side of the ball, the Packers still don’t have many consistent receiving options outside of Adams and much-improved tight end Robert Tonyan.
Unless Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Allen Lazard become factors moving forward, defenses will continue to devote ample attention to Adams and force Rodgers to beat them with his secondary options.
Ultimately, this is a team that has shown an inability to close out close games. And until the Packers show more consistency on both sides of the ball over the final six games of the regular season, they shouldn’t be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.