The Green Bay Packers have been one of the best teams in the NFL during the 2019 season. With a new coach in Matt LaFleur and a revitalized Aaron Rodgers, the team has taken nearly every game by storm and found a knack to win games in nearly any situation. Many believe Green Bay could be a Super Bowl favorite come postseason, and the Packers have given little reason to doubt these predictions.
Looking deeper, however, and there are some flaws in their team that could be exploited by opponents going into the latter portion of the season.
Here’s what’s working in the Packers’ favor
The Packers have shown up all season. While a team like the San Francisco 49ers has beaten teams on a very easy schedule, the Packers have played some of their best football against teams with winning records. Their two losses were against two of the weaker teams they have played throughout the season, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Packers have the second-best record in the NFC, and if they can finish the season as strong as they started it, they could get a first-round bye in the playoffs. With a bye week heading into the final six games, the team has the perfect chance to get some rest and recollect themselves going into the home stretch.
If everything goes right, the Packers could be the NFC champions. However, the team will need to address some problems and overcome them if they want this dream to become a reality. Forbes highlighted some of the problems plaguing the Packers, and the flaws could cut the stellar season short.
Defense might be the weak link
The Packers are no cellar-dwellers when it comes to the team’s defense. As Forbes points out, however, their defense has looked quite good at times. The team is 12th in points against them, but the stats show that the defense is not something to be comfortable with. Green Bay is 28th in yards allowed, 21st in first downs allowed, and 19th in third-down defense.
The team’s run defense has been downright bad, too. The team ranks 25th in rushing yards allowed and 27th in yards allowed per carry. The team has allowed 120 rushing yards seven times throughout the season.
The ultimate goal in an NFL game is to give up fewer points than your offense scores, and the Packers have done that. However, for the team to succeed, they will have to improve the defense.
If a good rushing team like the Baltimore Ravens comes into their path, they could exploit the team’s defense and thereby put too much of the burden on Rodgers’ shoulders.
The defense is even struggling on throwing plays, having allowed 38 receptions of at least 20 yards and 11 plays of 40 yards. The team takes risks on defense and can get sacks and interceptions to cover up their flaws, but it should not be something that they rely on all the time. With an offense that is settled, the defense will need to make the little plays on every aspect of their defensive game to keep their success going.
Working in their favor, however, is the fact that the Packers have a knack for turning on the defense in the red zone. That could be perceived as playing with fire, or indicate the team can show up when it counts, such as in playoff time.
Other problems Green Bay has to figure out
Special teams can be the difference between a close win and a close loss. The Packers’ special teams are struggling on both defense on offense when it comes to punt returns. The team struggles to return punts at any level. They average -1.3 yards per return as opposed to opponents, who average 8.7 yards per return.
Furthermore, Rodgers has a legendary arm, but he still needs some help from his roster. Through no fault of the players, the receiving corps is surprisingly barren. Devante Adams is the go-to option of offense, but in the playoffs, teams will likely lockdown on him. The team has options, but they need to be able to show up reliably for the Packers to succeed.
There’s no such thing as a perfect football team, and while the receiving depth, the defense, and the special teams may all need some help, the team can also bypass these if they can perform at their best ability. The worst thing that the Packers can do is act like the Super Bowl is a likely outcome. Instead, they should embrace these weaknesses and use the last six weeks as room to grow.