Last week’s performance against the Denver Broncos was not the finest hour of the Green Bay Packers. Yet, thankfully, one game does not a season make.
There is a reason why the Packers have been in the playoffs six straight years and have won four consecutive division titles.
They don’t panic. And they rarely ever lose back-to-back games.
That may be more difficult in this two-game stretch than ever before considering that few teams in NFL history have ever played consecutive games against undefeated teams this late in the season. But still, with the track record of Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers, I don’t expect Green Bay to have anything less than their best this Sunday in Charlotte.
Certainly beating the Panthers with Cam Newton, Johnathan Stewart, Greg Olsen and Carolina’s outstanding defense will be no small task. But championship teams must have the fortitude to win games like this, games with your back against the wall and I still believe Green Bay can be a championship team.
The offense has to figure some things out. And it’s not just about Aaron Rodgers and the receivers. The o-line needs to block better, the backs and tight ends need to improve, the receivers need to get open and Rodgers needs to do better throwing people open.
But this game isn’t going to just be about the offense — it’s about the defense too. The Packers need to show toughness and grit. They need to stop the run and contain Newton. They need to force turnovers and other negative plays.
Last Sunday was a bad night on offense but the defense also failed to register a a sack for the first time in 72 games. That’s more than four seasons. So while the offense was anemic, the defense in Denver wasn’t much better.
Sometimes getting humbled like that can open your eyes and I think the Packers are now wide awake.
Rodgers was right to tell fans to relax last year at 1-2 and fans should the do same right now at 6-1. Over 16 games, there are bound to be duds.
Last year, Green Bay got destroyed by the Saints on Sunday Night Football, then in their next outing beat the Bears 55-14.
It’s not getting knocked down that matters, that happens to every NFL team from time to time, it matters more if you can get back up.
The Packers have a chance to get off the mat this Sunday. And if they do win, they will be back in the driver’s seat in the NFC and the meltdown at Mile High will be forgotten.
The NFL is a long season and teams aren’t going to be at their best every week. But after last week, the Packers need their best effort and based on their past under McCarthy, I’d be surprised to see anything less versus the Panthers.