The Green Bay Packers are 1-1, which isn’t a bad position to be in after two road games. And with four home games on the horizon, the Packers could still start fast in 2016.
Yet, after losing to the Minnesota Vikings last week, this Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field against division rival Detroit takes on added significance. The Lions also come in at 1-1 and if the Packers allow Detroit to beat them in Green Bay for the second straight year, after winning 25 straight at home against them, it could mean trouble.
While many outside of the organization may be freaking out about the performance of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers don’t seem concerned. Maybe they are right not to be, but anyway you slice it, this is a big game for the Packers and here are three keys for them to win it.
1 — Get Rodgers Going Quickly
Whether it means going no huddle right away or giving him some easy completions, Mike McCarthy has to find a way to get Rodgers going and right from the start. When the Packers are playing well, they are scoring early and that’s something that’s been a struggle for the past year.
Green Bay certainly needs to up its tempo on offense and quit running the play clock down to zero each time. But beyond that, they need to play with some urgency.
Rodgers also needs to start taking chances again. He won two MVP’s because he wasn’t afraid to attempt difficult throws. Windows are tight in the NFL and the great quarterbacks are the ones that throw people open — if Rodgers is going to play like his old self — he needs to start doing that again, pronto.
2 — Give Eddie Lacy 20 Carries
McCarthy is always talking about how important the run game is, but he never commits to it. Through two games, Lacy has 26 carries. That’s it and seeing as he is averaging 4.3 an attempt, the Packers may want to get him a few more.
The Lions defense is good, but against the run they have been just mediocre and rank 19th in the league. The Packers haven’t been great running the ball, but when your starting running back gets 14 carries and then 12, it’s hard to get going.
One thing that could make Rodgers job much easier is a great run game, so McCarthy should actually give it a chance and allow Lacy to carry the rock at least 20 times. Who knows what might happen.
3 — Force at least two turnovers
Throughout Dom Capers’ tenure as defensive coordinator, the Packers have excelled at forcing turnovers. However, through two games in 2016, they have been hard to come by.
The Packers have forced a turnover in each of their first two contests, but they are due for a multi-turnover game. Last season, Green Bay forced two or more turnovers five times and posted a 3-2 record in those games.
With the offense struggling an interception or two or a fumble recovery, could really help. And if the defense can get one or hopefully two, a win will be a strong possibility.