For the past few days, every Green Bay Packers fan has probably thought the sky was falling. Suddenly, Aaron Rodgers can’t throw the ball and the Packers, can no longer win at home.
The team many predicted to win the Super Bowl, now looks like it will struggle to make the playoffs. Questions are arising everywhere and both Rodgers and Mike McCarthy are under intense criticism.
Yet, as the saying goes, winning cure all that ails you. So as far as the Packers are concerned, the best medicine right now, would be a win over their NFC North rival.
Who cares that the Bears aren’t great? The Packers aren’t either right now, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be.
If Rodgers figures things out, which I believe he will at some point, this team still has the talent to make a deep playoff push. Even at 3-3, the season wouldn’t be over. Although, a loss to the Bears would be quite disturbing.
The truth is, a majority of teams that start 4-2, make the NFL playoffs. And if Green Bay wins, it will be in a good position to do so.
That makes the Chicago game a big one for the Packers and here are three things they must do to win it.
1 — Help Rodgers find himself —
Who knows if the scotch Rodgers drank following his miserable performance against Dallas helped, but at least, maybe, he’s taking his dip in production seriously.
For too long, Rodgers and McCarthy scoffed at the mention of offensive issues. But against the Cowboys, they were plain as day.
The Packers need the old Rodgers back, the one that once threw six touchdowns against these same Chicago Bears.
Even though practice time was limited this week, McCarthy should have spent it finding ways to get Rodgers going. Get some easy throws for him and allow him to get confidence early.
With no running game to speak of, Rodgers and the passing game will need to carry the load. That means, no completion percentage under 60 or a quarterback rating under 100. If he excels, Green Bay will win, if not, it’s a tossup.
2 — Win the turnover battle —
Throughout the Mike McCarthy era, the Packers have excelled at taking care of the football. But this season, not so much.
In five games, Green Bay has nine turnovers. The Packers’ defense has also forced just six turnovers in 2016, leaving the team with a turnover margin of negative three.
That’s not a good number and it’s an uncharacteristic one. Injuries or not, the Packers need to make plays in the secondary and the defense needs to get some takeaways.
Meanwhile, the offense needs to take care of the damn ball (pardon my french). One interception and four fumbles (three lost) is unacceptable.
It’s hard enough to win in the NFL without beating yourself and that’s exactly what the Packers did against Minnesota and Dallas (six turnovers), the two teams that beat them.
3 — Hit Brian Hoyer all night long —
The Packers have a great pass rush and in fact, it has 15 sacks in five games or three per outing. Yet, against Dak Prescott, pressure on the quarterback, was non-existent.
Whether you are facing a rookie, a veteran or a backup, if you give a quarterback time to throw in the NFL, he will shred your defense to pieces.
That’s what happened to the Packers against Dallas. And that’s why Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and the rest of the pass rush has to show up. Mike Daniels needs to get a push inside, while Julius Peppers and Datone Jones, need to effective from multiple positions.
Green Bay has one of the top collections of pass rushers in pro football and in order to beat the Bears, the Packers need that collection to not only be productive — but to dominate.