In an interview with local reporters Wednesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his team is still capable of winning out. Thus, making the playoffs.
The idea on its face is laughable. As his evidence, Rodgers cited the Packers offense, which he said was starting to “click.”
In some ways, Rodgers is right, but in others, he is very wrong.
The Packers have started to go a good job of racking up yards. In five of the last seven games, Green Bay has gained more than 400 yards.
The problem? In those seven games, the Packers have scored more than 30 points just once, in a loss to Atlanta. Their opponents, on the other hand, have eclipsed the 30-point mark five times, including four times in a row.
But Rodgers statement about the offense clicking in these last four games is interesting. It does seem to be more productive, but particularly in the last three, the production always comes when Green Bay is behind.
That’s because the Packers have been flat awful in the first quarter. And not just the last four weeks — all season long.
Throughout the 10 games Green Bay has played this season, the Packers have scored double-digit points in the first quarter just twice, in Week 3,when they scored 14 against Detroit and when they had 10 against the Colts.
In the last three weeks alone, the Packers have been outscored 42-10 (32 points) in the first quarter. Green Bay was outscored in other three quarters of those three games by just 13 points.
So while the offense has played well the past few weeks, it hasn’t done so when it mattered, when the game was close.
Against the Colts, Green Bay scored two late touchdowns. In Washington, the Packers again scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, after scoring 10 points in the first three quarters.
That’s not an offense that’s clicking.
So if Rodgers really believes this Packers team can win out, it’s time to put his money where his mouth is. It’s time for him to step up and play like a two-time MVP — from the opening kickoff.
Imagine how different the game would have been against the Titans or Redskins had Green Bay drove down and scored an opening-drive touchdown; if the Packers scored 10 or 14 points on their opening possessions, as they used to do so frequently.
Sometimes the best help for a struggling defense, is a good offense. An offense that gets first downs, controls the clock and gets the lead. Trust me, it’s much easier to play defense up 14 or 10-0 than it is down 21-0.
Are the Packers capable of winning six straight or even five of six to get back in the playoff race? Sure. A lot of things are possible, but in this instance, unless Rodgers and the Packers begin starting faster on offense, the struggles will continue.