Coming Off Complete Disinterest– Should Run Carolina, but…

There’s losing/getting beat, then there’s what the Packers did—not show up.  Without even looking at body-language, just the effort and execution (or lack thereof) were very apparent and the Chargers Beat They Ass.  This is what happens when you Roll The Helmets Out vs. a very talented and hungry team, on the road.  Ultimately this falls on the Head Coach, and it’s almost expected to happen with a new coach, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

I figured the Packers would have a letdown, but didn’t think it was coming in this game and didn’t think it would be this drastic.  Hopefully this is a wake-up call, but it doesn’t get any easier as in the next 3 weeks (2 games) are legitimate teams with huge ramifications on playoff seeding.  So, to take away, the “positives” from this game are:

  1. If you’re going to lose, might as well be a road game vs. an AFC opponent (tiebreakers don’t come into play).
  2. With as low an effort (none) as Green Bay showed, they did not commit a turnover at all.

Review—Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram were able to get to Rodgers, sometimes without even getting touched by either Bakhtiari or Bulaga.  The odd thing is the tackle combo (considered the best in the NFL) has been just awesome all year and completely didn’t show up this game.  They’re not the only ones at fault, but they had the worst game of anyone else.

The positives?  There weren’t any turnovers and usually everyone has a “clunker.”  However, it’s rare that good teams have one this bad, but it does happen…i.e. the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in Baltimore.

Preview—moving on…a rematch of the 1996 NFC Championship game: Carolina Panthers.

Yds/Gm Pass Rush Points SoS
Panthers O 339.8 (22) 206.9 (25) 132.9 (7) 26.1 (10) 0.9 (11)
Packers D 382.9 (26) 255.2 (21) 127.7 (24) 21.0 (11) 1.5 (4)
Panthers D 360.4 (19) 227.0 (9) 133.4 (26) 25.5 (21) +6 (5)
Packers O 352.4 (17) 257.1 (12) 95.3 (22) 25.1 (13) +7 (T-3)

Carolina is good.  They’re just a solid team.  They possess every bit as much talent as the LA Chargers, but it’s in different spots.  Their top two players are in solid spots: HB #22 Christian McCaffrey; MLB #59 Luke Kuechly.  Those two are certifiable studs and that doesn’t bode well since the Packers struggle vs. the rush.  In fact, looking at the table above, the Packers don’t have really any advantages yet they’re favored by 5.   However, the Panthers don’t seem to be a real contender, and the Packers need to prove that out come Sunday.

  1. The Panthers rank 1st in the NFL with 34 sacks and 4th in opponent QB rating: 77.5. The positives are the Packers rank 14th in sacks given up (20), and 7th in QB rating with 104.4.  Couple that with playing at home, in an ideal fall weather, coming off an embarrassment and in a damn near must-win game (that is if you have Super Bowl aspirations), it’s the Packers’ game to lose.
  2. Per usual, this game will come down to 2 things, QB-play and turnovers. I’ll throw in a 3rd, O-line play.  Bakhtiari and Bulaga need to step their game back up to the standard they’ve set this year vs. a formidable front 7: McCoy; Poe; Butler; Addison; Thompson; Kuechly; Irvin.  Those guys can’t take over like the Bosa/Ingram combo did last week.  So running the ball is imperative!
    1. The Panthers were able to give QB Kyle Allen a clean pocket vs. Tennessee, last week, and he proved to be very accurate. Let’s see what the Smith Bros. can drum up in terms of consistent pressure.
  3. The Panthers’ Kicker, Joey Slye, had some issues last week in perfect conditions. He missed a big extra point (to increase the lead to 17, a 3-score game), and missed a 49-yard FG.  The Packers should have a distinct advantage in the kicking game, considering Green Bay has 2 of the best (Crosby and Scott) and are used to kicking in Lambeau which is a tricky wind stadium.

Huge Game—the only opponents remaining on the schedule reside in the NFC.  Three of those teams have winning records, and it all begins with Carolina.  Hopefully the Packers aren’t looking ahead to the BYE or to the following week @ San Francisco.  Take care of business at home, and get rested at 8-2 heading into the Bye.  After that, the season will really be in Ramp Up time, and really start to get fun.  Lose?  Then it’s another Just get in the playoffs and see what happens type season…we know how that all works.

Panthers 28
Packers 31

Season: 5-4
Overall: 48-29

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