I, like many Packer fans, was getting a little panicky after the Colts loss last week. It felt like the season could suddenly be in question. That another road loss to the undefeated Texans could send us reeling. Aaron Rodgers's response? "Shhhhh..."
The Packers came out with both fists blazing Sunday night. Part of it was the law of averages -- after so many bad calls and bizarre plays this season, the luck of the draw finally seemed to be on our side with multiple Houston mistakes and 3 Packer take-aways. But with Jennings, Benson and Raji out, Finley limited, and Williams, Shields and Perry leaving the game with injuries, the Packers still put a beat-down on the team many thought was the best in the NFL -- demonstrating on national television why they should still be in the discussion for Super Bowl favorites.
Rodgers' 338-yard, 6 touchdown performance was epic (bonus for me: he's on my fantasy team as well!). Putting the league on notice that even with half his horses nursing injuries, Rodgers can shred one of the best defenses in the NFL. In fact, by yards allowed, the Texans were the top defense in the league coming in to Sunday. Which brings us to a very important point: the Packers have faced some seriously talented defenses so far this season -- having now played 4 of the top 5 defenses in the NFL: the Texans, 49ers, Cowboys, Bears, and Seahawks. One might reasonably expect the offense to struggle at times against these opponents.
As emphatic as Sunday's win was, the Packers need to maintain their intensity over the next 3 weeks. The Rams in St. Louis next week are always tough, and have a very stout defense (#7 in the league). Then the Jaguars and Cardinals at home, and the Cardinals also are very solid defensively (#10 in the league). If Green Bay can hold serve through these three games, they would go into their bye week 6-3 and in very reasonable shape to contend for the NFC North. But it will be a battle. With 5 of their last 7 games against NFC North opponents, the season will likely be decided late.