GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03: (R-L) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 and Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers walk through the tunnel before taking on the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Packers defeated the Cardinals 33-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Green Bay Packers got beat fair and square Sunday night against the New York Giants. The Giants were just the better team in every aspect and they really brought to light some of the areas the Packers are lacking because of injuries to star players.
The first thing is obviously the offensive line. Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times Sunday night and was constantly getting chased from the pocket. Injuries have made it very difficult on the offensive linemen but you can’t blame everything on injuries. The Packers will have to make do with the players they have healthy and try to come up with ways to keep Rodgers upright and in the pocket.
A boost in offensive line play could also bring an increase in the running game production. Cedric Benson’s return will also help, but it wasn’t like he was the best solution either. The Packers won’t give up on establishing a running game, so they need to at least improve it. They can’t just keep running the ball for three yards on first and second down and then rely on a pass completion on third down.
The return of Greg Jennings should also help Rodgers. Jennings is a very difficult receiver to cover and should give a lot of help to the other receivers, especially Jordy Nelson, who seems to do the best when he is a number two receiver.
Green Bay’s defense greatly misses Clay Matthews. Without Matthews, the run defense is not nearly as effective, as shown on Sunday as the Giants averaged 4.7 yards per rush. Where the Packers feel Matthews’ loss the most is in the pass rush.
The Packers only sacked Eli Manning once during the game and really had no pressure on him besides that one sack. If you give a good quarterback a chance to just sit back in the pocket he will destroy you, heck if you give any quarterback that much time he will destroy you.
It really is difficult to judge how good the Packers could be because of all their injuries. It appears that Greg Jennings will be back soon and that Cedric Benson’s return is also nearing but that won’t solve all their problems. But while the injuries are greatly hurting the Packers now, it should prove to be a positive next couple of weeks as the team would seemingly improve when all the injured players come back.
The Packers are still in the thick of the playoff chase and will most likely land a spot in the playoffs. But there should be cause for concern because the Packers are currently 2-4 against teams with a winning record. Everybody knows that the playoffs can be won by the team that is the hottest so the Packers should shoot for getting hot right before the playoffs and hopefully that means some of the injured players are back and playing.
They should also try and avoid the Giants in the playoffs at all costs.