After an offseason full of Final Jeopardy-level mind-numbing questions and very few answers, Aaron Rodgers went out and had one of the worst games of his NFL career. Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were thoroughly dominated by the offensive and defensive fronts of the New Orleans Saints.
New Saints QB Jameis Winston looked like prime Drew Brees. Winston threw five touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Rodgers threw zero touchdowns and had two costly turnovers in a 38-3 blowout loss.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur decided to sit all of his starters in the preseason, and the lack of preparation showed in the first week of the season. Nevertheless, the Packers will return to Lambeau Field for a showdown with division rival Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. This game is an excellent time to get right.
Green Bay has many reasons to go all-in this year, and many fans believe that this season is once again Super Bowl-or-bust. The added pressure that is the uncertainty of Rodger’s relationship and future with the team has put a mostly negative spotlight on Rodgers. Fortunately, that’s where Aaron shines.
Mr. Rebound (Aaron) Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers looked lost and unprepared against the Saints after a preseason of doubt and time away from the team. Last year’s MVP uncharacteristically threw two picks, including a brack-breaking red zone interception when a touchdown would have put the Pack right back in the game.
Call me crazy but one bad performance is not enough to write off one of the greatest football players in history. The three-time most valuable player has always shown an ability to bounce back from adversity with a spirit of vengeance. Rodgers was spectacular coming off losses last season, averaging 4 touchdowns and 266 yards. More importantly, the Packers won all four games.
Rodgers and the Pack will look to continue their streak of winning after a loss and during their week 2 matchup with the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a team that struggled defensively in week 1. Detroit enters the game without the number three overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft Jeff Okudah. The talented young corner was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a ruptured Achilles.
The Lions do not have a corner talented enough to stop Davante Adams, who is in line for a monster game after being limited in week one. One of the few positives from the Packers’ loss was speedster WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. MVS showed some improvement in his route-running and softer hands. Look for both Adams and MVS to have a big day. We can also expect a couple of clutch catches by Aaron Rodgers bestie Randall Cobb. That, combined with an improved offensive game plan by LaFleur, based on balance, will hopefully prove week one to be an outlier.
It’s A Team Game
While much of the blame for the Saints’ fiasco was directed towards Rodgers, the rest of the Packers looked lethargic. One of the oldest truths in football is that whoever wins in the trenches, wins the game. The Packers’ defensive front was unable to put any pressure on Winston and had difficulty slowing the Saints rushing attack. The offensive line, minus standout Elton Jenkins, had similar troubles which resulted in Rodgers have trouble on throws that required extra time in the pocket.
The Packers’ offense has been dominant against the NFC North under Coach LaFleur, and another dominant performance is needed to put the Packers back on track. LaFleur’s offense has been at its best when it has been able to run the ball, use motion to scheme open players, and when Rodgers gets the ball out of his hand quickly.
Green Bay should be able to run the ball against Detroit, who gave up 131 yards on 28 attempts and two touchdowns to the 49ers running back committee in a week one loss. Packer runners combined for a dismal 43 yards on the ground against the Saints, despite high expectations from the trio of Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, and preseason standout Kylin Hill.
Lambeau Luck and Leaps and Lions Oh My
The undeniable mystique of Lambeau Field may be felt less by the divisional foe Lions team, who bring a beloved face back to Green Bay in charismatic RB Jamal Williams. Williams hilarious media answers and swaggy dance moves combined with a hard-nosed running style to make him a fan-favorite in Green Bay. Whether he is still loved enough to potentially do a Lambeau Leap is questionable.
Along with Williams, the Lions’ revamped offense is helmed by newly acquired quarterback Jared Goff. In last season’s NFC Divisional round of the playoffs, Goff felt the true Frozen Tundra when he and the Los Angeles Rams were beaten soundly by the Packers. Goff does not have the benefit of the strong offensive mind of Rams coach Sean McVay or line and weapons that he enjoyed in LA.
For the Packers, a home game will be welcome. Rodgers must have acclimated to the chilly Wisconsin weather, as he has an inexplicably terrible record and TD/INT ratio when playing in the sunny states of Florida and his home state of California. A source of optimism for the cheeseheads, the Packers will return home to Green Bay and a possible sub-70-degree night game.
No matter their talent level, the Lions have a history of playing the Packers competitively. Hower; Rodgers looking for revenge will result in a much-needed Packers victory.
Aaron Rodgers throws 2 TD’s and Jones and Dillon each have a score.
PREDICTION: Packers Win 34-24