For the longest time, the Green Bay Packers have been carried by
good outstanding quarterback play. Much to the surprise of no one, if Green Bay is without their Hall of Fame quarterback, they completely incapable of pulling off a run like the Eagles did last year.
But things may be changing in the land of the cheese. Aaron Rodgers isn’t off to his hottest start and is still hobbled over a Week 1 injury, but the Packers are still winning. Could this team finally be a little more well-rounded, and give the Detroit Lions fits on Sunday? Let’s take a closer look at this 2018 Packers team.
7-9 record (3rd in NFC North)
21st in points scored, 26th in points allowed
Overall DVOA: 17th (15th on offense, 20th on defense)
Key free agent additions:
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (IR), TE Jimmy Graham, CB Tramon Williams, TE Marcedes Lewis, CB Bashaud Breeland, T Byron Bell, QB DeShone Kizer (trade)
Key losses: WR Jordy Nelson, QB Joe Callahan
2018 NFL draft picks:
Round 1, 18 overall - CB Jaire Alexander
Round 2, Pick 45 - CB Joshua Jackson
Round 3, Pick 88 - LB Oren Burks
Round 4, Pick 133 - WR J’Mon Moore
Round 5, Pick 138 - G Cole Madison
Round 5, Pick 172 - P JK Scott
Round 5, Pick 174 - WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Round 6, Pick 207 - WR Equanimeous St. Brown
Round 7, Pick 232 - DE James Looney
Round 7, Pick 239 - LS Hunter Bradley
Round 7, Pick 248 - LB Kendall Donnerson
It was a pretty unconventional offseason for the Green Bay Packers. With new general manager Brian Gutekunst taking charge, the Packers were uncharacteristically active in free agency. Their signings of Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson were heralded as prime pickups, and Packers fans were welcoming this new era of aggressive offseasons. Unfortunately for Green Bay, Wilkerson has already suffered an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve.
For the second straight year, the Packers went back-to-back defensive backs to kick off their draft. Jaire Alexander was considered the top cornerback by some (though most agreed on Denzel Ward, who went fourth overall), and the young corner has already overtaken a starting role and notched his first career interception.
2018 season thus far (2-1-1)
- 19th in points scored, 11th in points allowed
- 10th in DVOA (14th on offense, 13th on defense)
The Packers got a very quick litmus test in the NFC North, facing the Bears and Vikings to kick off the season. Things got off to a disastrous start as Aaron Rodgers injured his leg early in the season opener and the Packers quickly fell behind 20-0. But Rodgers put on a phenomenal second-half performance and mounted a truly amazing comeback.
Interestingly enough, the Packers have been boosted by their defense thus far. Their beefed up secondary is allowing a passer rating of just 86.9 (11th) and only 7.1 yards per attempt (t-eighth). However, their run defense is a different story. They’ve allowed 4.5 yards per carry (21st) and three rushing touchdowns (t-15th). That being said, the entire defense has been wildly inconsistent. They were absolutely dominated by Washington, let Kirk Cousins throw for over 400 yards against them, and the Bears even imposed their will for a half. There are still a lot of questions with this defensive unit, but it looks a little better than previous years.
Offensively, you’ve probably heard by now that Rodgers wasn’t happy with the team’s offensive performance in their 22-0 shutout last week, and he’s got a point. Rodgers currently has his lowest completion percentage (63.5) in three yards, his yards per attempt (7.2) is well below his career average (7.8), and his touchdown percentage (4.5) is currently the lowest of his entire career. Of course, all of those stats are perfectly fine when compared to the rest of the league, but the Packers’ overall offensive struggle is real.
Green Bay currently ranks 27th in touchdowns per drive, and the Lions aren’t the only team with red zone issues. Green Bay’s touchdown percentage of 41.7 inside the 20-yard line ranks them fifth-worst in the league.
But if you’re a Lions fan, you’re probably interested in how good Green Bay’s running game is, considering how poorly Detroit has defended the run thus far. Unfortunately, it’s only bad news here. The Packers’ run offense ranks ninth in DVOA, t-eighth in yards per carry (4.5) and t-third in percentage of runs earning first downs (29.7). Interestingly enough, despite all of these solid efficiency rankings, the Packers don’t run the ball that often. They’ve attempted just 91 rushes through four games, good for 23rd in the league.
Vegas line for Sunday: Packers by 1.5