The offense stole the spotlight against the Eagles as Aaron Rodgers tossed three more touchdowns on 341 passing yards. However, the defense and special teams contributed 21 of the 53 total points, with touchdowns scored on an interception, fumble and punt return. For Julius Peppers and Casey Hayward, these touchdowns were their second on the season – simply outstanding for two players who aren’t every-down starters.
The defense may not boast prestigious rankings at the moment but Dom Capers’ unit has been as opportunistic as any in the league through 11 weeks. It’s no secret that the defense’s play as a whole has been elevated by the move of Clay Matthews inside. This move has decreased Green Bay’s liability in the middle of the field and has allowed Capers to be creative with the use of Matthews and Peppers in blitz packages.
In addition to Matthews, several other defensive players have stepped up, including safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, linebacker Nick Perry and nose tackle Letroy Guion. The improvements are reminiscent of the defense from the 2010 season, which lacked statistical prowess but played opponents tough for four quarters.
With only two difficult games left on the schedule, the Packers have a legitimate chance at securing the No.2 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC Playoffs by the end of the regular season. The health of the offensive line remains highly important during the six remaining games, in order to protect the team’s greatest asset.