The bye week is gone and Packernation once again anticipates a big game with the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. For many, this game looks like one of the toughest challenges the Packers could face all season being at Mile High Stadium but coming after a much-needed bye. To me, the bye week is good but could present a challenge for an offense that seemed out of sync and while healthier now, may or may not have gotten any more on the same page. Davante Adams says that he is still not where he wants to be and Ty Montgomery will certainly have been doing his homework over the bye week and may be called upon to be more involved so there are still question marks out there. But here are three things that I am looking forward to coming off the bye, one of which, I have yet to see and a couple I just want to continue.
1. The Offense Getting “Right”
I don’t know if this one is going to happen coming off the bye. The offense has not been in sync and with Adams still not 100% and Ty Montgomery possibly not either, I would prefer to see health for the long haul rather than limping performance that aggravates injuries into December. The Packers have made a shift from a team that beats opponents by scoring to a team that relies on the defense to make it possible for the offense to score enough to win. But just wait until the Packers plays a great game in all three phases…that is going to be fun to watch and that is why I would rather sacrifice a little time now for a healthy offense when it really counts.
If Montgomery can get fully healthy, I think he can be a significant part of this offense hitting its stride. With Jones getting attention as a scoring machine and Randall Cobb hopefully able to get back to form, teams will be hard pressed to keep track of those two alone and will have to use resources to do so, rolling a safety over, bumping off the line, or shading in various ways. Whatever they do, the focus will make opportunities for Ty and I think he is ready for his breakout game.
2. Continued Dominance of the D-line
With Datone Jones coming on and BJ Raji getting healthy again, the Mike Daniels-led defensive line has become a major part of the Packers’ defense getting nasty and being dominant. I can’t wait to see what this line can do moving forward, especially because in the 3-4 system, it will allow Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers to have a heyday. The line has shown ability to get to the quarterback too and with Peyton Manning (not mobile) not having a good year, the Packers could hand him a very, very long and disappointing night.
The next couple of games will show if this Packers defense is as advertised and I think they are. It will be particularly important to stay sound coming off the bye against the Broncos (whose defense could be the best we’ve faced) and Panthers. Again, if the Packers offense hits its stride, this team overall is going to be hard to beat, but we are still waiting for that. In the meantime, the defense has become a proud unit and will need to stay strong.
3. Continued Development of the Defensive Backfield
When the Packers drafted a couple young defensive backs with the first two picks in the draft, many in Packernation raised their eyebrows as it looked like we were drafting for need and neither player was on many people’s radar. The move has paid off and Damarious Randall played a big part in the Packers’ win over the Chargers, knocking away what would have been a Malcom Floyd touchdown and then making the final play on defense that sealed the game.
But these guys will get better and are now healthier coming off the bye. I am really excited about the interplay between the defensive backfield covering guys, allowing the line and linebackers to get sacks and the line forcing errant throws that the defensive backfield can turn into interceptions. Peyton Manning has been a pick machine and my hope is that the Packers defense can continue that trend.
So those are a few things that I am looking for in the upcoming game against the Broncons, what are you watching for? Let us know in the comments below or back at our Facebook Fanpage.