Week 2 Takeaways

downloadIt’s far too early to talk about the NFL playoffs — but one can be sure that home field advantage was top of mind for the Packers as they lined up against the same Seahawks team that spoiled their Super Bowl chances in Seattle this past January. Playing with much more discipline and focus than in Week 1, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers overcame key in-game injuries to defeat the Seahawks for the first time in six seasons – helping ensure that the road to Super Bowl 50 goes through Green Bay.

Twenty-seven points on offense was about the best Green Bay could expect from a banged-up unit facing arguably the best defense in the game. With Bryan Bulaga sidelined due to injury, it was the expectation of most that Rodgers would feel pressure from his right side, an area now protected by backup O-lineman Don Barclay. Interestingly enough, it was left tackle David Bakhtiari that was pushed around by the physical Seattle D-line.

Fortunately for Green Bay, Rodgers’s much underrated mobility bailed out the O-line and also proved valuable when his receivers struggled to get separation downfield. Desperately missing outlet receiver Jordy Nelson, Rodgers was forced to pick up first downs with his legs and make many throws on the run. Rodgers did receive help from second-year tight end Richard Rodgers, who found ways to get open in the red zone and appears to have developed some chemistry with the Packers’ signal caller.

On defense, the Packers corrected a number of issues that plagued the unit in Week 1. The defensive line, in particular, held its ground and showed excellent pursuit of halfback Marshawn Lynch right out of the gate. Leading the way was nose tackle B.J. Raji, who may have played his best game since the 2011 season. Linebackers Nick Perry and Nate Palmer were also active contributors in what was a very down night for Lynch.

Dom Capers and the defense as a whole have to feel good about their performance against one of the NFC’s best running backs and one of the league’s best tight ends. However, the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks – as well as the inability to finish tackles on blitzes – continue to hurt this defense. Additionally, the Packers were burned by the read option on several different occasions — something that has been an issue in the past and could surface again in Week 4 versus Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers.

Next Monday, the Packers host a Kansas City Chiefs team that is comparable to the Seahawks in terms of strengths. The Chiefs are a run-first offense with a very good pass rush on defense that can force opposing offenses to play at their tempo. With the Packers missing three of their best players on offense and two starters on defense, securing a win in next Monday’s contest could prove equally as difficult as the victory over Seattle.

Week 2 Takeaways

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