Injured Packers' schedule may be their best friend
Stephen O'Brien, Packers contributor
A.J. Hawk. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Packers are looking shaken up.
The amount of injuries announced lately have shown just how shallow the Packers are at some positions.
I don’t mean to say that the Packers replacements at linebacker and wideout are not good. However, they are just inexperienced and experience stands for a lot in this league.
As with a breakup or a bereavement, the only thing that will mend the pain is time.
Injuries heal over time and the lower round draft picks stepping into their cleats will only get better with time also, right?
Is time enough, or do the Packers need help?
I believe that the upcoming schedule will greatly help the Packers and we should all quietly settle down and trust in what the Packers have always managed to do with free agents and low draft picks; turn them into bona fide champions.
The Packers' next game is against the Browns.
The Browns are a long-suffering team of poor performance, but this year they are 3-3 with the 7th-best defense in the league.
That said, the Browns' wins came against teams in the league where the offense is relatively one dimensional.
They defeated the Vikings, Bengals and Bills.
The Vikes have a struggling quarterback in Ponder, the very reason why Josh Freeman was brought to Minnesota.
They rely on Peterson to take the slack. One offensive weapon.
The Bengals rely on the Dalton-Green partnership, and if Green can be taken out of the game, the offense struggles.
The Bills have a raw rookie QB and a strong defense can disrupt a rookies rhythm.
Weeden is getting better but is still relatively inconsistent.
With the Packers' defense playing sensationally this season, recording multiple sacks and fumbles per game, the Browns defensive threat is lessened by the Packers ability to gain field advantage and points from strong defensive play.
The following two games after the Browns are against the Vikings and Bears.
The Vikings quarterback competition has the potential to disrupt Ponder’s already patchy play and the ability of the Packers defense to stop the run this season is incredible.
This will choke any opportunity for Minnesota to put points on the board without the help of kicker Blair Walsh.
The Bears, with Jay Cutler under center, always have a way of throwing the ball to the Packers defense.
With the Packers sacking quarterbacks in the form of Matthews and now Hawk in his stead, Cutler will be forced to throw early.
Cutler under pressure is always liable to cause turnovers, which would force the Bears to try and get more yards from the run game.
Last year, Pro Football Focus released a table of QB % under pressure and Cutler’s accuracy slumped to 58.1% when pressured.
To contrast, ARod was top of the table on TD passes thrown under pressure and his accuracy % was in the high seventies.
The Packers' outstanding form against the run means that this game looks like one that the Bears will not be able to get a W from.
This brings us to games against the Eagles, who the Packers have a winning record against going back to 2007, and the Giants.
The Giants have started atrociously this season, their worst start to a season since 1976.
These two games should also go the Packers' way as by now, the young players will have tasted success and gotten quality playing time, the veterans who are banged up should be coming back into the team and Rodgers will have struck up chemistry with his new look offense.
The lack of depth should be seen as a massive window of opportunity.
The upcoming games are there for the taking, and perhaps this spate of injuries is a sign.
When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, they had one of the youngest teams in the NFL.
With so many rookies making up the roster this year now, could we be looking at a repeat?