Green Bay Packers Momentum Needs to Carry On to Keep Their Playoff Hopes Alive

After the Green Bay Packers were embarrassed at home in prime time by the Detroit Lions, they faced a must win situation when they traveled south to take on the Chicago Bears last Sunday. Since the Packers lost starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone in their week six loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers lost their next two games, to the New Orleans Saints and the Lions, both at Lambeau Field. It appeared that without Rodgers, their season was circling the drain. But that changed when they traveled to Soldier Field last Sunday and took on the Bears. With their backs against the wall, the Packers finally showed some life, something they hadn’t done since Rodgers went out. The Packers came out with a 23-16 victory. Not only did they take home a win, but they also created some momentum. The Green Bay Packers momentum needs to carry on to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Green Bay Packers Momentum Needs to Carry On to Keep Their Playoff Hopes Alive

It would be understandable that the Packers would struggle without Rodgers. Rodgers not only is their star quarterback, but he is the player that hides many of the Packers deficiencies, especially their issues on defense. But it wasn’t that they just struggled in their losses to the Saints and the Lions, they appeared to not even show up, offensively and defensively. Heading into their game with the Bears, the Packers knew they had to come out with a victory, but they also needed to show the NFL that they weren’t dead.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Packers did show some life and their young quarterback, Brett Hundley, finally started getting into a groove, something he hadn’t shown in the two previous games. Hundley finished the day going 18 of 25 for 212 yards passing with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. Hundley made several clutch passes down the stretch to wide receiver Davante Adams, who finished the day with five catches for 90 yards and one touchdown. It wasn’t the same type of passing attack Packers fans are used to when Rodgers is under center, but it was a passing attack that was precise and moved the chains.

The passing attack wasn’t the only part of the offense that showed some life, the running game did as well, although it wasn’t from starting running back Aaron Jones, who left early in the first half with a knee injury. Without Jones, the Packers depended on fellow running backs Ty Montgomery, who also left the game with an injury (ribs), and rookie Jamal Williams to carry the load in the running game. Before exiting the game, Montgomery carried the ball six times for 54 yards, 37 of those yards coming on a touchdown run. With both Jones and Montgomery out, Williams stepped in and carried the ball 20 times for 67 hard fought yards. Williams displayed power, something that he did on a consistent basis while he played at BYU.

With Hundley in charge of the offense, head coach Mike McCarthy knows he can’t win the same way they did when Rodgers was in charge. Although he can’t be as conservative as he was in Hundley’s first two games as a starter, he will need to run a balanced attack and make sure to put Hundley in the best position to make plays, with his legs and arm. Last Sunday against an underrated Bears defense, the Packers did just that. The win illustrates to his teammates that Hundley can lead a winning offense.

Defense Shows Improvement

The Bears don’t have an elite offense, that is well known, but they do have an offense that can run the ball. With knowing that, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers biggest priority was making sure that the Bears running attack, led by Jordan Howard, didn’t beat them. Led by defensive tackles Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark, the Packers held Howard to just 54 yards on 15 carries. Clark has been playing at a high level throughout the season, but Daniels hadn’t had a solid game since the Packers season opening victory over the Seattle Seahawks. But against the Bears, Daniels showed up, posting five tackles and a sack.

Although the Packers secondary still struggled, by allowing Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to throw for 297 yards and a touchdown, the Packers finally started pressuring the opposing quarterback. Outside linebacker Nick Perry posted three sacks on the day, showing why the Packers gave him a new big money contract this offseason. For the day, the Packers had five sacks. If the secondary is going to continue to struggle, it is essential for the Packers to create a pass rush, otherwise opposing quarterbacks will sit in the pocket and rip apart their secondary.

Martellus Bennett Fiasco Could Galvanize the Packers

Not only should the victory by the Packers last Sunday help build momentum, but the Martellus Bennett fiasco should help galvanize this team. Bennett and his agent can spin it anyway they want, but he quit on the Packers once Rodgers went out with his injury. It doesn’t matter what level you are playing football at, when a player quits like Bennett did, it should only fire up the rest of the team. Bennett decided that the Packers couldn’t win without Rodgers and during the bye week, he started to draw up his escape. It wasn’t just the way that Bennett departed that should anger the Packers, it is also the fact that one of their own quit on them. Although it was a major distraction going into the Bears game, the Bennett departure could be possibly lighting a spark under the Packers and their chances of staying alive until Rodgers can come back.

It will be a long shot for Hundley and company to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the win over the Bears, on the road, along with the Bennett situation, should create momentum for the rest of the Packers season. Last Sunday showed that they can win a game without Rodgers at the helm, something many thought they couldn’t do. It is now up to McCarthy and the rest of the Packers to utilize this momentum.

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