Stick a fork in the Packers – they’re done

Aaron RodgersWhen the Saints blasted them 51-29 last Monday night, my writing cohort John Paulsen wrote in the comment section of my game recap that his Packers just weren’t a very good team. After watching them choke away multiple leads in a 35-31 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, I would have to agree to JP – the Packers just flat out aren’t that good this season.

The offense is fine – Aaron Rodgers threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday – but the defense is average at best. Pundits like to talk about what kind of team the Packers would be if they still had Brett Favre, but Brett had a better defense on the other side of the ball last year.

This was a Panthers team that couldn’t move the ball against Oakland three weeks ago, struggled to beat the Lions and then was waxed last Sunday in Atlanta. Yet they were able to rack up 130 yards on the ground and 35 points despite losing the time of possession battle 37:52 to 22:08. It’s amazing how ineffective the Green Bay front seven has been this year after being one of the bright spots in 2007.

Mathematically the Packers are still in the playoff hunt (they could still even win their pathetic division), but how could you like this team’s chances of making a run over the next four weeks? Offensively they can hang with most opponents, but defensively they consistently get gashed on the ground.

Conversely, this was a massive victory for the Panthers. That catch by Steve Smith to set up the eventual game-winning touchdown was unreal. To go into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers in Green Bay in late November is impressive. Unfortunately for them the Bucs won, but they’ll have their shot to revenge a Week 6 loss to Tampa next Monday night in Carolina. Winner takes sole possession of first place in arguably the most exciting division in the NFL – the NFC South.

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