That blunt proclamation from Aaron Rodgers earlier this week came amid media scrutiny on the play of the Green Bay quarterback in wake of the Packers’ lackluster offensive performance in a 17-14 loss at Minnesota.
Rodgers fumbled the ball three times—fortunately losing just one—and throwing the game-clinching interception on Green Bay’s last drive in the final two minutes of the contest. He was outplayed by Sam Bradford in his first game in a Vikings uniform.
A week earlier, Rodgers ran for a touchdown and threw for two scores as the Packers pulled out a victory in Jacksonville in the season opener.
The Minnesota game marked the 14th straight contest in which Rodgers’ quarterback rating was less than 100.0. During that span, Green Bay has posted a 6-8 record.
As Rodgers goes, so go the Packers.
“The quarterback gets too much of the credit when things go right and too much of the blame when things go wrong,” former head coach Mike Ditka once said. “But it’s a team game. It takes 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense.”
The Packers offense has certainly not been in sync in the first two games of the 2016. This is no typo: Green Bay is currently ranked 31st in passing offense. But Rodgers is showing no signs of panic. Nor is his head coach.
“I have great confidence in Aaron,” Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never trusted a quarterback or an individual as a player more than I trust Aaron Rodgers. His work ethic is at the top of his career. .. it’s a process. We’ll all stick to the process and from that we’ll have success.”
The Packers host division rival Detroit at 12 noon Sunday at Lambeau Field. The game is televised exclusively in Western Wisconsin by FOX 25/48. Both teams are 1-1, while the 2-0 Vikings travel to Carolina to face the 1-1 Panthers.
Last year, Detroit ended an NFL-record drought by defeating Green Bay 18-16—its first victory on Wisconsin soil since 1991. That started a surprising string of three straight home losses to NFC North opponents as the Packers finished with a mundane 5-3 record at venerable Lambeau Field.
Since the 15-1 season in 2011, the Packers have posted 8-0, 7-1, 4-3-1, and 8-0 records at its storied stadium.
If the Packers expect to dethrone the Vikings as division champions, they have to take care of business at home. That starts Sunday.
Can the Green Bay offense get back on track? Better field position will help, something they did not enjoy at deafening US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis last week. Every aspect of the offense performance must improve, from run and pass blocking to pass routes and quarterback decision-making.
“It’s Week 2, there’s always a lot of work to do,” Rodgers said after the Vikings loss. “We’re close at times. We just need to figure out what our identity is. That’s created throughout the season. . . We just didn’t have enough success on third down and we turned the ball over too much.”
The Lions do not have an elite defense like Minnesota’s. This affords the Packers the perfect opportunity for Eddie Lacy and James Starks to get untracked, which should open up passing opportunities for Rodgers and his receiving corps.
Green Bay’s defense has been solid, especially its top-ranked run defense. All eyes will be on the offense and Rodgers on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Week 3 NFL Picks
Packers 34, Lions 20
It’s Week 3. Rodgers and the out-of-sync offense find their rhythm against the Lions at home. Green Bay defense and turnovers are the difference at Lambeau in home opener.