Each Wednesday throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush identifies one Packers player, coach or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week, Dan focuses on the overall need for Green Bay’s offense to turn it up a notch after scoring only 10 points in their playoff-clinching win over the Bears last week.
A win is a win, no matter how you look at it. But while no win could have been any bigger than the Packers’ must-win victory over the arch-rival Bears in their regular-season finale last week, the fact that the Packers’ offense managed only 10 points is cause for concern.
Looking back over the regular season, one can clearly see that, as explosive as the Packers’ offense has been, it has also shown a real tendency to shut down on occasion. In addition to last week’s relatively meager output against an admittedly very respectable Bears defense, the offense had major problems getting its act together against both the Lions (scoring only three points in a 7-3 loss) and the Jets (only nine points in a 9-0 victory) on the road to the playoffs.
The good news is that, thanks to their defense, the Packers won two of those games. The better news is that the offense has made a habit of rebounding big-time after sluggish efforts, exploding with 45 points against the Cowboys after struggling against the Jets and registering 27 points against the Patriots after managing a mere field goal in Detroit.
Three things in particular must happen on offense late Sunday afternoon: (1) Green Bay’s receivers all need to do a better job of holding on to Aaron Rodgers’ passes than they did against the Bears, (2) the ground game has to show major improvement after Packers RBs managed only 39 yards on 16 carries last week and (3) first-round ORT Bryan Bulaga needs to get out of the funk he has been in the past three games, being called for four pretty costly penalties in Week 17.