Analysis: Packers Offense Finishes Strong (Except Against The Bears)

QB Aaron Rodgers was so good in December that he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month despite the fact that he missed one and a half games last month. Kevin Seifert has a great article on Rodgers, specifically it's the best rebuttal to any argument that he can't win the close the games, but it also takes you on a trip down memory lane to some of his memorable games over the past two seasons. While trends can turn around quickly, it is notable that the Packers offense has generally played better over the past few weeks then it did earlier in the season. 

Here's how he the offense played in the last five games in which Rodgers started and finished the game:

Opponent Total Yards Rodgers's QB Rating Team Yards Per Carry Points Scored Turnovers per Game
2010 Average 358 101.2 3.8 24.2 1.38
Vikings 374 141.3 3.0 31 0
Falcons 418 114.5 3.3 17 1
49ers 410 135.1 4.0 34 0
Giants 515 139.9 3.4 45 1
Bears 284 89.7 2.6 10 2

Unfortunately this analysis avoids one of the elephants in the room: the lousy offensive performance against at the Lions. That was really on the offensive line, as they struggled to protect either Rodgers or QB Matt Flynn. The good news is that the line didn't have those same problems against the Bears or Falcons. They did struggle early against the Eagles as DE Trent Cole beat LT Chad Clifton in the first quarter.

Also, as clearly evidenced during the Bears game, this has not been a great rookie season for RT Bryan Bulaga. It's key that they provide consistent pass protection early. It would help avoid early interceptions, such as the ones Rodgers threw against the Eagles in week 1 and against the Cardinals in last year's playoff loss.

Mike McCarthy's offense has always struggled against the Bears, so that last game isn't an indicator until the Packers play the Bears again. Even including that game, the Packers have generally been above average in nearly every category listed above, except yards per carry. The running game won't be a big play weapon in the playoffs, but the emergence of FB John Kuhn as a reliable short yardage runner has been a huge boost. It was painful to watch them struggle to convert so many short yardage situations on 3rd down earlier in the season.

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