Even Ragnar, mascot for the Minnesota Vikings, respects what Aaron Rodgers has done so far this season. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
With the bye week ahead for the Green Bay Packers, it's a chance to let the players rest, let other players heal, and for the coaches to spend some extra time preparing for one of their toughest road games of the season: in San Diego on November 6th.
The only injury of note was a hand injury to Greg Jennings. He hurt it early against the Vikings, but he came back later to catch six more passes including his long touchdown. He admitted it hurt to catch a pass. Hopefully the bye week is coming at a good time for him.
While looking back at the season so far, when teams have played either six or seven games, it isn't a true mid-point analysis. But it doesn't hurt to see how the Packers have played so far this season beyond their 7-0 record.
125.7. Through the first seven games, Aaron Rodgers has a crazy QB rating of 125.7 for the season. Tom Brady is a distant second at 104.8. Rodgers had his best statistical game of the season (146.55 rating) against the Vikings.
3.8 ypc. Despite a strong finish against the Vikings by James Starks, the Packers remain below average while running. With only 5 rushing touchdowns and 3 plays of more than 20 yards, it's not an explosive running game. Overall I've got no complaints about the offense. I'm only pointing out some room for improvement.
11 INTs. The pass defense leads the NFL with 11 INTs, but that doesn't translate to their QB rating against (79.3), which ranks them as the 9th best pass defense. They've surrendered the most passing yards in the NFL (2,022), which shows where they can improve, but also highlights that only the Raiders and the Bears have had more passes attempted against them. The bye week might really help the secondary as S Morgan Burnett (broken hand), CB Tramon Williams (bruised shoulder) and CB Sam Shields (concussion) might all feel better in a couple weeks.
4.6 ypc against. After the gashing by Adrian Peterson, the Packers have now allowed 4.6 ypc against. While I don't think it is as important to be dominant against the run, a run-first offense would be hard pressed to match the Packers offense, it is an area for improvement. When Peterson was making a big run, it seemed like there were either no linebackers around or they were failing to contain the play. Erik Walden hasn't been too impressive this season, and hopefully Frank Zombo (hyperextended knee) returns healthy after the bye week. That's assuming Zombo is even an improvement over Walden.
Special teams. Mason Crosby is having his best season. He's made every kick attempt so far this season. Tim Masthay was off to a horrible start, but his net average is up to 33.5 (not good, but getting better). We've seen the good from Randall Cobb (touchdown return against the Saints) and the bad (fumbles against the Panthers and Vikings). Overall, it's not been a great unit, but they're playing better than they have in recent seasons.
Overall it's a dominant pass offense with a better than some stats indicate pass defense. They've fallen behind at times, but they eventually hit the gas to either pull away on offense or shut down their opponents with turnovers. It's not a 7-0 team built on smoke and mirrors. They are a very good team that is building off the success of their win in the Super Bowl.