Aaron Rodgers has been playing angry and focused the last two weeks. He's going to have to keep that drive going if the Packers are going to win against the Jaguars this week, no matter how easy the game looks on paper.
In the NFL you have to be ruthless. It doesn't matter how much hardship the opposing team is going through, you have to beat them down some more as best you can if you want to win week in and week out. And let’s be honest with ourselves….the Packers haven’t been good at ruthless this year. When the Saints came marching into town needing a win to salvage their season, the Packers struggled to put them away. When the Colts were going all #Chuckstrong, the Packers folded and took their foot off the pedal letting the game get away from them in the second half. Not exactly a killer instinct there.
The good news is that this has gotten better slowly over the course of the season. The Packers buried the Texans in their Sunday Night Football debut. The Packers were throwing deep balls for touchdowns well past the time when the Rams were done on Sunday. So maybe there is some ice water flowing their the veins of our favorite team. This week will be a good test of that with the injured and reeling Jacksonville Jaguars coming into town.
The main person to bring that killer instinct to the team has got to be Aaron Rodgers. He sets the tone for the team. When Rodgers is pissed and looking to prove what he can do for the league the Packers typically win…and win big. When Rodgers gets complacent or cute with the offense….well they struggle. With the Packers still two games behind the Chicago Bears for the division and some costly NFC losses early on, it’s no time to be cute. It’s time to rack up wins.
As one scans the Jacksonville secondary there aren’t too many big names that pop out. Veterans Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox start on either side of the line up with Aaron Ross and William Middleton backing them up. Dawan Landry and Dwight Lowery man the safety spots covering the back end. Not exactly rock stars back there.
But then again big names aren’t everything. Sometimes it’s the players that you don’t know that can beat an unsuspecting team. So I decided to dig into the team stats and see where the Jags pass defense is lining up with the rest of the league. By traditional statistics, most notably yards allowed, the Jags rank 24th in passing defense. Meanwhile Football Outsiders put them in the bottom third of the league for pass defense and number 30 in the league.
Moral of the story is that this is a winnable game for Aaron Rodgers and the high powered passing attack of the Packers. The main key to this game is keeping focus. No matter how badly these players rank on any given stat they are still professional football players. They are paid too. If you take any team lightly then they can, and will, beat you. It’s time to buckle down, stack success, and regain that killer instinct.