Things are certainly not getting any easier for the Packers following their humbling loss in Denver last Sunday night. Awaiting them is another undefeated squad in Carolina that poses many of the same threats as the Broncos. Led by a talented defense and a highly-efficient offense, the Panthers now sit alone atop the NFC. It goes without saying that this game will likely have major implications come playoff time.
Once again, the Green Bay offense will have their hands full and cannot afford another sub-par performance. A big reason for the struggles in Denver was the receivers' inability to get open against man coverage. Denver plays arguably the best man-coverage defense in the league. Carolina, on the other hand, plays some of the most effective zone defense, led by breakout cornerback Josh Norman. In a perfect world, this difference in defensive strategy will benefit the Packers and give Aaron Rodgers open receivers to throw to.
Beyond the passing game, the offense is still struggling to establish a running attack with Eddie Lacy. Once again, the Panthers don't plan on making it easy for Green Bay to do this week. The linebacker duo of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are strong in pursuit and rarely let a ball carrier slip through their grasp. The Packers offense desperately needs to find some sort of rhythm, any way they can find it. The problem here is Carolina's ability to shut down both phases of the offense. Green Bay has little to no chance in this game if they have a performance similar to last week.
On the flip side, Carolina also possesses the best rushing attack in the game, averaging 144 yards per game. With a defense as stout as theirs, an effective running game is the perfect complement. Green Bay, who is 25th in the league stopping the run, will certainly have their hands full. The Cam Newton effect does not help, either. Stopping a running back is one thing. Containing a rushing quarterback is something totally different, and something this defense traditionally struggles with.
All in all, Green Bay has enough playmakers that they should be able to find a rhythm and be effective in this game. Carolina is solid in every aspect of the game, and is more than capable of dominating every phase. Something needs to give in this game. One thing is for certain: a repeat performance for Green Bay will not get the job done.