The 2003 Milwaukee Brewers finished the season with a 68-94 record. A team that putrid does not give fans much to discuss, a fact best shown by the “Is Matt Kinney or Wayne Franklin the #2 starter?” debate. It’s important to remember such discussions to keep perspective when things are going very well for your team, as is the case with the 5-0 Green Bay Packers.
The undefeated Packers beg an unexpected question: is their offense the second best unit on the team?
Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers has mastered the craft of quarterbacking so thoroughly that a 28-point offensive output seems low. Yet this Packers offense has not been barnstorming the NFL in the way we’ve grown accustomed to. They’re “only” 8th in the NFL in yards per game (363.0) and 5th in points per game (27.4), both down from last season’s totals.
Moreover, the offense looked pedestrian in wins versus the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams, against whom they managed only two offensive touchdowns and failed to consistently move the ball. Yet the Packers comfortably won both games because their defense looked like a throwback to the mid 1990s teams.
The Packers lead the NFC in scoring defense (16.2 PPG) and sacks (20.0), and trail only the “No Fly Zone” Arizona Cardinals for interceptions (8). They’re also fourth in the NFC in yards per game (316.4 YPG), a stat that would be lower if not for garbage time. When you look at the numbers (and watch the one man wrecking crew this is Clay Matthews) it’s clear the Packers defense is performing at a higher level than their MVP-led offense. This is a wonderfully unexpected turn of events.
The offense is going to take time to gel. With Jordy Nelson out for the season and Davante Adams battling an ankle injury, Rodgers needs to build rapport with a crew of first and second year receivers. Assuming good health, the passing attack will inevitably evolve into a well-oiled machine that puts big numbers on the scoreboard. Until then the defense is perfectly happy to pick up the slack. This is what happened when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 and we can only hope history is repeating itself.