struggling Packers' defense. So, they go out and have their best defensive performance of the year, and beat the Vikings on Monday night by the score of 45-7. Even in their other two blowout games against the Broncos (49-23) and the Rams (24-3), the Packers gave up ridiculous yardage totals (384 yards to the Broncos, and 424 yards to the Rams). Sure, this game was against the (now 2-7) Vikings, but it was about time that the defense looked like last year's defense down the stretch.
Meanwhile, the offense continued to look unstoppable, and Rodgers has now beaten Favre's record of 25 straight home games with a touchdown pass, as Rodgers reached 26 games on Monday night. And the team record winning streak in games that count now stands at 15 (2 games in the regular season last year, all 4 playoff games, and 9 games this year).
The defensive resurgence does not look like a fluke. Woodson asked for the defense to apply more pressure this week, and to open up some opportunities for Matthews. Wish granted. Dom Capers called a much more aggressive defensive game plan, blitzing on almost 75% of the snaps, and it worked like a charm. Clay Matthews had 2 sacks, and Desmond Bishop added a 3rd sack. Charles Woodson was very close to 2 interceptions, one of which would certainly have been returned for a touchdown. From start to finish, the defense controlled the game.
The Packers are now in the midst of a 10 day stretch within which they will play 3 games. From a physical standpoint, you would think that this would be the toughest stretch of the season. But they came out of the Vikings game healthy, and now they play the Buccaneers. Aaron Rodgers has never beaten the Buccaneers, and of course in 2009 the Packers lost to the Buccaneers, who were winless going into the game. At the beginning of the season, this looked like it would be a very tough game, because the Buccaneers played very well last year, and Josh Freeman was supposed to be the next big thing. As it turns out, they go into this game with a record of 4-5, and with Josh Freeman having more interceptions than touchdowns. My biggest concern about this game is that the Packers look past this game to the even-shorter week they have to prepare for the Lions. I don't think that will happen, given that the Packers are still stinging from the 2009 loss to the Bucs.
Around the NFC North: Week 5
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