Green Bay Packers: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 11

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IINovember 12, 2013

The Green Bay Packers were simply overmatched in their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10. It was already going to take a superb game with Seneca Wallace replacing Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but Wallace left the game early with a groin injury.

That brought in Scott Tolzien for his first-ever action in a regular-season game. Overall, Tolzien impressed enough to earn the starting job for Week 11:

Unfortunately, even if Tolzien plays better than he did against the Eagles, the Packers will have a hard time winning with how poorly their defense has been playing. They have given up big games to backup quarterbacks in back-to-back games and simply don't look like a playoff-caliber defense at this point.

Green Bay will travel to take on the lowly New York Giants in Week 11. A loss this week would make it extremely difficult for the Packers to find a way into the playoffs.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know as the Packers head into this next matchup.


Division Standings

NFC North Division Standings
TeamRecordNext Game
Detroit Lions6-3@ Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears5-4vs. Baltimore Ravens
Green Bay Packers5-4@ New York Giants
Minnesota Vikings2-7@ Seattle Seahawks

The big game in the NFC North last week was the showdown between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. The Lions won a close one and moved into first place in the division.

Both the Packers and the Bears remain a game behind the Lions. The Vikings got a win Thursday over the Washington Redskins, but they still are far, far behind the division leaders.

The good news for the Packers this week is that they have the easiest matchup, and it isn't even close. The Lions have a tough matchup on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bears welcome the Baltimore Ravens to town, and the Vikings have already lost their game against the Seattle Seahawks.

A win for the Packers and losses by the rest of the division would make the NFC North even crazier than it already is. While some are ready to give the Lions the division, don't be surprised if the race for the top spot comes down to the final weeks of the season.


Injury Report

Green Bay Packers Injury Report
Aaron RodgersQBShoulder
Seneca WallaceQBGroin
Randall CobbWRLeg
Jermichael FinleyTENeck
Evan Dietrich-SmithCKnee
Don BarclayOTKnee
Johnny JollyDEGroin
Ryan PickettNTKnee
Nick PerryLBFoot
Casey HaywardCBHamstring

In terms of injuries, there was good news and bad news this past week.

The good news is that the Packers got a handful of key players, such as linebacker Clay Matthews, off the injury report against the Eagles.

Unfortunately, the bad news is way worse.

Six more players left Sunday's game with injuries. Quarterback Seneca Wallace, offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, defensive end Johnny Jolly, nose tackle Ryan Pickett, linebacker Nick Perry and cornerback Casey Hayward were all injured.

Combine those key losses with injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Randall Cobb, and things are becoming quite grim in Green Bay.

The biggest issue with all these injuries is going to be depth. On Sunday, the Packers were down to their last active quarterback and offensive lineman for the game.

While no one knows how severe these new injuries are, it's still troubling that this team can't get healthy. Simply put, the Packers can't afford any more injuries this week against the Giants.


What Must Improve

To be honest, the Packers need to improve quite a bit, but we'll focus on two specific areas. Both, not surprisingly, are on the defensive side of the ball.

The first area is missed tackles. The Packers missed six tackles this week, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). This is after missing a whopping nine tackles last week against Chicago.

That's a lot of tackles to miss over the course of two games. All missed tackles do for a defense is extend plays, and the last thing the Packers need to do is give opposing offenses more opportunities.

The second place the Packers can improve is creating turnovers. Their three interceptions on the season rank dead last in the league. Their five fumble recoveries, one of which came Sunday, are tied for 18th-most in the league.

This defense used to thrive on creating turnovers. What's so worrisome is that the opportunities are there, but Green Bay hasn't been able to capitalize. Against the Eagles, the Packers had a chance to intercept a number of poor throws but couldn't get the turnover.

If the Packers want to come away with wins while Rodgers is recovering, the defense is going to need to stop missing tackles and create some turnovers to give the offense more opportunities to put points on the board.


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