Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy need to help Scott Tolzien as much as possible if they want to win on Sunday.
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:
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said QB Scott Tolzien will start next Sunday against the Giants.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 10, 2013
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.
|Detroit Lions||6-3||@ Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Chicago Bears||5-4||vs. Baltimore Ravens|
|Green Bay Packers||5-4||@ New York Giants|
|Minnesota Vikings||2-7||@ Seattle Seahawks|
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.
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.
Will the Packers beat the Giants?
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.