As hot as the New York Giants are, the Green Bay Packers are equally as cold. Sunday's setback in New York marks the third straight loss for the Packers, the first time since 2008 the Packers have lost three in a row.
The absence of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone was the genesis for this skid. As NFL National Lead Writer Ty Schalter points out, if the Packers are going to make the playoffs, they need to figure out a way to win a game without No. 12 on the field:
I wrote earlier this season that Aaron Rodgers is the NFL’s best player, and I stand by that. No NFL team would be able to lose a quarterback like Rodgers and keep a top-five scoring offense rolling without missing a beat.
However, subtracting a player of even Rodgers’ caliber shouldn’t reduce a Super Bowl contender to a bottom-feeder—and that’s exactly what the Packers looked like against the then-3-6 New York Giants.
The Packers weren’t shy about bolstering the offense this offseason. They reinvested in the long-dormant running attack and reinforced the offensive line. Even though they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to come up with Sunday’s starter, Scott Tolzien, three interceptions against a Giants team that was ranked dead last in turnover differential is unacceptable.
The Packers have quite a few playmakers on defense and should have been better against an offense that was ranked 30th in the NFL in scoring offense coming into the game.
With two straight divisional games coming up, the Packers simply have to start winning now—with or without Rodgers—if they want to make the playoffs.
Ultimately, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson have to shoulder the blame. It’s not their fault that Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace got hurt, but it is their fault that a carousel of sub-standard quarterbacks have been spinning around behind Rodgers on the depth chart.
Part of building a championship team is having a backup quarterback who can hold down the fort if the injury bug bites. McCarthy and Thompson left that box unchecked, and they paid for it Sunday.