Green Bay Packers: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 15

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIDecember 10, 2013

Andrew Quarless had his best game of the season in Week 14 and will look to keep that momentum rolling into Week 15.
Andrew Quarless had his best game of the season in Week 14 and will look to keep that momentum rolling into Week 15.Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers narrowly escaped Week 14 with a win over the Atlanta Falcons. Now, they'll travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys in a difficult matchup for Week 15.

Last Sunday's win moved the Packers to 6-6-1 on the season and kept their playoff hopes alive. It was a much better overall performance from the Packers as a whole after they were embarrassed on Thanksgiving Day by the Detroit Lions.

This week, the Packers will be facing a Dallas team that is also looking to make the playoffs. This isn't necessarily a must-win game for the Packers, but a loss would make it extremely difficult for the team to reach the postseason.

Here's a look at everything else you need to know heading into Week 15.

 

Division Standings

NFC North Division Standings
TeamRecordNext Game
Detroit Lions7-6vs. Baltimore Ravens
Chicago Bears7-6@ Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers6-6-1@ Dallas Cowboys
Minnesota Vikings3-9-1vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Via NFL.com

With the Packers' win over Falcons and the Lions' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the snowiest game ever, Green Bay now sits only half a game behind Detroit in the NFC North.

The Packers are also half a game behind the Chicago Bears, who whooped Dallas on Monday night. As for the Minnesota Vikings, they did all sorts of Minnesota things this week against the Baltimore Ravens by allowing three touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game.

The crazy thing about the NFC North right now is that the Bears, Lions and Packers all still have a chance to win the division. If the Packers can win out, they will only need Detroit to lose one of its final three games in order to make the postseason.

One thing that's certain is that the NFC North is going to be one of the most exciting divisions to watch as we near the final weeks of the season.

 

Injury Report

Green Bay Packers Injury Report
NamePositionInjury
Aaron RodgersQBCollarbone
Eddie LacyRBAnkle
C.J. WilsonDEAnkle
Brad JonesLBAnkle
Jamari LattimoreLBKnee
Via Packers.com

For the seventh straight week, the biggest injury news revolves around starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. ESPN's Adam Schefter gave some pretty good news concerning Rodgers' Week 15 status on Monday:

Of course, it'd be better if the phrase "chance he plays" was replaced with "will definitely play," but this is still the most positive news on Rodgers since his original injury.

As for the rest of the injuries, this week marks one of the shortest postgame injury reports in a long time for the Packers. In fact, running back Eddie Lacy and defensive lineman Johnny Jolly both returned to the game following their injuries. Linebacker Brad Jones wasn't able to return, but his injury came late in the game.

It seems that the Packers are finally getting healthy, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. They'll need all the bodies they can get as they make a final push toward the playoffs.

 

What Must Improve

The good news for the Packers is that this team played one of its best games since Rodgers was injured. In fact, this was one of the hardest weeks for me to come up with something Green Bay needs to improve moving forward.

However, one aspect of Sunday's game stuck out in a major way, and that was the poor play from the safeties against Atlanta. The safeties have been an issue all year, and Sunday's game was no different.

This tweet from Bleacher Report's NFC North lead writer Zach Kruse perfectly sums up the season for Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings:

Jennings was playing so poorly against the Falcons that head coach Mike McCarthy benched him in favor of Sean Richardson in the second quarter. On the year, Jennings has graded out as the No. 63 safety and Burnett as the No. 66 safety in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

The play of the safeties has been a problem all year long. However, after a game in which the rest of the defense played so well, it's time to point out that the safeties need to improve in a major way.