Aaron Rodgers, Packers Flying Under the Radar
No one noticed that Aaron Rodgers cruised his way to another 100.0+ QB rating and completed 75 percent of his throws.
No one noticed Ryan Grant finally eclipsed the century mark for rushing yards in a game this year.
There were sightings of Aaron Rouse and Nick Collins intercepting Peyton Manning, but mostly because it was of Peyton Manning who threw the interceptions. That was the story: What went wrong for the Colts?
Then came the next chapter in the Greek tragedy of you-know-who, who allegedly had been talking it up with Green Bay's opponents.
Absent were the discussions about the impressive Packer secondary and how they've been dominating this season. Also missing was an observation noting that Green Bay might be back on track.
That's just the way I like it.
The Packers have had to deal with more off-field issues than on-field this season, especially with the drama of Brett Favre. The shadow he has cast over the team has covered up the actual play of the Packers.
As they head into the bye week with a plethora of players on the mend and a chance for them to get healthy, the Packers will no doubt surprise some people later this season. The defense, which has played so well recently, has three starters alone that will return for the Titans game after the bye.
If the lack of respect the Packers have been receiving motivates them, I am all for that.
Charles Woodson clearly was irritated by the recent Favre drama. As the unofficial leader of that defense, his attitude will influence the rest of the team. If there is a chip on this bunch's shoulder, the added spark won't hurt at all.
So who are these Green Bay Packers? On both sides of the ball, they are all about the passing game.
Rodgers seems to have picked up right where Favre left off. Currently with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions, Rodgers has minimized mistakes. He has also added a little flavor of his own, rushing for three scores so far.
Defensively, they have picked off the ball with ease. They have intercepted opposing quarterbacks 13 times this season, good enough to lead the league. Five of those picks have been returned for touchdowns.
However, rushing and defending the run have been a different story.
Ryan Grant struggled at the beginning of the season, unable to find the endzone or rush for more than 100 yards until Sunday. Grant has improved on his early season struggles, which saw miss much of the preseason and struggle with a hamstring injury. He has also begun to show he can carry the load, carrying the ball 64 times over the last two games.
The rushing defense has been a late bloomer as well. Despite being ranked 25th, the Packers have allowed less than 150 yards rushing in the last two games combined.
With all of the recent injuries, the depth of the Packers has really shone through.
The absence of Al Harris had hardly been noticed with Tramon Williams' play the past four games. Colin Cole has been particularly impressive stopping the run with Ryan Pickett not up to full speed. Lone free-agent acquisition Brandon Chillar is a special teams horse and has defended tight ends very well so far.
If the running game, offensively and defensively, can continue to improve, this Packers team will be very formidable. With several key players returning, the experience that the backups received will be invaluable.
Currently tied for the lead in the NFC North, the Packers have rebounded from their earlier three-game losing streak. Now, they'll only have avoid the media circus that is out of their control.
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