Thankfully this is not the BCS so style points don’t count. In the NFL a win is a win. It doesn’t matter who you are playing. The phrase “any given Sunday” didn’t come from nowhere. A month ago the Packers looked to be rolling to a win over a lesser team but played their worst half of football this year and lost in Indianapolis. Different story this time around.
For the second week in a row the Packers essentially won the game with a strong third quarter. The major difference is the Packers did it with defense this time around. The Packers defense completely shut down the Jaguars in the third quarter, not allowing one first down. With even a little help from the offense the game would have been a blowout.
As it was the Packers’ offense didn’t put the game away until early in the fourth quarter when Donald Driver caught his second touchdown pass of the year. At that point the Jaguars offense was demoralized and the game was for all intents and purposes over. The same Jaguars’ offense that rolled up 233 yards in the first half managed just 108 more in garbage time in the second half.
Blaine Gabbert is no Andrew Luck and the Jags have very few weapons, so the defense essentially did what it was supposed to. Luck, by the way, lead his third fourth-quarter comeback of the season Sunday when the now 4-3 Colts beat the Titans in Tennessee. Suddenly that loss doesn’t look quite so bad.
But I digress, the Packers found a way to win when either they were not on top of their game or the opponent played above its game. A win is a win. It was good to hear head coach Mike McCarthy say he had to tell the team to “quit walking around like they lost the damn game.” That tells you the level of expectations that permeate 1265 Lombardi Ave.
The Packers will certainly need to play better next Sunday against a desperate Arizona Cardinals who have lost four straight after opening the season with four straight wins. Until this recent losing streak the Cardinals were one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 11 of 13 games. They do have some talent but like the Packers have been hit hard by injuries on offense.
For the Packers to have any chance of winning the division they can’t lose to the Cardinals at home. The Bears have the lowly Titans Sunday so they will win for sure. The Packers only hope is that the Bears lose to the Texans at home and 49ers in San Fran the following two weeks. If the Packers only lose at the Giants Nov. 25 the division title would be up for grabs on December 16 in Chicago.
The Packers have very little wiggle room. Confidence remains medium-high.