NFL

Dalvin Cook just exposed the Packers as pretenders in the NFC

This represented Cook’s fourth touchdown of the game. All said, the star Vikings back went for 226 total yards on 32 touches in a stunning overall performance en route to leading Minnesota to a 28-22 road win.

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For the Green Bay Packers, this represented their second loss in three games after opening the season with a 4-0 mark. It also comes mere days before they are set to take on the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in a huge “Thursday Night Football” matchup in Santa Clara.

For those of you with short memories, this is the “same” 49ers squad that outscored the Packers by a combined margin of 74-28 in two games last season. That included a 37-20 thrashing in the NFC Championship Game.

Cook’s performance on Sunday against these Packers exposed them as frauds in the NFC. Here’s why.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers can’t do it all by himself

  • Per usual, Rodgers was awesome against a suspect Vikings defense on Sunday. The MVP candidate completed 27-of-41 passes for 291 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, the ho-hum brilliant performance we’ve become accustomed to.
  • In no way does that make up for issues the Packers have on both sides of the ball outside of Mr. Rodgers.
  • The Packers’ defense has now given up 120-plus rushing yards in four of their seven games this season. Set to take on Kyle Shanahan’s rushing attack on Thursday, that’s going to be exploited even further.
  • While the Packers’ rushing attack, sans an injured Aaron Jones, still went for 109 yards Sunday, there’s issues with blocking up front. A lot of Jamaal Williams’ 75 yards came after first contact.
  • Meanwhile, Packers receivers not named Davante Adams caught a grand total of four passes. That came against a Vikings defense that had yielded a 68% catch rate to receivers heading into Week 8. Hence, Green Bay might be looking for receiver help ahead of the NFL trade deadline.

Some major issues on defense for the Packers

  • Preston Smith failed to hit Kirk Cousins a single time on Sunday. After putting up 23 quarterback hits and 12 sacks in his first season with Green Bay, the big-name free-agent acquisition has tallied a split of 2-0.5 through seven games this season.
  • The lack of a pass rush opposite Za’Darius Smith is a major issue here. Green Bay has recorded 16 sacks in seven games, six of them coming from this particular Smith “brother.”
  • It has led to major issues against the pass, too. Kirk Cousins was able to complete a workmanlike 11-of-14 passes without an interception on Sunday. Given his issues turning the ball over heading into Week 9, that’s a major red flag.
  • All said, the Packers have now yielded 12 touchdowns compared to two interceptions this season. Add in struggles stopping the run, and this defense appears to be a train wreck.

Packers’ remaining schedule is tough, and could lead to further issues

  • @ San Francisco 49ers (4-3)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
  • @ Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
  • Chicago Bears (5-2)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)
  • @ Detroit Lions (3-4)
  • Carolina Panthers (3-4)
  • Tennessee Titans (5-2)
  • @ Chicago Bears (5-2)

It starts with the 49ers on “Thursday Night Football.” Green Bay will be taking on an injury-plagued squad that looks nothing like what it saw in the playoffs last January. San Francisco will be without the likes of Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman.

If Green Bay struggles on a short week versus a team it has not been able to be competitive against, that could spell doom for the remainder of the season.

This is only magnified by the fact that the Packers still have two games remaining against the division-rival Chicago Bears. Despite home-field advantage mattering less in the playoffs due to COVID-19, losing out in the NFC North to the overrated Bears would be a major issue for Green Bay.

Losers of two out of their past three and after seeing Dalvin Cook run roughshod through their defense, the Packers are in need of a major statement over the next several weeks. Unfortunately, losing to a one-win squad in the manner we saw Sunday won’t help matters.

It’s not hyperbole when we note that Cook exposed the Packers as nothing more than pretenders in the NFC after his Week 8 performance.

Whether Green Bay proves us wrong in a few short days remains to be seen.



 

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