Rather than talk about how Clay Matthews is questionable to return this week, or that Greg Jennings is most likely going to play, this week will be a look at the Packers’ offense given the recent offensive line problems, the returns of Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, and the now relevant Jermichael Finley. For much of the season, Aaron Rodgers has been throwing to Randall Cobb and James Jones, with most others being third or fourth looks and mostly non-factors. Prior to his injury, Greg Jennings was Rodgers’ favorite target, and Jordy Nelson was the deep threat that expanded the defense to open up the running game. However, with the way the offensive line has been playing, it’s hard to see any deep action developing.
Let’s take a look at the offense in a vacuum, though. Hypothetically, if the Packers’ offensive line performs up to par, this is how the Packers’ offense would run: Alex Green and/or James Starks could split run-duty in a timeshare type backfield. Any reasonable performance would help open holes and parts of the field for Rodgers to exploit. Jennings could return to his top-dog status, but Randall Cobb has now become the x-factor of this offense. Cobb can take handoffs, end arounds, and catch screen passes as well as run routes down the field. James Jones and Jordy Nelson can battle for the deep-threat part of the offense, though it seems that Nelson has taken his job back. Jones filled in admirably, catching a career high 8 touchdowns. If one of them go down, Green Bay knows he can step up and fill the void. If Jermichael Finley can man the middle of the field with consistency (he has had a history of dropping passes, calling his reliability into question) the Packers offense could perform at the proficient level it was at last year.
The Vikings are a formidable defense, but their play has slipped of late and they have allowed 20 or more points in their last four games, three of them losses. If Green Bay’s offensive line holds up, this offense could put up similar numbers. It will be an interesting situation to track, but if anyone has another view of how this offense should work, leave a comment below with your opinion. Stay tuned for more Packers news, and enjoy your week!