Week 1 was dominated by the Aaron Rodgers/Davante Adams tandem. However, Week 2 was all about Aaron Jones blowing up the Detroit Lions defense. The Green Bay Packers offense overall scored 40+ points for the second consecutive week, putting the rest of the league formally on notice. What should the main takeaways be for Packers fans in this 42-21 victory? Here is the Week 2 Recap.
Jones Wants his Money
Aaron Jones carried the offense on Sunday, both figuratively and literally, with over 200 all-purpose yards and 3 scores. He led the team in both rushing yards and attempts as well as receiving yards and targets. The offense funneled through him with remarkable success. The Lions just could not find an answer. Following his breakout year in 2019 and his strong week 1 performance, Jones is making a strong case to be considered a top 5 running back in the NFL as well as one of the highest-paid. Many running backs from the standout 2017 class have already received big-money extensions, and Jones may be next.
Rodgers Continues Efficient Form
Even while lacking Davante Adams, who was hampered by hamstring and toe issues (and honestly not needed this week), Rodgers still put up a very efficient 240 yards and 2 touchdowns with no turnovers. He took what the Detroit defense gave him since the Packers played with a lead for much of the game. That is, after overcoming an early 11-point deficit. Rodgers was willing to take a backseat to Jones & the running game on Sunday. This game was an encouraging sign that this Packer offense is willing and able to beat opposing defenses in whatever manner they choose. Defenses will truly have to pick their poison this year: the Packers can beat you in multiple ways.
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Playmaking Defense Continues
Last week, it was a Jaire Alexander interception Za’Darius Smith making some drive-halting sacks. This week, it was Chandon Sullivan with a pick-6 and Rashan Gary with 1.5 sacks. The Packers defense, especially with the offense working so efficiently, doesn’t need to shut teams out for Green Bay to win. They do need to create turnovers and sacks as they have shown so far in 2020. A particularly emphatic shoutout to Gary, who is having a breakout year so far. He pressured Matthew Stafford into throwing the pick-6 to Sullivan, in addition to his 1.5 sacks. Add that to his week 1 performance where he pressured Kirk Cousins into an interception, and it’s becoming clear that he can be a big factor on the defense this year.
Again, the injury bug hit the Packers in Week 2. Davante Adams was active with the aforementioned hamstring and toe issues, though he played sparingly and may sit out the Packers’ Week 3 game against New Orleans. Starting center Corey Linsley and returner/running back/wide receiver Tyler Ervin left the game in the second half. Kenny Clark was inactive against Detroit after leaving the game against the Vikings. The offensive line depth will be further tested if Linsley misses any significant time after Lane Taylor was confirmed out for the year after his Week 1 knee injury.
WR2 and WR3 Show Up Again
Both Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had solid days again on Sunday. They each had 3 catches for at least 45 yards while being targeted 5+ times. Drops continue to be an issue for the Packers overall, but it hasn’t prevented them from coming away with wins so far. What is very promising is that, despite the drops, Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur both have the confidence. As we saw over these last couple of weeks, Rodgers will continue to target players even after drops. That will surely help both the chemistry and confidence of that group. If Adams does end up missing Week 3 with injury, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling will be expected to take even larger roles in the passing offense.
The Packers grabbed another division win and the offense scored 40+ for the second straight week. Things will get much more difficult in Week 3 against the Saints as they come off a disappointing Monday Night Football loss to Las Vegas. It is unlikely that Aaron Jones has quite as successful a week against New Orleans. Nonetheless, he has given the Packers an exceptional option both running and receiving that provides an added dimension to this offense. He will remain a focal point for Aaron Rodgers and company, especially if Adams misses time with his hamstring & toe issues.
The offensive line will face their toughest test yet against Cam Jordan & the Saints’ defensive line, so they’ll need to be up to the task. Through two weeks, Green Bay is looking like a legitimate contender. While the season is obviously still early, inconsistency is what plagued the Packers most last year, and this beginning is indicative that they may have resolved those issues.
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