After a rough loss to the Tennessee Titans Sunday, the Green Bay Packers are searching for answers.

It has been quite an interesting season for a team that had postseason aspirations for the 2016-2017 season. The Packers (4-5) are now under .500 for the first time since 2008, the year that Aaron Rodgers became their starting quarterback. The team is frustrated, and their quarterback is especially so. “We have to go back, the focus has to pick up, the urgency has to pick up and we got to play better,” said Rodgers Sunday, per Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.

In an attempt to find the source of the problems for the Packers, Mike McCarthy, acknowledged league-wide for years now as one of the top coaches in the NFL, finds himself in an unfamiliar position. Many analysts across the football world are calling for a switch up in the Packers organization, claiming that McCarthy’s time in Green Bay may be up. The offense has been sloppy, and at times it seems as though the Packers aren’t playing with enough energy. Despite an incredible 11-year run as the head coach for the Packers, it’s easy to suggest that McCarthy may be losing the locker room. 

The defense, which started off the season tremendously, has fallen down the past three weeks, giving up a combined 111 points to the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. Sunday’s game against the Titans saw the Packers defense give up 21 points in the first quarter, and 35 overall in the first half. Additionally, the Packers are without their starting cornerbacks in Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, and have been without pro-bowler Clay Matthews for the last three games.

Aaron Rodgers and the offense have been inconsistent as well. The talent that Rodgers has to work with is not great, and it doesn’t help that Rodgers has thrown seven interceptions at this point in the season after only throwing eight overall last season. His wide receivers are dropping balls left and right, and even with James Starks back, their running game doesn’t pose a threat to anyone right now.

Yes, this is very unlike the Green Bay Packers. But in one of the most inconsistent divisions in the NFL, there’s no reason why they can’t get back to the playoffs this year.

The Minnesota Vikings (5-4) and the Detroit Lions (5-4) have both been up and down this season. The Lions have struggled stringing multiple wins together, while the Vikings have lost four straight after starting out the season 5-0. It’s not hard to envision that a team could win this division with a 9-7 record, and the way the Vikings and Lions have played, there’s no doubt that the Packers can finish their season with the NFC North crown.

Despite a few rough games lately, the Packers defense is still high in league ranks. They are 4th in rushing yards allowed per game (85.3), and they are in the middle of the pack (16th) in passing yards allowed per game (253.8). Amidst a litany of injuries, players like linebacker Julius Peppers know that the defense will be able to get back on track. “We’re going to get it done,” said Peppers according to Packers.com. “There’s no other reason to believe anything other than that in this locker room.” If the defense can hold their own in the second half of the season, it will greatly benefit a Packers offense that is slowly improving every week.

Aaron Rodgers has picked up his game as of late. In his last four games, he has thrown for two or more touchdowns a game, while averaging 310 passing yards per game and completing 66% of his passes. Starting to resemble his old self more and more, he will need players like James Starks to carry the ball more, easing the pressure off the passing attack.

In the last seven games of the regular season, the Packers will face two tough road matches against the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, while also facing a surging Seattle Seahawks team at home. If they can come away from these games with a win or two, the Packers may have a chance to control their own destiny, as they finish out the season facing the Chicago Bears, Vikings and Lions.

The experience on this Packers squad is still strong, whether it comes from the coach, quarterback or even the defensive unit. Now it’s just a matter of executing, turning around a mediocre season, and returning to their winning ways.

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