On Thursday Night, The Green Bay Packers played against their division rival Chicago Bears. The Packers destroyed the Bears in practically every facet of the game and won 35-14. This game was over before the end of the first quarter as the Packers scored on their initial drive and then the Bears immediately turned the ball over inside their own five yard line on the next play. In the blink of an eye, the Packers were up 14-0 and all hope for the Bears’ players was drained from their bodies. The Packers managed to prevent the Bears from rallying and coasted to an easy victory in Lambeau Field.
By examining this game, one can infer various conclusions about the Packers and their 2017 season as a whole. Here are some examples:
1. Jordy Nelson is a top five receiver in the NFL
Prior to the 2017 NFL season, Jordy Nelson was ranked the 48th best player in the NFL according to NFL.com. According to these rankings, Jordy was the eighth best receiver in the NFL. However, based solely on statistics, Nelson has to be in the conversation when it comes to being a top five receiver in the NFL. From 2013-2016, Nelson had over 4000 yards receiving and 35 touchdowns. So far this season, Nelson has looked the same as he currently has over 200 yards receiving and five touchdowns in only four games.
Against the Bears, Nelson had four catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns. However, Nelson’s ability to succeed without fellow receiver Davante Adams shows how elite Nelson truly is. In the second half, Adams was severely injured after taking a huge hit from a Bears’ defender. With Adams out, the Bears were able to focus more heavily on Nelson and even send potential double teams to limit his success. However, Nelson managed to catch two touchdowns after the injury to Adams and looked relatively unguardable in the red zone. Whether Jordy Nelson is a top five receiver or not is a very controversial topic. However, after last night’s performance, it is a conversation that people need to take more seriously.
2. The Packers’ defense looked better than what people previously thought.
Entering Thursday night, there were several concerns regarding Green Bay’s defense that made fans extremely uneasy. The first of these concerns was the Packers’ below average secondary. Last week, the Packers got repeatedly torched by Bengals All-Pro receiver A.J. Green who had over 110 yards and a touchdown catch. However, this week, the Packers’ secondary managed to hold their own against the Bears and even got two interceptions. The Packers held Bears’ quarterback Mike Glennon to under 220 yards passing which is definitely a step in the right direction moving forward.
The Packers also did extremely well last night when it came to stopping the run. Throughout the game, the Bears had 30 rushes for only 103 yards. Although Bears’ starting running back Jordan Howard ended up scoring a late touchdown, Packers’ fans will gladly take this performance because limiting your opponent to under 3.5 yards per carry is an extremely difficult feat to accomplish.
3. The Packers’ starting running back job is up for grabs
Prior to the 2017 regular season, people assumed that Ty Montgomery would be a lock to be the starting running back during the regular season. Montgomery was initially up to the challenge and scored a rushing touchdown in each of his first two games. However, Montgomery has struggled heavily in terms of yards per carry and fans hoped that a game against the Bears would help improve Montgomery’s stats. However, Montgomery suffered a chest injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game. It was especially unfortunate because Montgomery had five rushes for 28 yards before leaving due to the injury.
With Montgomery out for the remainder of the game, the Packers turned to rookie running back Jamaal Williams, who was expected to potentially dethrone Montgomery as the team’s starter as the season went on. However, Williams has struggled thus far in the NFL and appears to have missed his chance to start in the immediate future. Against the Bears, Williams had four rushes for 11 yards before being replaced by rookie running back Aaron Jones.
Aaron Jones only entered training camp with the hopes of making it onto the actual roster. Jones, Green Bay’s fifth round draft pick in 2017 draft, was expected to be the third string back throughout the regular season. However, Jones has made the most of his playing times in both the preseason and the regular season. Against the Bears, Jones had 13 rushes for 49 yards and a touchdown. With Montgomery’s future status in question and with Williams’ struggles, it looks like Green Bay might have found the answer to their running back concerns in Aaron Jones.