Green Bay Packers: Facing Adversity

Facing Adversity
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 03: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Throughout a lengthy 16-game season, it’s inevitable for all 32 teams to start facing adversity at some point. Whether it be losing streaks or injuries, a team’s momentum is rarely sustained throughout the season.

A tough loss or blowout is a lesson all teams go through in a season and how they respond will speak volumes. Was it a one-game hiccup or did it snowball to a multiple-game losing streak?

No matter how well a team is playing or how invincible they appear, adversity will always show its face sooner or later. The New England Patriots looked unstoppable until they ran into the Baltimore Ravens.

Facing Adversity: Green Bay Packers

And the Green Bay Packers seemed to be hitting their stride — until a sunny trip to California against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Packers never showed up on Sunday and for the first time this season, they were hit in the mouth multiple times while letting the Chargers dominate all aspects of the game.

Again, it’s how you respond that matters.

For the first time this season, we’ve witnessed a Packers team that looked incredibly vulnerable after jumping out to a 7-1 record heading into Week 9. Even in their lone loss prior, the Packers were in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles until an Aaron Rodgers red zone interception sealed their fate.

Pushing Forward

This Packers team has its strengths and weaknesses like any other team and showed since Week 1 that this team, with new head coach Matt LaFleur, was going to be different than in year’s past under former coach Mike McCarthy.

For the most part, that narrative has been true in Green Bay. They’re leading the NFC North, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith continue to be a force on the field, and Rodgers has joined the pool of MVP candidates.

But the focus will be on the response against the Carolina Panthers — who feature an MVP candidate of their own in Christian McCaffrey — and beyond.

Will the Packers respond at home where they only have one loss? Or will the slump continue? The Packers in 2015 jumped out to a 6-0 record before losing three straight games in a season that ended in the Divisional Round.

Since then, there have been injury-plagued seasons in which the Packers failed to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018 — mostly due to a very banged up Rodgers.

In fact, their last playoff appearance was in 2016 after their most prophetic run after Rodgers said they could “run the table.” Which might not have ended in a Super Bowl appearance, but did surmount to an eight-game winning streak (six wins in the regular season and two in the playoffs) before losing to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.

How Do the Green Bay Packers Respond?

History of facing strong adversity has been both a blessing and a curse for the Packers this decade. The 2019 Packers are one of the better versions of this team this decade and still look to have a dominant season with eight games to go.

With the NFC being mostly wide-open outside of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers, there’s still time to make a run at securing home-field advantage — although the Packers are currently the three-seed in the NFC.

A new look head coach, offense, and defense was always going to take time to develop in a fast-paced season, but give credit to a team that’s complacent on offense with its receivers and all-purpose running backs. Give credit to a defense that has installed a new culture not seen at the Frozen Tundra since arguably the 2010 Super Bowl season.

Always Forward

Give credit to a team that knows they have to play better from the get-go and not take things for granted. They have the look of a playoff team poised to make a deep run, but, can they shake off their adversity in the long run?

Time will tell.

Again, it’s how you respond that matters most.

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