Bay Packers' Eddie Lacy gets past Philadelphia Eagles' Nolan
Carroll and Malcolm Jenkins (27) for a 32-yard touchdown run
during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 16,
2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY —
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing at a high level for the Green Bay
Jordy Nelson, Randall
Cobb and Eddie Lacy are a triple-threat to score.
Coach Mike McCarthy's
offense is on a roll. It's hard to get any better than outscoring
opponents 108-34 in the past two games.
But it's only
mid-November. The playoffs — and the Packers aren't even assured yet
of a postseason berth — are several weeks away.
question looms among all the positive laurels on the sports-talk radio
— Are the Packers peaking early?
"I don't believe
in peaking early. I don't even know what that means, to be honest with
you," Rodgers said Wednesday. "We try to carry the feeling
and the momentum from previous games, and learn from the mistakes we
made, and we take it one game at a time."
Yet it's hard to
dissect exactly what Green Bay has done wrong on offense, at least the
past two weeks.
Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to Aaron Rodgers
during the first half of an NFL football game against the
Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
The Packers have
jumped out to big leads on the Bears and Eagles, respectively, to turn
the fourth quarters of each game into a glorified practice.
momentum builds confidence. McCarthy has said he does have to guard
"The message of
handling success is something we've talked about since Day 1,"
McCarthy said Wednesday. "Today we just focused on ourselves and
the Vikings and try not to pay a whole lot of attention to the nice
things you're going to say about 'em."
Nelson and Cobb are
one of the top receiving tandems in the league. But what has helped
the Packers become even more potent is the emergence of Lacy out of
the backfield as a pass-catching threat.
The 5-foot-11 running
back, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award last season, is
quite capably filling the role of the third option in the passing game
following the departure in the offseason of veteran receiver James
The Packers are also
still searching for consistency at tight end following the departure
of Jermichael Finley, though the production at that position has
picked up in recent weeks.
Lacy has 547 yards on
129 carries. He has 322 yards on 27 receptions — though 14 of those
catches have come in the past three games. Lacy has turned a short
pass into a long touchdown in each of the past two wins.
"When we get the
ball out, whether it's a screen pass or dump-off pass and it's you and
a corner, or you and a safety, you know I like those odds a lot better
than running up the middle at linebackers," Lacy said. "But
no matter how I get it, somebody's going to have to hit me."
McCarthy has said
those screen plays have been available all season. Only Rodgers
doesn't always have to go to that option if he sees Nelson breaking
long down the sideline, or Cobb getting free over the middle.
"A-Rod is so
smart. He sees a lot of things that I obviously don't know what he's
looking at," Lacy said. "His mind is completely elsewhere,
and he throws it somewhere else."
For as good as they
have been of late, the Packers are still tied with Detroit atop the
NFC North at 7-3. The Lions beat the Packers in Week 3, so the Week 17
matchup at Lambeau Field looms large as a game that could decide the
All of which makes
Sunday's game at Minnesota just as important to Green Bay. Another
loss in the division could make all the positive vibes in the locker
No overconfidence or
complacency evident here.
"So as far as
I'm concerned I don't expect any letdowns from any of our guys. We
hold them to a high expectation," Rodgers said. "But you
have to guard against complacency, slipping into the locker room,
slipping into your mind."
Notes: Clay Matthews
(groin) was limited, though McCarthy relayed Wednesday that his star
linebacker didn't have "high concern" about his injury. ...
OLB Nick Perry (shoulder) missed practice, but might get limited work