Usually cheese gets better with age, but somehow, the Packers offense has gotten worse with each passing week this season and it arguably reached rock bottom during Green Bay's stunning 27-10 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers might want to think about taking his offense on an ayahuasca retreat, because whatever this group is doing right now, it's not working.
Almost as soon as the game started, the Packers offense looked lost nearly every time it touched the ball. On its opening possession, the Packers went three-and-out and things only got uglier after that. Here's what happened on their next nine possessions following the three-and-out: Punt, punt, blocked field goal, punt, fumble, downs, field goal, punt, blocked punt TD.
That's something you might expect to see from the Jets of old, but certainly not the Packers. One problem for Green Bay is that Rodgers doesn't seem to trust his receivers. Last season, Rodgers had Davante Adams and whenever a play broke down, he would simply dump it off to Adams. This season, when the other team gets pressure on Rodgers, the play is essentially dead because he has nowhere to go and the Jets definitely put some pressure on him in this game (They sacked Rodgers four times).
It also doesn't help that Rodgers hasn't been as accurate as he has been the past two years. Against the Jets, Rodgers was missing throws that he would normally make, including the pass below, which was underthrown by about 10 yards.
Romeo Doubs has man coverage beat, has distance on the safety, could walk into the end zone with a proper deep ball ...— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) October 16, 2022
and after slowing down Aaron Rodgers still underthrows him by at least 5 yards pic.twitter.com/n8EajwYSAY
Overall, Rodgers completed just 26 of 41 passes against New York and he also lost a fumble that led to a Jets field goal.
One thing that may be contributing to his accuracy issues is that Rodgers seems to be dealing with an injured thumb. He banged the finger up last week and it was definitely still bothering him on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers looks like this thumb is starting to bother him— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 16, 2022
If that's an injury that doesn't heal quickly, it's not going to be easy for the Packers to fix their offense.
When the Packers can't throw the ball, their offense can usually still function thanks to Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, but now, teams are expecting that. The Packers' opponents seem to be well aware that the passing game is off, and because of that, they're prepared to stop the run.
Here's Jones getting hammered for a loss by Quinnen Williams.
Oh my Quinnen Williams #Jets #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/NsRYaZkUMC— Max Dean (@TheMaxDean) October 16, 2022
That tackle was Green Bay's ground game in a nutshell on Sunday. The Packers averaged just 3 yards per carry against the Jets.
For once, the Packers might actually be in trouble. At 3-3, the Packers have now scored 15 or fewer points in three of their six games and there's no easy way to fix the offense. If Green Bay can't fix it soon, the team's three-year reign atop the NFC North is going to come to an end.
Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 6. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Commanders' 12-7 win over Chicago that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
L.A. Chargers 19-16 over Denver in OT (Monday)
|For the first time all season, the Broncos offense actually looked good, but that only lasted for about one quarter. Denver scored 10 of its 16 points during a first quarter where Russell Wilson finished 10 of 10 for 116 yards (He was 5 of 17 in the game after that). But the offense also struggled with issues they've been plagued by all season: It couldn't score in the red zone and couldn't convert on third down. The Broncos defense once again came up big with multiple huge plays against the Chargers, including two sacks and an interception. The bottom line for the Broncos is that their defense is good and their offense took a small step in the right direction, and if it keeps improving, there's no reason this team can't compete for a wild-card berth in a wide-open AFC … as long as their special teams don't cost them any more games like it did on Monday night with Montrell Washington's muffed punt in overtime. |
|There was only one Chargers player who had a perfect night and that was Dustin Hopkins. The kicker overcame an injured hamstring to hit four field goals, including the game-winner from 39 yards out in overtime. The Chargers offense struggled for most of the game on a night where Justin Herbert finished with zero touchdown passes for the second time in his career. The Chargers defense got off to an ugly start in the first half, but finally showed up for a second half during which it held the Broncos to just 72 yards (and that total includes overtime). This was an ugly win that won't be winning any beauty contests for the Chargers, but a division win is a division win and the Chargers were able to sneak away with one here.|
Broncos-Chargers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Jets 27-10 over Green Bay
|If Quinnen Williams wasn't a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, he might be after this game. Not only did Williams tally two of the Jets' four sacks, but he also blocked a field goal. The Jets defensive lineman was basically a wrecking ball who destroyed everything the Packers were trying to do. The Jets defense bottled up the Packers and then let its special teams do the rest. The special teams alone outscored the Packers 13-10 with two field goals and a punt block return for a score by Will Parks. Offensively, the Jets did most of their damage on the ground with Breece Hall carrying the ball 20 times for 116 yards and a TD. The Jets look like they're for real, which is something we haven't been able to say about this team in more than a decade.|
|The only thing worse than the Packers offense on Sunday was their special teams play. Not only did this team surrender a blocked field goal, but the Packers also watched as the Jets returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. The Packers defense kept Green Bay in the game for the better part of three quarters, but not even that was enough to keep this game close. The Packers look broken and there's no guarantee this team can be fixed.|
Jets-Packers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cincinnati 30-26 over New Orleans
|It seems that Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase love playing in New Orleans. Nearly three years after winning a national title in a game played at the Caesars Superdome, the pair returned to the stadium and put on another show. Chase caught seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning, 60-yard TD with just under two minutes left to play. As for Burrow, he came up in the clutch: Not only did he throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but he also scored on a 19-yard run. The Bengals weren't perfect -- they couldn't stop the run, they lost a fumble on a punt return and the offense struggled to start the game -- but the play of Burrow and Chase overshadowed all of that.|
|With several of their biggest receiving weapons out due to injury -- including Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave and Michael Thomas -- the Saints turned to their ground game and their rushing attack almost did enough to pull off the upset here. The Saints averaged an absurd 6.7 yards per carry in this game (34 carries for 228 yards) and a big part of that was because they had three different players who had at least one carry of 30 yards more. The problem for the Saints offense, though, is that it couldn't score in the red zone. On five trips inside of Cincinnati's 20-yard line, the Saints only came away with one TD. The other problem with the Saints is that their defense can't stop anyone. The unit was supposed to be a strength coming into the season, but it has now given up 28 or more points in three straight games.|
Bengals-Saints grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Atlanta 28-14 over San Francisco
|The 49ers defense looked like it was playing together for the first time in this game and it arguably was since the unit was down several starters -- including Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead Jimmie Ward and Emmanuel Moseley. Of course, even if those guys had been on the field, that might not have helped because the 49ers had trouble figuring out how to stop the Falcons' rushing attack. The defense was bad and the offense wasn't much better. Not only did it struggle to move the ball, but Jeff Wilson also lost a fumble that the Falcons returned for a touchdown. The good news for the 49ers is that despite this hiccup, they'll still be in first place in the NFC West heading into Week 7.|
|The Marcus Mariota career revival tour was on a full display this week as the Falcons quarterback almost single-handedly took down the 49ers. Mariota only threw one incompletion in the entire game and that didn't come until the FOURTH quarter. Before that incompletion, Mariota was 13 of 13 for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota beat the 49ers with his arm and his legs, rushing for 60 yards. With Mariota running the show, Falcons coach Arthur Smith has created a rushing attack that other teams can't figure out how to stop. The Falcons are a surprise team at 3-3 and if they keep playing the way they're playing, they might be a surprise playoff contender late in the season.|
49ers-Falcons grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Indianapolis 34-27 over Jacksonville
|Less than a month after shutting out the Colts, the Jaguars defense simply had no answers for Indianapolis in this game. The Jags let a 14-3 lead slip away and a big reason is because the Jags defense couldn't stop a Colts offense that scored every time it touched the ball in the second half. The Jags didn't make too many mistakes offensively, but Doug Pederson would probably like to have back a failed third-quarter call where the Jags ran an option on fourth-and-1, but didn't convert. Defensively, Travon Walker made a back-breaking mistake when he got called for roughing the passer after a third-and-12 incomplete pass. The penalty gave the Colts a first down on a drive where they eventually scored a TD. The Jaguars can definitely compete in the AFC South, but they're going to need to clean up their mistakes.|
|With Jonathan Taylor out, the Colts decided to give up on the run and let Matt Ryan sling the ball, and surprisingly, that strategy actually worked. Ryan threw 58 passes against the Jaguars and more importantly, he completed 42 of them, which was the highest single-game total of his 15-year career. Ryan was especially good during a second half where the Colts scored a touchdown all three times they touched the ball. Ryan's 389-yard day was capped with a 32-yard scoring throw to Alec Pierce with just 17 seconds left to play. This was the Matt Ryan the Colts thought they were getting when they originally traded for the former Falcons QB and if this Matt Ryan continues to show up this season, the Colts could become a dangerous team. |
Jaguars-Colts grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
N.Y. Giants 24-20 over Baltimore
|The Ravens looked like the better team all afternoon, but completely stumbled over themselves in the fourth quarter. They recorded both of their turnovers in the final four minutes of the game, and allowed 14 unanswered points to lose. Baltimore was up 10 points with about six minutes left in the game! It also hurt that the Ravens went 1-for-3 in the red zone. They wasted Kenyan Drake's 119-yard rushing performance.|
|The Giants didn't have 100 yards of total offense until the third quarter, but this team continues to win. Even after Lamar Jackson's interception late in the fourth quarter, it felt like the Ravens offense was going to march down the field and score a game-winning touchdown. Instead, first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux stripped Jackson and sealed the victory. The Giants defense was impressive. You could tell it wanted the opportunity to stand tall with the game on the line, and that's exactly what it did.|
Ravens-Giants grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Pittsburgh 20-18 over Tampa Bay
|Penalties and a lack of offensive rhythm doomed the Buccaneers, who have lost three of their last four games after a 2-0 start. Tom Brady eventually found his rhythm after completing less than half of his first-half pass attempts. But the running game never got going, as the Buccaneers averaged fewer than 4 yards per carry. While they played well for most of the game, the Buccaneers defense's inability to stop Mitch Trubisky after he replaced Kenny Pickett sealed its fate. |
|Pittsburgh played complementary football. The offense overcame Kenny Pickett's injury in the game's final minutes, as Mitch Trubisky threw the game-winning touchdown pass and picked up several key first downs to run out the clock. Despite playing without several starters, the Steelers defense was able to provide pressure on Tom Brady while coming up with key plays in the secondary, none bigger than Devin Bush's breakup of Brady's pass for Chris Godwin on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. Among the Steelers' big special teams plays was Chris Boswell's 55-yard field goal in the first half and Steven Sims' 89-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Sims' return set up Boswell's second field goal while extending the Steelers' lead to 13-9.|
Buccaneers-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 38-15 over Cleveland
|Bailey Zappe is doing his best to create a QB controversy in New England. The rookie was lights out in his second career start, completing 24 of 34 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He kept the offense humming and helped drop 38 on Cleveland. Four different Patriots pass catchers logged 60 or more receiving yards, which is a credit to Zappe's ability to spread the ball around. Not only was Zappe playing at a high level on this offensive side of the ball, so was Rhamondre Stevenson, who notched two touchdowns in the win. The story for the Patriots, however, has been the stellar play by their defense. Pressure on Jacoby Brissett forced him into two interceptions and the defense also did a strong job on Nick Chubb, limiting him to just 56 yards on 12 carries. What keeps them out of the "A+" category are the 12 penalties for 92 yards. Other than that, it was a sensational day for Bill Belichick's club.|
|The protection for Jacoby Brissett was subpar and forced him to make a number of erratic throws that were ultimately picked off. On the day, the Browns gave the ball away four times and that immediately resulted in 17 points being put on the board for New England. The O-line also couldn't get a solid push for Nick Chubb, who was fended off for the majority of this game. The secondary missed Denzel Ward in this one as Bailey Zappe essentially had his way with them. Four different Patriots went for 60 or more yards receiving and five different pass catchers had at least four receptions. There were times in this game when Zappe was throwing into wide-open windows, which opened the door for massive chunk plays, including a 53-yard gain by Jonnu Smith on the opening drive of the second half.|
Patriots-Browns grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Minnesota 24-16 over Miami
|The Vikings offense still needs to work on consistency. It started off slow, but then thrived in the fourth quarter with two huge touchdowns. The Vikings need to find that middle ground and become more consistent if they're going to make a run this season. The Vikings won despite their occasional offensive struggles thanks to a defense that recorded three takeaways and six sacks. While the Vikings do have their weaknesses, what they are doing is clearly working as they stand at the top of the NFC North with a 5-1 record. |
|The Dolphins could not get out of their own way and penalties were a major issue for the team. They could not get into the end zone despite starting off strong due to the penalties. Quarterback Skylar Thompson looked good, but went down with a thumb injury in the second quarter and did not return. With Tua Tagovailoa expected to make his return next week, I imagine we will see a more consistent offense because this one struggled with Thompson and Teddy Bridgewater. |
Vikings-Dolphins grades by Shanna McCarriston (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let her know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 24-10 over Carolina
|You know things aren't going well when you have to kick your own player out of the game, and that's what Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks had to do with Robbie Anderson. The receiver was sent to the locker room early in the second half after getting into a shouting match with an assistant coach on the sideline. The offense was bad before Anderson left, and it was just as bad without him. The only player who even provided anything resembling a spark was Christian McCaffrey, who totaled 158 yards. If McCaffrey gets traded, that would definitely be a sign that the Panthers are waving the white flag on the season. Defensively, the Panthers kept this close thanks to a pick- six from Donte Jackson that gave Carolina a halftime lead.|
|This win wasn't pretty, but when you're on a two-game losing streak, you'll take any win you can get. The biggest positive for the Rams in this game is that they finally had some offensive production that didn't involve Cooper Kupp. Not only did Allen Robinson have his biggest game of the season (five catches for 63 yards and a TD), but he was one of three receivers besides Kupp to haul in four or more passes. The Rams aren't crazy, though -- they didn't ignore Kupp, who caught seven passes for 80 yards. The Rams offense wasn't perfect, but the defense nearly was, holding the Panthers to zero offensive touchdowns and just 203 yards. The Rams have struggled at times this season, but they're still tied for first place after six weeks. If you're L.A., that's definitely a good thing.|
Panthers-Rams grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 19-9 over Arizona
|If the Cardinals were going to fix things on offense, this seemed like the game where they would do it: They were going up against a defense that was giving up the most yards per game heading into Week 6 and the second most points per game. The Cardinals offense just couldn't come up with a big play when the team needed it most: Arizona went 1-for-5 on fourth down and 4-for-16 on third down. Three of Arizona's fourth-down failures came from inside Seattle's 25-yard line. The only good news for the Cards is that they'll be getting DeAndre Hopkins back from suspension this week.|
|Before Sunday, the Seahawks hadn't given any indication that they could play defense this season, but that changed against the Cardinals. In what was easily their best defensive performance of the season, the Seahawks absolutely shut down the Cards: They sacked Kyler Murray six times, forced two turnovers and also didn't surrender an offensive touchdown. Not to mention, they only let Arizona convert five of 21 times on third and fourth down combined. It was a masterful performance that no one could have predicted based on how the Seahawks have played defense this year. If Seattle's defense can keep playing at this level -- or at least near it -- the Seahawks could be a dark-horse threat to win the NFC West, a division where they're currently in a tie for first. |
Cardinals-Seahawks grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Buffalo 24-20 over Kansas City
|They did it. They really did it. Buffalo got in its own way sometimes, like when it refused to stick with an easily successful ground game to let Josh Allen uncork it downfield early on, or when it dialed up a pitch on third-and-one with the game potentially on the line. The Bills also had trouble containing Travis Kelce pretty much anytime he was targeted (but who doesn't?). Altogether, this was about as good a performance as you could've hoped for: They went into Arrowhead, they ran the ball, they threw it deep, and they made plays on "D" when it mattered most. It's confirmed: Buffalo is a viable Super Bowl contender.|
|Tough to grade Kansas City here, considering how easily they kept themselves in the game. They remain the Team of the Miracle, with Mahomes playing magician no matter what the clock says. But No. 15 pressed a few times, including on both picks -- first throwing into end-zone traffic and then forcing one into a tight window on the final drive -- and there was no run game to be found. The defense, meanwhile, was repeatedly victimized on downfield shots, with rookie Joshua Williams outmatched on the outside. All in all, it's not a loss to lose sleep over, but you do wonder if Mahomes and Travis Kelce are being asked to do too much in shootouts with real contenders.|
Bills-Chiefs grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Philadelphia 26-17 over Dallas
|Since Cooper Rush took over as the starter, the Cowboys have been winning games by playing great defense and getting mistake-free football from Rush, but both of those things went out the window during the first half in Philadelphia. The Cowboys defense got gashed for 20 points in the second quarter alone. As for Rush, he threw two of his three interceptions in first half and the Eagles were able to turn those picks into 10 points. The Cowboys have already proved they can win with Rush, but they haven't proved they can win with him when they have to play from behind. After this game, the Cowboys will be counting down the days until Dak Prescott can return. Rush did an admirable job of keeping Dak's seat warm, but this loss proves that Prescott definitely gives the Cowboys the best chance of doing anything big this year.|
|The Eagles proved why they're the best team in the NFL. They can beat you by running the ball, they can beat you by throwing the ball and if their offense stalls at all, then their defense will beat you. The defense came up with three big interceptions and Philly needed every single one of them. The final pick, which came from C.J. Gardner-Johnson, iced the Eagles win in the fourth quarter. Offensively, the Eagles exploded for 20 points in the second quarter, which seems to be something they've perfected (They've scored 112 points in the second quarter this year, which is the most in NFL history through six weeks). The Eagles did let Dallas back in this game, but they quickly shut down the comeback attempt with a 75-yard TD drive in the fourth quarter. The Eagles are good at everything and it might be awhile before we see anyone beat them.|
Cowboys-Eagles grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)