Entering their bye in Week 7, Green Bay was in the discussion for best team in the NFL. Since then, the Packers have gone 4-5 straight-up and against the spread.
The Packers' offense got broken. It remains unfixed. So, what to do about it?
Here is my suggestion: Tank this week. The Packers should sit out Aaron Rodgers, banged-up Eddie Lacy and their battered offensive line. Yes, I fully realize the Packers are hosting Minnesota for NFC North Division title.
But regardless of who wins this Sunday night game at Lambeau Field, both teams still have to play the following week. The winner does not get a bye. It's actually to the Packers' advantage to lose. Yes, lose. If the Packers beat the Vikings they get the No. 3 seed and a first-round home game against either Seattle, or a rematch with Minnesota.
However, if the Packers lose to the Vikings they then would play Washington. That game would be on the road, but if I'm Mike McCarthy I would rather take on the Redskins then either the Seahawks or Vikings.
Rodgers and McCarthy aren't on the same page. Green Bay's wide receivers can't get separation. Randall Cobb has regressed without Jordy Nelson to take double teams off him. The Packers don't have a tight end with speed.
Making this situation much worse are injuries to every one of Green Bay's starting offensive linemen. The two tackles, David Bakhitari and Bryan Bulaga, are dealing with knee injuries. Bakhitari didn't play this past Sunday and Bulaga had to exit. Center Corey Linsley and guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton are all hurting, too, to the point where there effectiveness has been compromised. Unfortunately for Green Bay their offensive line reserves have proven unworthy to the point of being jokes.
The Packers could rest their starters while using the extra time to redesign their passing attack. That might give the Packers a chance this season. But their offense does need to be rebuilt.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy haven't been sharp enough to deviate from former general manager Ron Wolf's blueprint of 20 years. It was Wolf's philosophy that the Packers be build to run in cold weather using power backs and physical receivers.
Wolf's theory worked back then. It doesn't now. Thompson has proven too inflexible and dense to figure out that times and weather patterns have changed. Not only are the Wisconsin winters less harsh, but the Packers have an excellent playing surface at Lambeau Field thanks to a grass installation that was made seven years ago.
McCarthy is just as inflexible. He can't capitalize on Rodgers' greatness. To do that the Packers need to bring more speed to the flanks - not using a second-round draft pick on slow Davonte Adams - get a tight end who can stretch the field, find a legitimate third-down back who can catch and has wiggle such as Theo Riddick, Daren Sproles, Bilal Powell and Danny Woodhead.
The Packers need to start getting out of their comfort zone because it's not working. They need to start thinking out of the box.