Aaron Rodgers says Packers are 'close' as big game looms

Short week vs. undefeated Arizona is next major challenge

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – There's no rest for the weary.

"It's Wednesday for us, essentially," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said following Sunday's 24-10 victory over Washington.

He's referring, of course, to the upcoming trip to Arizona on Thursday for a showdown between two teams that are a combined 13-1 on the season. This next "week" is missing three days, so Sunday is already Wednesday.

The Cardinals remain the NFL's lone unbeaten team, and whether playing them on a short week gives the Packers a better or worse chance to hand them their first loss is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that's the challenge in front of Green Bay.

Preparation already is well underway. LaFleur said the members of the coaching staff not involved in calling plays during Sunday's game began putting together the Arizona game plan the past couple of days.

That work was continuing Sunday night, with the coaches staying late rather than going home like usual.

The players will get a brief workout in on Monday and get the full game plan handed to them Tuesday. Then multiple walk-throughs will take place before the plane leaves Wednesday afternoon.

"You've got to turn the page pretty quickly," LaFleur said.

"You get no live reps, but it's the same for both teams, so you gotta make the best of it."

The Packers are making this quick turnaround with a team dealing with notable plusses and minuses in all three phases.

On special teams, punter Corey Bojorquez continues to be a field-position weapon and the kickoff coverage unit had its best outing of the season Sunday. But one of Mason Crosby's field goals was blocked.

On defense, the unit continues to deal with injuries, and there's no telling whether Preston Smith or Kevin King will be back for Thursday. The group allowed 430 yards to Washington but was stingy as all get out with its back against the wall four times in the second half.

On offense, the injuries up front might have finally taken a toll, at least in the first half against a strong Washington front. Three sacks of Aaron Rodgers and a non-existent running game were tough to watch.

But seeing several key plays from Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan, including a TD from each, while Davante Adams continues to be the best receiver on the planet keeps the possibilities endless.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 7 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Washington Football Team on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

"I feel like we're close," Rodgers said. "We have to keep finding ways to get the ball to our guys in space, but when our defense is playing like they did today, we're going to be tough to beat."

To LaFleur, the offense is "one off quite a bit," meaning there's one player or one thing on any given play that's not quite in sync.

Will it come together for Thursday? Will the defense get closer to full strength? Will the special teams play a fully clean game?

There'd be no better time than against the NFC team everybody's chasing as the season nears its midway point.

"We're close, which is exciting, and we're still winning football games," Rodgers said.

"Real good football team on a short week, on the road. It's going to be a good test for us."

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