Packers' dynamite start is only that – a start

Gauntlet of top-flight QBs awaits Green Bay

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QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Well, there's plenty to like so far.

In two games, the Packers have scored 85 points. They've piled up 1,010 yards on offense. Aaron Rodgers has a 119.4 passer rating. Aaron Jones has over 300 yards from scrimmage and four TDs. The defense has six sacks, two picks and has scored twice, worth nine points.

Sunday's 42-21 home victory over Detroit has made it a historic start in various respects, too.

  • The Packers haven't begun a season with 40-plus points in their first two games since the birth of the franchise back in 1919.
  • Jones' 236 yards from scrimmage vs. the Lions are third most in team history and the most since Billy Howton's record 257 in 1956.
  • Sunday's 259 rushing yards as a team are the most in a game for the Packers since 2003, when they had 262 vs. Denver thanks to Ahman Green's franchise-record 98-yard run.

And the list goes on.

But there's little to no time to enjoy it. This is the NFL after all.

With two division wins in the books, and Head Coach Matt LaFleur now 8-0 in division games thus far since taking over, the Packers are where they need to be because a heck of a gauntlet is underway.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford started a run of opposing QBs for the Packers that continues next week with the Saints' Drew Brees, the Falcons' Matt Ryan, and then after the bye, the Buccaneers' Tom Brady and the Texans' Deshaun Watson.

"We're two games into this thing," LaFleur said. "There's a lot of football left in front of us."

That's for sure. The bad news is the Packers saw three key offensive players – receiver Davante Adams (hamstring), center Corey Linsley (hand) and returner/running back Tyler Ervin (concussion evaluation) – leave Sunday's game, so their status for the prime-time matchup in New Orleans next week is in question for now.

But the good news is the Packers' offense has kept rolling despite a lot of moving parts on the offensive line through two games, and with Adams getting neutralized by the Lions' constant double teams before he exited Sunday's game.

"I like where we're at," Rodgers said of the offense's strong performances early. "I knew we were at a different place starting this year than last year. I really felt better about my feel within the offense and what we on paper had talked about doing. A lot of stuff has played itself out in the first two weeks."

Defensively, the Packers have gone back and forth between allowing drives that look too easy for the opposition and making momentum-turning plays.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 2 game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.

Detroit's two touchdown drives to start the game made it five straight possessions with the opponent finding the end zone, dating back to last week's rough finish in Minnesota.

But the unit's ability to right the ship after Sunday's rough start was promising. The Lions scored just seven points on their final eight possessions.

Also, three times in two games, the opponent has been backed up inside its own 10-yard line to start a drive and Green Bay's defense has capitalized, one way or another.

All of that is a pretty decent formula for success, but in a week-to-week league, every game is a new start, its own entity. One of LaFleur's favorite phrases is about hitting the reset button, and it's never not appropriate.

The Packers don't play another NFC North game until Week 8. The two they've won are more important than any of the tough games coming up, but this is one eye-catching stretch they're heading into.

Oh, you wanted to catch your breath? Maybe during the bye week, but not right now.

"Again," LaFleur said, "we're only two games into this thing."

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