Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackThe Packers had hope that was bordering on optimism following their Week 10 victory over the Bears, but Green Bay regressed a week later against the Ravens and suffered a 23-0 shutout at home. Brett Hundley is a difficult time commanding the Packers offense, and while he can make a decent play on an occasional basis, he cannot string them together and the Packers are paying the price.The Steelers seem like the most legitimate challengers in the AFC to the Patriots, and they may be the more talented team. They played up to that level in their Week 11 40-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and they have played their best games at home. Ben Roethlisberger would like to put another strong performance on the board.
- OffenseThe Packers have been hurt badly by injuries at the RB slot, and the responsibilities for the ground game have fallen to Jamaal Williams. The third-string running back is averaging 3.2 yards per carry and is not likely to improve at this point. Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are all outstanding receivers, but their production is down as a result of the Aaron Rodgers injury.The Steelers are likely the most dangerous offensive team in the league because they have Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but they have the 11th-ranked offense in the league and they should have been much more consistent to this point. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster is a big-play rookie who has caught 33-568-5 with seven plays of 20 yards or more.
- DefenseThe Packers have not had a dominant defense, and that’s just what they have needed to compete since Rodgers is out. Outside linebacker Nick Perry is the defense’s most dominant player, and he has 7.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Outside backer Blake Martinez leads the team with 84 tackles, while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has 51 stops, two interceptions and six passes defensed.The Steelers have the fourth-ranked defense in the league, and that unit is one of the hardest hitting units in the league and has been consistently impressive. Inside backer Ryan Shazier is one of the most complete players in the league with 71 tackles, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one recovery. Cameron Heyward has a team-high 7.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Packers have been able to hold their own on special teams as they do a solid job in punt and kickoff coverage and don’t allow long plays. PK Mason Crosby may not be among the most elite kickers, but he has made 11-of-14 FG attempts.The Steelers are coming to the point in the season where they will start to emphasize the return game a bit more, and that means Brown and Schuster-Smith should be able to turn it on. Chris Boswell is having an excellent year, having made 24-of-27 FG attempts, but Jordan Berry is an ordinary punter.
The Packers couldn’t beat the Ravens at home, so competing with the Steelers on the road looks like an improbable proposition. Green Bay lacks the firepower without their gunslinger Rodgers in the lineup.