Both the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers were in the playoff conversation this offseason. But each has stumbled five weeks into 2018.
Five weeks into the season, things figured to be going a lot smoother for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. The former won its final five games in 2017 and there was a lot of optimism surrounding the club. Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy’s squad would be getting back a healthy Aaron Rodgers.
A year ago, the prolific signal caller went down in Week 6 with a broken collarbone. And Green Bay’s promising 4-1 start morphed into a 7-9 season – the club’s first losing campaign and non-playoff appearance since 2008.
But as these teams prepare to meet each other on Monday night at Lambeau Field neither the Niners nor the Pack have a winning record after five games. Kyle Shanahan’s club is off to a 1-4 start, lowlighted by the fact that starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a knee injury at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3. And with the San Francisco defense still trying to find itself in terms of a big-play unit, the team is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, allowing a combined 95 points in setbacks to the Chiefs, Chargers and Cardinals.
As for the Packers, McCarthy’s team has yet to play a complete game. There was the comeback win over the Bears in Week 1, followed by a 29-all tie with the Minnesota Vikings seven days later when the offense reached the end zone just once. Now Green Bay has dropped two of its three games, allowing 31 points in road setbacks to the Redskins and Lions.
Be it poor defense or inept special teams play, there’s really been nothing for the club to hang its hat on after five weeks. While Rodgers has more than respectable passing numbers, he’s also made his share of mistakes. Last week in the 31-23 loss at Ford Field, he was strip sacked twice and his lost fumbles would result in a combined 10 points for the Lions.
Of course, miscues were the story of the day for the 49ers a week ago. Quarterback C.J. Beathard was responsible for four of the team’s five turnovers in a 28-18 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals. San Francisco outgained their division rival from the desert by a combined 447-220 in total yards and had 33 first downs to the Cards’ 10. But Beathard was also sacked four times and one of his lost fumbles was returned for a touchdown. Like McCarthy and the club, the Niners’ season has been marked by inconsistent play and mistakes.
Common wisdom says the Green Bay Packers are at home and should take care of business against a San Francisco team that appears to be very undermanned these days. But this has been anything but a common start to the season for McCarthy and company. Is this the week that the team puts it all together and shows that it has what it takes to challenge for a playoff berth. At the moment, the jury is very much out on the team from “Titletown.”