A.J. Hawk: Packers Struggles Were Partly Injuries

In Week 11, the sky was falling in Green Bay. The Packers had just lost, 42-24, against Washington on the road. It was their fourth straight loss and their fifth time in six games allowing 30+ points. Green Bay was 4-6 and its season was in a tail spin.

Well, that is no longer the case. The Packers have won six straight games – the longest winning streak in the NFC – to claim the NFC North crown for the fifth time in six years.

What changed, you ask? As it turns out, not a whole lot.

“I think everyone made a huge deal when they were 4-6 about what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers and this team?” former Packer A.J. Hawk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think it was partly injury. I think having a guy like Corey Linsley, the center, I think having him out was a big deal for their offense. But the thing is, Aaron was still playing pretty well throughout that whole stretch when they were losing games anyway. It’s just the guys around him weren’t playing great. The defense wasn’t playing great football. Their defense has really improved. They’ve been getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, getting some guys back that were hurt, and doing well in the back end, too. I don’t think a whole lot has changed other than getting a couple guys healthy, and the guys that are supposed to make plays are making them.”

Green Bay (10-6) will host the Giants (11-5) in a Wild Card matchup this Sunday. New York has won nine of 11 since losing 23-16 at Lambeau Field in October in Week 5.

The Giants have been one of the best teams in football this year, especially during the second half of the season, but few people are talking about that this week. That’s because Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants wideouts flew to Miami on Sunday and spent the night clubbing in South Beach.

While many in the media are criticizing Beckham and his teammates, a lot of former players have stood up for the Giants.

“Man, I have no problem with it,” Hawk said. “The only thing I may have said to them – and hey, I don’t care even that they posted it on Instagram. I assume that they understood that by posting this, this may cause a little bit of a stir and it may cause my teammates to have to answer some questions on, hey, what were you doing on your off day? Do you agree with what your teammates were doing? Ben McAdoo, he was at Green Bay with me for many years. Ben even said it’s their off day, players are allowed to do whatever they want on their off day. As a pro, and I think speaking for most players, you think, hey, as long as you show up to work on Wednesday or whenever your first meeting is, they do not care what you were doing when you were away from that facility. But it just adds to the storyline now. If Odell Beckham has a dropped ball on the first series, you think the networks aren’t going to talk about that trip and probably show the picture they posted?”

We’ll find out soon. Kickoff on Sunday is at 4:40 p.m. ET.

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