After five games, is the Green Bay Packers’ defense for real?
Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers will provide some insight because, for the first time this season, the Packers finally will face an elite quarterback.
The Chargers might be 2-3, but Philip Rivers is one of the best in the business. Rivers, a 12th-year pro and five-time Pro Bowler, enters this week’s games ranked sixth with a passer rating of 103.9. He’s first in completions, first in yards and fifth in touchdowns.
He’ll face a Packers defense that ranks second with an opponent passer rating of 62.8. Over the last three weeks, it’s a league-low rating of 52.0.
"Their ability to get after the quarterback, create pressure [and] the way they fly around. All 11 guys work together," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. "You don’t see a lot of breakdowns on film, where there’s someone running scot-free down the field."
Rivers presents a different challenge. Here are the five quarterbacks the Packers have faced:
Chicago’s Jay Cutler: 22nd in rating, 27th in yards. Cutler’s rating is 85.4 with six touchdowns and three interception. Against Green Bay, Cutler’s rating was 67.5 with one touchdown, one interception. Difference: Green Bay, plus-17.9.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson: 11th in rating, 17th in yards. Wilson’s passer rating is 99.1 with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Against Green Bay, Wilson’s rating was 91.8 with two touchdowns and one interception. Difference: Green Bay, plus-7.3.
Kansas City’s Alex Smith: 20th in rating, ninth in yards. Smith’s rating is 88.1 with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Against Green Bay, Smith’s rating was 80.2 with one touchdown and one interception. Difference: Green Bay, plus-7.9.
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick: 32nd in rating, 23rd in yards. Kaepernick’s passer rating is 76.8 with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Against Green Bay, Kaepernick’s rating was 55.4 with no touchdowns and one interception. Difference: Green Bay, plus-21.4.
St. Louis’ Nick Foles: 29th in rating, 24th in yards. Foles’ passer rating is 77.6 with six touchdowns and five interceptions. Against Green Bay, Foles’ rating was 23.8 with one touchdown and four interceptions. Difference: Green Bay, plus-53.8.
Average rankings of those quarterbacks: 22.8 in rating, 20.0 in yards. Difference between quarterbacks’ overall rating and their ratings against the Packers: Green Bay, plus-21.7.