Are Packers on verge of free fall as Vikings ascend? – Sports Illustrated

Are Packers on verge of free fall as Vikings ascend? – Sports Illustrated

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Daunting schedule awaits struggling Packers
Blowing a 14-point lead and failing to score in the second half with the exception of a freebie safety by the Giants has put the Green Bay Packers in a delicate situation in the race with the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North crown. 
Nothing is definitive with the loss, but it gives the Vikings a massive opportunity to beat the Bears on Sunday and hold a one-game lead over the Packers while also owning a victory in the first of two head-to-head matchups between the border rivals. 
What's more is the Packers loss to the Giants, even though the Giants are 4-1, is another bullet point on a growing list of reasons the Packers may be significantly overrated. Look no further than the most recent power rankings, where most "experts" had the Packers No. 4 in the NFL. 
They held that lofty rating despite losing to the Vikings, who are rated below Green Bay by most, scoring only 14 points against a shorthanded Bucs team in Tampa and then needing overtime to beat a third-string quarterback and the Patriots at home. 
Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game, and the Packer offense has yet to give any reason to believe they're legit. Rodgers hasn't been the same without Davante Adams. 
How long will the world wait for Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard and Christian Watson to do something magical before the Packer stock plummets?
That defense, with seven first-round picks in the lineup, hasn't been as advertised. 
And now the Packers are staring up in the division while entering a slippery stretch of the schedule. After hosting the Jets next week, Green Bay runs the gauntlet with three straight away games at Washington, Buffalo and Detroit. Then they return to Lambeau to face the Cowboys and Titans (on four days rest) before going to Philly. 
If Green Bay doesn't sharpen its play, they risk piling up losses over the next seven weeks. And their schedule doesn't soften in December-January as they face the Bears (at Soldier Field), Rams, Vikings and Lions. 
Related: Ranking Vikings' remaining opponents hardest to easiest

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