Packers’ biggest X-Factor through first 3 weeks of 2021 NFL season
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are fresh off a dramatic 30-28 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football in Week 3. It was an intense matchup, to say the least, but the Packers were able to make a clutch drive with just 37 seconds left in the game to get the win. While they are now 2-1, Green Bay has much bigger goals in mind.
Coming into the 2021 NFL season, it was clear that the Packers are Super Bowl or bust this season. No one knows what the future holds for Rodgers with the Packers. Many thought he would never play another game for Green Bay prior to the start of the year.
Despite all of the question marks surrounding the Packers in the future, they are completely focused on now. One player, in particular, has become the obvious main X-Factor for the Packers’ success through the first three weeks of the season.
Packers’ Biggest X-Factor Through Three Weeks
Aaron Jones has clearly been the piece that decides how good the Packers’ offense is capable of being. In Week 1, he struggled to get anything going. He carried the football just five times for nine yards and caught two passes for 13 yards.
When Jones can’t establish the ground game, Rodgers and the aerial attack are usually put in a very bad position.
In Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, Jones came through with a monstrous performance. He rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Jones also racked up six receptions for 48 yards and three scores as a receiving back.
Finally, in Week 3 against the 49ers, Jones carried the ball 19 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 14 yards. It wasn’t his biggest performance, but his ability to pick up yardage on the ground forced San Francisco to play the Packers’ offense honestly.
Rodgers is the NFL’s reigning MVP for a reason. He can shred defenses at will and can power the Packers to win after win. However, when he gets help from Jones on the ground, or as a receiver out of the backfield, everything looks much easier.
Bringing Jones back in free agency during the offseason was a major priority for the Packers. He became one of the league’s top running backs last season when he rushed for 1,104 yards and nine touchdowns, while also racking up 47 catches for 355 yards and two scores. To reward him for his big season, Green Bay decided to give Jones a four-year contract worth $48 million.
The future for the Packers looks bright this season. Even after their brutal Week 1 loss to the Saints, they are back to looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. In order for them to play up to their full potential, however, they need Jones firing on all cylinders.
A.J. Dillon was expected to have a much larger role for the Packers, but he has only carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards this season. It has been made clear by Matt LaFleur and company that Jones will be utilized much more like a workhorse running back in 2021. That has made his value as a player and especially as a fantasy football option skyrocket.
Expect to see the Packers continue looking to establish the running game early and often each and every week. Aaron Jones is more than capable of putting up even bigger production than he has so far this season. There is no question that he will be Green Bay’s biggest offensive X-Factor moving forward this season.