Pre-Game Meal: Green Bay Packers

Throwback! This game wasn't very fun.

NEPD Staff Writer B. Delabarrera-

In what looked like a match up between two of the NFL’s most dangerous quarterbacks, Sunday night’s prime time game between the New England Patriots (11-2) and the Green Bay Packers (8-5) was deflated with the news that QB Aaron Rodgers didn’t make it through his post-concussion tests.

Without Rodgers, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, a mediocre running game, a rookie quarterback, and a solid defense will scramble to keep hold of their season as it slowly seems to spiral out of playoff contention. Even though this Packers defense is ranked No. 1 in scoring, it is still a very tall task for a team, riddled with injuries as Green Bay has been, to expect to contain Tom Brady in his own house. Especially when he has been scoring and performing like he has been over this past stretch.

McCarthy is a good football coach, though, and no one should expect this game to be an easy one for the Pats. He should be able to devise a good running game plan which integrates short, quick throws for his first-time starter, Matt Flynn. Their defense will most likely be on the field more than their offense, so it will be crucial for Green Bay to try and score whenever they get the opportunity.

The Packers will try their hardest to trouble Brady in the pocket and get him to put them in a better position to win the game. Am I saying that this game is the Patriots’ to lose?

Yup.

Tom-26-straight-home-wins-Brady vs. Cheesehead Defense – Tom Brady is Tom Brady… not many people can stop him from doing what he does best. The Green Bay Packers have picked off opposing quarterbacks 18 times this season (1 less than the Patriots), and CB Tramon Williams has been playing exceptionally well (51 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 FF, 17 PD).

However, with the loss of another LB, this time Frank Zombo, Green Bay’s pass rush and defense will take a hit that it really can’t afford. There are still some serious players hanging around this team though; A.J. Hawk, B.J. Raji, and the animalistic Clay Matthews to name a few. Matthews should bring the heat on Sunday night as he is a player that thrives in big games and likes to feed off his energy once he gets some momentum going. I think that Belichik mixes up the flow enough to keep Brady’s stats soaring, the streak without an interception ends, but he still throws 2-3 scores in the meantime…

Green Bay’s Possessions vs. The Best Worst Defense – Statistically, there’s no comparison between the two running backs this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been running hard and capping off his drives with scores to prove it, while Brandon Jackson for GB has only mustered up 546 yards and 3 scores as he’s had to take a seat behind Aaron Rodgers’ stellar play.

Here is his chance to let his team know that he can carry them if he’s up to the task. I think that the NE defense will be smelling the blood in the water with this Packers team instead of underestimating them and getting “Cleveland Browns-ed” again.

Simultaneously, if the Patriots can score quickly and force McCarthy to rely on Flynn, the advantage will lie heavily with the home team. The Packers’ offensive line is usually suspect, allowing +25 sacks in the pass protection game. If the New England defensive ends and linebackers can take advantage of the GB offensive line’s predictable lapses in attention and get to Flynn, they will be able to control the flow of play. 

Mayo has to lead his crew of men to stuff the runs when they present themselves, while keeping his teammates on the lookout for play-action. Rookie standout Devin McCourty may sit out after the ruling on Rodgers. Even though Green Bay’s receivers like Greg Jennings and Donald Driver pose their respective threats in the route-running game, it will be up to Matty Flynn to get the ball to them and coach Belichick may feel that the other DBs may be able to manage the task at hand without the DROY candidate.

The Green Bay Packers have done a really good job of maintaining a winning record while they deal with the constant inflow of injuries to their players. While I do believe that they have the talent to win without their upper-echelon QB, it is just very hard to defeat these Pats at home; especially if it snows. The Packers will literally have to rip the momentum away from New England and just worry about keeping 1 of the 3 threats at the tight end position at bay.

Wild Card – WR Greg Jennings – If McCourty sits the game out, the door opens up for Jennings to use his big frame and speed to get behind the Patriot defense. If that happens, all it will take is a hefty lob from Matt Flynn to secure 6 points. I really hope our guys don’t get too cocky…

35-24 Patriots…. Belichik 1 – 0 McCarthy as of right now… and until Bill loses, in Bill I trust.

-B.DelaBarrera

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