Saturday, November 29, 2014

NFL Preview: The Green Bay Packers vs. The New England Patriots

In what could shape up to be the game of the year, the Green Bay Packers welcome the New England Patriots to Lambeau Field. This game provides one of the best QB duels in NFL history that surprisningly has never happened before. Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady is a battle of the past and the present of the NFL. Both are playing at a high level this season, and are competing against eachother for the MVP award. This game isn't just about the quarterback matchup though. This game could prove that the Packers do belong with the NFL elite. This game is a measuring stick for the Packers season. We will see how far they have come, and if they are legit Super Bowl contenders. Here are a few things the Packers will have to do to prevail in this potential Super Bowl preview.

1. Packers Must Stop The Run: 

The Packers run defense has been hit or miss each game this season. They currently rank 30th in rush defense, but were dead last a few weeks ago. They started out the season being horrible against the rush. They worked to strengthen the unit until Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards against them. It seems like this team has a tough time with aggressive runners. The Patriots bring two aggresive runners into this matchup in the form of Jonas Gray and Lagarette Blount. Blount who was just signed last week by the Patriots has given the Packers fits in the Past. Linebackers must wrap up and bring these guys down before they get to the secondary. They can't allow the Patriots to be an even keeled team. Brady will light it up through the air so the run must be stopped.

2. Establish The Run: 

It'll be a game that the Packers will have to play keep away from the Patriots and Brady. Normally teams are trying to play keep away from the Packers offense. For the Packers to do this they will have to establish the run. Eddie Lacy is playing some great ball these last few weeks with his catching and running abilities. His rushing will be needed on Sunday. Lacy is coming off of his best rushing performance of the season with a 125 yard effort against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. Lacy iced the game against the Vikings by picking up the last two first downs needed to milk the clock. If the Packers can get a run game going and accompany it with the explosive passing game then the Packers will be unstopable. The Patriots rank 15th against the run which isn't terrible, but it defiinetly suggests that they can be run on. The Packers offensive line may have to play one of their more aggresive games on Sunday.

3. Respect The Patriots Secondary: 

The New England Patriots boast one of the more talented secondary's in the NFL. With Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner they pose probably the biggest threat against the Packers talented set of receivers. When teams have been aggresive with Jordy Nelson he hasn't looked his best. Revis and Browner are two of the most pshyical corners in the game. And it gets better for the Patriots with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung playing safety. Aaron Rodgers is one of the more safer quarterbacks in the league when it comes to turning the ball over. This trait will come in handy on Sunday when Rodgers will have to play chess on the field against this secondary. Rodgers holds the record for most passing attempts without an interception at home, but will he be able to keep the streak alive on Sunday? I believe so.

Confidence is at a maximum for the Green Bay Packers after their slow start to the season. The same could be said for the New England Patriots who had famillair struggles early in the season. If this game was in Foxborough I think it would be wise to go with the Patriots. But this game will be played at Lambeau, and I think the Packers could be one of the best homefield teams in the league this season. The Packers will pull this game out on Sunday, and continue their quest for the number one seed in the NFC.

AJ's Prediction:

Green Bay Packers: 31

New England Patriots: 28

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