Before we get into our game preview I just have a little housekeeping to do. I’ll be away in France next week taking in some of the food and plenty of the wine. As such I may not do all five editions, or if I do they may come later in the day depending on when I get a chance to sit down and write.
I will however be watching the game on Sunday night, the benefit/curse of having a little one is that you’re pretty much confined to your room from 7 pm onwards. So I’ll definitely get the Monday reaction edition out to start the week, hopefully, it’s our 4th victory Monday of the season.
Should we just leave the rookie of the week belt in Florham Park? After Breece Hall won it last week, Sauce Gardner was named rookie of the week this week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Garrett Wilson win it this week, although looking at the Green Bay defense I’d probably bet on Breece.
Mike LaFleur will be going up against his older brother this week with Matt LaFleur the head coach of the Packers. In a press conference yesterday Mike said that he usually talks to Matt every Monday with his older brother offering critique for his play-calling…but they skipped that this week. In the words of Mike “That’s what sucked about Monday.”
Jermaine Johnson didn’t practice again yesterday which means he’s a long shot to play on Sunday. Duane Brown was limited but that seems more management than anything else and Quincy was limited. Here is how Green Bay’s injury report shapes up.
Last week I headed to London to take in the Packers/Giants game and although I couldn’t quite believe the Giants walked out of that game with a win, I came away relatively unimpressed with the cheeseheads. I also had to google why they’re called the cheeseheads because, in over 20 years of watching this sport, I had never thought to look.
Five weeks into the season and Green Bay is sitting at 3-2, the same as the Jets. They have wins over the Patriots (OT), Bears, and an undermanned Tampa team. Their losses have come to the Vikings in week one and the Giants last week. This may not be the vintage Packers of the last 10 years, but it’s still a very good football team.
I’m going to change things up this week in terms of how I structure the preview. Instead of one big rambling post, I’m going to break it down to goals on each side of the ball. First, we’re going to hit on 5 goals to stop the Green Bay offense.
When you think of the Green Bay Packers you tend to think of a high-octane offense, but DeVante Adams leaving for the west coast in the summer, the Packers are still trying to find their footing in the passing game. They rank 20th in terms of passing yards per game, but they haven’t lost that big play potential.
Goal #1 - Stop Explosive Plays
So far through five games, the Packers have 5 different players averaging over 10 yards per reception, including Sammy Watkins whose ability to win downfield has been showcased with his 18.5 yards per reception number. The Packers are actually 4th in the league with 20+ passes of over 20 yards and the Jet’s ability to prevent those big plays will go a long way to winning this game.
Goal #2 - Pressure on Rodgers
Rodgers is on a fast track to the hall of fame and while he may not be the QB he once was, he’s still going to be one of the better QBs the Jet’s defense face this year. When given time in the pocket Rodgers has shredded defenses to the tune of 74.6% of passes completed for 949 yards, 8 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions. When pressured the story changes dramatically and that’s due to the decline in Rodger’s mobility. When pressured he completes just 44.7% of his passes for 208 yards, 0 TD, and 1 INT.
Goal #3 - Target the right side of the line
The Packers have one of the best run-blocking lines in the league and left tackle David Bakhtiari is one of the better pass-blockers in football. However, the right side of the Green Bay line can be susceptible to the pass rush, especially if you throw in some stunts. Right guard Royce Newman and right tackle Elgton Jenkins have combined to allow 21 pressures and 5 sacks. Speed is the killer here and while Lawson likes to rush from the right side I wouldn’t mind seeing him slide over to the left for a handful of plays, if not Lawson then JFM and Huff should be targeting a big game.
Goal #4 - Limit the damage on the ground
The Jets have already faced the best running back duo in the league (in my opinion) in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt with Cleveland, they’ll now get to face one of the better duos in football when they line up against Aaron Jones and A.J Dillon. Surprisingly they’ve combined for just two touchdowns on the ground so far, but the Packers as a unit are averaging 5 yards per carry, good for 9th in the league. While neither has been a huge pass-catching threat so far this year with Jones catching 14 passes for 98 yards, he is one year removed from a 6 TD season through the air.
Goal #5 - Tackling, tackling & more tackling.
I know what you’re thinking, thank you captain obvious. In a game that revolves around one team having to stop another team from moving a ball forward, tackling will be important. Aaron Jones is 4th in the league in terms of missed tackles forced with 20, with 243 of his yards coming after contact (8th most in the league). Christian Watson, Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard all have the potential to hurt you if you don’t wrap up on initial contact. Here are the missed tackle numbers for the Jets by weeks:
vs Baltimore - 5 missed tackles
@ Cleveland - 17 missed tackles
vs Bengals - 7 missed tackles
@ Pittsburgh - 7 missed tackles
vs Miami - 8 missed tackles
We have one game where tackles were an issue and it came against a team with strong runners. You could say “well we won that game”, we did, we won it with some miracle plays. The reason we needed some miracle plays? We didn’t tackle well enough. Jones and Dillon will test this defense in terms of their tackling and they need to answer that call.
Goal #1 - Get the ground game going
For as good as the Packers are running the ball, they can be prone to problems defending it. On average they are giving up 126.4 yards per game on the ground, 4.8 yards per carry and have allowed 5 rushing touchdowns in 5 games. I was surprised last week to see Saquon Barkley limited to just 18 carries considering he was going at 5.4 yards an attempt. They gave up 86 yards to Damien Harris despite everyone knowing the Patriots were going to be run-heavy with Bailey Zappe playing QB. After his breakout game against the Dolphins, I’d look to get Breece the ball early and often.
Goal #2 - Avoid tunrovers
This is true for every game but especially against an offense like the Packers, you give Aaron Rodgers a short field and you’re asking to take the L back to New York. The Packers have one of the better defenses against the pass, they’ve allowed only 885 passing yards through the air, that’s the 2nd best mark in the league. However, they’ve only generated one interception so far which came courtesy of Jaire Alexander against the Bears in week two. Now’s not the time to help them bump their numbers.
Goal #3 - Pick up the Blitz
The game against Miami represented the performance of the season by the offensive line and if all goes well the Jets will be starting the same offensive line in consecutive games for the first time this season. Considering its week six that’s absolutely crazy. I have faith in this line but the Packers like to dial up the blitz. The packers have blitzed on 33.8% of all snaps this season which is the 5th highest mark in the league, but their pressure percentage of 25.2% is only good for 12th. They have 12 sacks to their name which is 11th in the league and a lot of that comes from the blitz package. Our TEs and RBs will need to have their heads on a swivel and Zach will need to recognize and exploit where the extra pressure is coming from.
Goal #4 - Stay patient in the passing game
As mentioned above the Packers have only given up 885 passing yards, but here’s the kicker, they allow 72.9% of all passes to be completed which is the worst mark in the league. They have a bend but don’t break mentality and so far they’ve done a good job, but we need to stay patient with our game plan. Last week the Packers really struggled with crossing routes which the Jets like to employ. The Giants just chipped away against a zone-heavy team, they didn’t try to do too much, and in the end that really paid off. The Packers have also played Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, Tom Brady with no receivers, and Kirk Cousins. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop over the season.
Goal #5 - Force missed tackles
I’m looking at you, De’Vondre Campbell. After coming off a First-Team All-Pro season, Campbell signed a five-year, $50 million contract this past offseason and he’s been pretty poor since then. He already has more missed tackles (7) through 5 games than he did the entire 2021 season (4). Green Bay had a tendency last year to play a single ILB called their “penny” package and Campbell was free to seek and destroy, this year the Packers are playing more nickel with first-round pick Quay Walker playing alongside Campbell, and they don’t look comfortable. The Packers as a team have only 32 missed tackles as a unit and without premier run-stuffing defensive linemen, if you can force some missed tackles by the linebackers there are big play opportunities for Breece and Carter.
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Nice work David, and hope you enjoy France. I think MC might have a better time of it this week than Breece. From what I have seen of Green Bay this year, it seems that they seem to have more problems with the run up to contact and maybe his elusiveness is good for that? Any stats to prove / disprove my hunch?