If you said at the beginning of the season that the Jets would enter week 15 only one win behind the Packers, people might look at you crazy. Now if you said that the Packers would only have five wins entering this matchup, people might think you’re out of your mind. Well, it’s true. Once seen as potential championship contenders, the Packers have looked quite the opposite, going 5-8-1 on the season while letting go of longtime Head Coach Mike McCarthy in the process.
The Jets enter Sunday’s contest coming off a tough loss to the Houston Texans, who were carried on their back by Pro Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Now they are back at Metlife again, this time facing off against future HoF quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
As usual though the Packers are still ride on the back of Rodgers. He has been solid statistically this season, throwing for almost 4,000 yards while producing at an elite td/interception rate. On the other hand, the wins have been hard to come by for Green Bay this season, something they have not been used to during Rodgers tenure.
Green Bay comes into New York having lost four out of their last five. The most stinging loss was last week in Chicago, where the 24-17 defeat helped clinch the Bears first NFC North title since 2010. All four losses have been by less than 7 points but the way they are losing is puzzling. The magic that Rodgers possesses, even during late game situations, has not been there. They have suffered embarrassing losses that include late game muffed fumbles on special teams and kicking woes that potentially could have sealed two victories.
The Packers weakness resides in their offensive line. They have allowed 46 sacks this season, fourth most in the NFL. Since week one, Rodgers has been plagued with a nagging knee injury. In last week’s contest the Jets were able to record 6 sacks, three of them coming from Henry Anderson.
Rodgers favorite weapon is Pro Bowler Davante Adams. Adams has torched defenses this season, accounting for 1315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has gone over 100 receiving yards five times while being held scoreless in just four games.
The blueprint for the Jets starts with pressuring Rodgers and leaving Green Bay’s defense to come up with big stops. If the Jets can do that, then they will be able to squeak out a win against the Pack.
When: Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 CBS
Where: Metlife Stadium
Series: New York leads 8-4
Last Meeting: New York 24, Green Bay 31
Last Jets Win: 12/03/2006 New York 38, Green Bay 10
Injury Report: Jets: DNP- Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder), Quincy Enunwa (ankle), / Limited Practice- Darryl Roberts (toe), Jordan Jenkins (ankle)/ Full Practice: Robby Anderson (ankle), Kelvin Beachum (knee), Morris Claiborne (shoulder/neck), Sam Darnold (foot), Jordan Leggett (knee), Spencer Long (knee/finger), Buster Skrine (shoulder), Elijah McGuire (ankle), Trenton Cannon (toe), Eric Tomlinson (achilles), Leonard Williams (elbow), Jonotthan Harrison (wrist), Brian Winters (finger), Jermaine Kearse (calf)
Packers: DNP- Kenny Clark (elbow), Randall Cobb (concussion), Will Redmond (shoulder), Jason Spriggs (concussion) /Limited: Bryan Bulaga (knee), Jimmy Graham (knee/ thumb), Jake Kumerow (hand),/ Full Practice: Lucas Patrick (illness), Aaron Rodgers (knee/ groin), JK Scott (illness), Jamaal Williams (toe)
Jets Rankings 2018: Offense: Points per game 20.9 (24th), Rushing 105.1 (22nd), Passing 193.4 (28th), Yards Per Game 298.4 (28th), Third Down% 32.6 (29th)/ Defense: Points per game 25.6 (24th), Rushing, 125.9 (23rd), Passing, 243.4 (19th), Yards per game: 369.4 (22nd), Third Down % 32.6% (2nd)
Packers Rankings 2018: Offense Points per game, 23.7 (16th), Rushing, 106.7 (21st), Passing, 264 (9th), Yards per game, 370.7 (10th), Third Down, 36.9 (22nd)/ Defense: Points per game, 23.6 (17th), Rushing, 124.1 (22nd), Passing, 225.5 (9th), Yards per game, 349.6 (15th), Third down %, 36.9 (8th)
Keys to the game
It’s well documented that Davante Adams is the best receiver on the Packers, for good reason. After having a monster 2017 campaign, he’s topped himself this season, accounting for 12 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards. The connection between Rodgers and Adams has clicked all season, and he has served as Rodgers security blanket just like Jordy Nelson used to. Behind Adams has been a whole lot of question marks. Jimmy Graham has looked like a shell of his old self while other receivers such as Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Randall Cobb have been injured and inconsistent. If Adams receives most of the defensive attention then it will force other wideouts to step up, which has been a problem for the Packers all season.
Even though Rodgers has been labored with an ailing knee injury since week one, his best asset remains his legs and ability to throw on the run. Rodgers is a master of creating extra plays and extending would-be sacks for long gains. If Rodgers can get out of the pocket and throw on the run, its going to be a long day for New York. Containing him and forcing him to be a pocket passer is the best hope against this future HoF quarterback.
Don’t shoot your foot
One of the ugliest parts of the Jets season has been the lack of discipline and inopportune penalties. During the game against the Titans, multiple penalties in the final drive helped push Tennessee to victory. The penalties have been killer for New York and have often given opposing teams more chances to put up points. Giving Aaron Rodgers any extra opportunities will be costly. He has proven over time that he turns extra chances into points.
Defensive line. If the defensive line can get pressure on Rodgers like they did for Deshawn Watson they should put themselves in good position to win the ball game. If Rodgers sits back and has all day to throw, the Jets will get torched continually. The offensive line has proven to be the weakest group within the packers, so getting pressure should not be a daunting task. Henry Anderson is coming off arguably his best game as a pro with 3 sacks, so expect him to continue to build on his breakout season.
New York 20, Green Bay 17
Green Bay has been beaten up and underperformed most of the season, so taking a loss to the Jets would be less of a shock than most people would think. Though the Jets lost last week there were a lot of positive signs, especially from Sam Darnold and the offense. The Packers defense has crumbled over the long season and has failed to put pressure on the quarterback. I expect Darnold to continue his hot stretch and throw for one of his best games of the season.