Senior writer jclombardi highlights game day headlines.
Packers vs Jets Preview: Teams: Packers (4-3) vs. Jets (5-1). Time: Noon CT, Sunday. Place: New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. TV coverage: FOX – WITI (Ch. 6) in Milwaukee and WMSN (Ch. 47) in Madison. Rankings: The Packers’ 11th-ranked offense is No. 20 in rushing and No. 8 in passing. Their 18th-ranked defense is No. 23 against the run and No. 14 against the pass. The Jets’ 17th-ranked offense is No. 2 in rushing and No. 27 in passing. Their 12th-ranked defense is No. 7 against the run and No. 22 against the pass. Injury report: Packers – DE Jenkins (calf), DE/NT Pickett (ankle), RB Nance (ankle) and RT Tauscher (shoulder) are questionable. LT Clifton (knee), S Collins (knee), WR Driver (quadriceps), G/T Newhouse (back) and CB Woodson (toe) are probable. Line: The Jets are favored by 6 ½ points. FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Shuffling the line–can the front seven be stout? RB LT’s revenge--how good is he at his age? Best in the business–Jets offensive line. On the mark–how good is Jets QB Sanchez? Keeping up with Jones–can WR Jones had a break out game to help Packers? PREDICTION–A nice little run toward their Nov. 14 bye if Packers could beat one of the AFC’s elite teams and then come home and take advantage of the downtrodden Cowboys. The problem is that the Jets are coming off a bye themselves and they’re the one team the Packers couldn’t afford to be facing with a decimated defensive line. The combination of a run-first offense and a great offensive line against a depleted defense spells trouble for the Packers..
Packers vs Jets preview: Keys to the game–The Packers’ ability to contain RBs Greene and Tomlinson will determine their ability to stay within striking distance. Green Bay allows 4.7 yards per carry, and lost another defender in OLB Brad Jones this week. If the Jets have their way on the ground, they’ll control the clock and methodically wear the Packers down. Green Bay only gives a token nod to its ground game, although RB Jackson is a solid receiver out of the backfield. QB Aaron Rodgers has a difficult task between reading the Jets’ pre-snap movement and delivering accurate passes against a secondary finally healthy coming out of a bye week. Game plan–A depleted Packers front seven defense will be on the spot against the Jets’ run-heavy offense with rushing monsters Tomlinson and Green. QB Sanchez has been hard to fluster, so the Packers may not be as reliant with their pressure packages. QB Rodgers can expect exotic pass rushes from the Jets. Rodgers will have to be on with his hot reads when Ryan brings the pressure from all angles. The Jets have been susceptible to giving up big chunks of passing yards. Yet, cornerbacks Revis and Cromartie are as disruptive as they come in the passing lanes. Turnovers could be telling with the Jets’ boasting of a league-leading plus-10 in the takeaway-giveaway ratio and the Packers struggling at minus-1.
Packers vs Jets predictions: McGinn-in their last two games, the Jets were on the ropes against the Vikings at home and against the Broncos on the road. Mark Sanchez is holding them back. Injuries or not, the Packers can win with a tremendous three-phase performance, the kind that a Mike McCarthy-coached team almost never delivers. Silverstein: In some ways, this game has a similar flavor to the 2002 victory at New England, when Mike Sherman won with Matt Bowen, Todd Franz and Bryant Westbrook in a patchwork secondary. The Jets are due a bad game and the Packers haven’t played a great one yet. This could be their day. Packers 24, Jets 21. Nickel: If they can go 1-1 between the Jets and Dallas next week, the Packers will be 5-4 heading into their bye week, and the way the NFC is playing out so far, that’s not too bad. A loss here is not the end of the world. A win would make waves. Jets 31, Packers 24.
Packers slow start to season fits pattern of McCarthy era: If the Green Bay Packers, a six-point underdog Sunday at the New York Jets, go down as the oddsmakers predict, they will be .500 or worse at the midway point of the season for the fourth time in Mike McCarthy’s five seasons as head coach. Whether or not there’s hope for a second-half performance like last season probably depends on whether the Packers can avoid any more catastrophic injuries, if they haven’t had too many already. McCarthy believes it can happen, but it must depend on Rodgers’ ability to cut down on turnovers and the defense’s ability to create turnovers like it did last season, when it led the league with 40. Rodgers has nine interceptions already this season after throwing just seven all of last season.
Commentary: The Packers sports spin about the final outcome of this big game should be amusing. The bet is that the dominant line is on the depleted front seven defensive line and so on. It will probably go the way of, “If we are 5-4 going into the bye week….” The final outcome will be a true measure of the Packer character under the McCarthy era and Rodgers era. We shall see.