Gridiron Gab Week Eight Preview – Jacksonville at Green Bay

On paper, Sunday’s game at Lambeau between the banged up Jaguars and the suddenly surging Packers is the biggest mismatch of the week.

And for good reason.

The Jaguars may be without their starting QB in Blaine Gabbert, and backup Chad Henne provided little offense last week when Gabbert was hurt as the team eventually lost in OT to the Raiders.

Jacksonville also will be without their biggest and best offensive weapon – running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is out for who knows how long with a foot injury.

The Jaguars also have provided little on defense, as last week they had a lead vs the Raiders of double digits in the second half, only to see Oakland rally late, and then go on to top them in overtime.

The Packers have some injury issues of their own, as leader on D Charles Woodson is out for six weeks with a broken clavicle. Even with that, the Pack shouldn’t have many issues with the Jags, who are averaging an NFL-worst 235.8 yards per game.

Rashad Jennings will start in place of MJD, and needs to do something rushing the ball to keep the hot Packers offense off the field. Jennings rushed 21 times for 44 yards and a touchdown versus the Raiders.

Gabbert was suited up for practice Wednesday, and the QB said he expects to face Green Bay. Henne is ready to start, but last week went 9 for 20 for 71 yards while being sacked three times in relief last week.

“We were very inept in a lot of the things we did. A lot of frustrating things offensively,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “We’ve got to protect (the quarterback) obviously better. He had some chances finally to throw the ball down the field and (Henne) got real clean runners right at him where he had no chance. It’s hard to give a guy a grade when the protection is not up to the standards that we need to win.”

Aaron Rodgers, has completed 71.4 percent of his passes while throwing 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions over his last four games. He finished 30 of 37 for 342 yards and three TDs – two to Randall Cobb – in last week’s win.

He should have a field day at home picking on a Jags secondary that allowed the Raiders to rally from 14 down last week. The Packers will also turn to Alex Green on the ground. Last week he ran 20 times for only 35 yards and is averaging 2.4 yards per carry in his two starts. Even with that, he will get a chance to get going Sunday.

With everything said, this is going to be a blowout of usual Packer standards. The Packers will have one of those games where they put up huge numbers, while the Jaguars are already thinking about a top three pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Green Bay 41 Jacksonville 14

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