One thing to watch for in each phase of the game as the Green Bay Packers prepare to take on the San Diego Chargers in Week 9...
- Offense: Running with authority––If the Packers can't have success running against the Chargers, it may be difficult for them to have signifiant success against any team. San Diego is a team whose best players have been ravaged by injuries. Arguably their best defender, Shaun Phillips is doubtful for the game. Another one of their linebackers, Larry English, is lost for the season and has been for some time. Defensive lineman Luis Castillo won't be playing. The replacements for all these players aren't known for stopping the run. The Packers will look to pick up where they left off at the end of the Vikings game when James Starks had three carries of 10-plus yards on the final possession of the game.
- Defense: Exploiting the Chargers offensive line's left side––The Chargers used to have a solid left side of the line, but they are under siege right now. Marcus McNeil appears past his prime and committed six penalties in their last game. The Packers might move Clay Matthews to his side of the line from time to time in order to give McNeil some more headaches. And with Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman out with a concussion, his replacement hasn't been as good. Given a bye week to get rested, maybe it's time B.J. Raji breaks out and causes some havoc in the Chargers backfield by getting through that side of center.
- Special teams: Keeping the punting game going––In 2010, Tim Masthay's season took off after a scintillating performance against the New York Jets in late October. He seemed to clear a hurdle that game. After a slow start in 2011, Masthay can only hope that a fantastic late October performance against the Vikings in which he averaged over 55 net yards per punt will spring him to another great finish this year as well.
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