Packers vs. Jets: 5 Things to Watch and a Prediction

The Packers will attempt to bounce back from a tough opening loss against the Jets Sunday in Week 2. 

The Green Bay Packers (0-1) have now lost three-straight season openers, but a win Sunday against the visiting New York Jets (1-0) would give Green Bay three-straight bounce-back wins in Week 2. 

In 2012, the Packers followed up a 30-22 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers with a 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears. Last season, Green Bay lost in San Francisco, 34-28, but came home a week later to trounce Washington, 38-20. 

Meanwhile, the Jets are 1-0 for the fourth straight season. New York lost its second game in both 2011 and 2013. 

Here's five other things to watch and a prediction for Sunday:

 

1. Running on Empty

Less than 24 hours after the Seahawks ran for 207 yards in the opener, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters, "You are what you are." He's right. Given eight months to right wrongs, the Packers came out of Week 1 still looking like a bad defense against the run. In Seattle, Green Bay got sloppy in its gap discipline, had no answer for Percy Harvin on the jet sweep and couldn't make a tackle. Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk were again exposed as liabilities, especially with Letroy Guion playing the nose in front of them. 

Sunday provides no rest for the weary. The Jets rushed for a league-high 212 yards in Week 1. Chris Ivory is a load to bring down and Chris Johnson is still as fast as any back in the league. If the Packers don't fix their tacklng problems, Ivory could look Lynch-like, and Johnson is fast enough to pull off the jet sweep. Expect a heavy dose of both. No Jones (quad) could be addition by subtraction. 

 

2. Jet-Powered Line

New York has the three-man defensive line Green Bay wishes it had. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardon are arguably the best combo five-techs in the NFL, and Damon Harrison is no slouch on the nose. The three weigh almost 960 pounds combined (who said going small is in?). Wilkerson and Richardson are disruptive pass-rushers and sufficient run stoppers, while Harrison and his 350-pound frame just eats up space. 

Moving the three in the run game will be vital for the Packers, who struggled to find space for Eddie Lacy and James Starks in Seattle. McCarthy will likely want to establish the run, as one-dimensional offense plays right into Rex Ryan's hands. Handling a talented front won't be easy.

 

3. Here's Your Chance

Brad Jones won't play because of a quad injury, so Jamari Lattimore will start alongside A.J. Hawk at inside linebacker. He has a real chance to jump Jones—who had a burn-the-tape performance in Seattle—on the depth chart. He isn't afraid to hit people, which should be a startling difference on the finesse style of Jones. 

Also keep an eye on the nose tackle position. Guion is expected to start again, but if he's manhandled again early, the Packers could give looks to undrafted rookie Mike Pennel. He wasn't active in Seattle, which is pretty telling given the physical nature of the Seahawks offense. But he'll likely have a role Sunday. The Packers need to keep sending fresh bodies at Nick Mangold, New York's All-Pro center. 

 

4. Bounce back for 12?

Aaron Rodgers hasn't had many finished starts as unproductive as the one he posted last Thursday. He averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt, completed only three passes over 10 yards (on 10 attempts) and finished with 189 yards passing in Seattle. That said, the Seahawks may have one of the best defenses of the last 10-20 years. The Jets finished Week 1 ranked first in pass and run defense, but the New York defense can't matchup—especially in the secondary—with Seattle's. 

Expect Rodgers to play better. Probably much better. Dee Milliner may return at cornerback for the Jets, but the cornerback depth is spotty for New York, and Calvin Pryor is still a rookie safety starting his second-ever NFL game. The Packers receivers should find that space is easier to come by Sunday. Dinking-and-dunking shouldn't be necessary, and there's no worry about avoiding an entire side of the field in the passing game. Rodgers hasn't had back-to-back games with a passer rating under 90.0 since Weeks 2 and 3 in 2012. 

 

5. Ha Ha vs. Calvin

The two rookie safeties will be in focus. Back in May, the Jets took Pryor at No. 18 overall, while the Packers drafted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix four spots later. Who knows which of the two Ted Thompson would have picked had the opportunity been available. Pryor certainly looks like a physical, imposing presence at the back end. Clinton-Dix flashed athleticism but made some rookie mistakes in Seattle. Both will play plenty of snaps Sunday. 

 

Prediction: Packers 24, Jets 16 (1-0)

The Jets could be expected to play well along each line, but will that be enough to beat Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field? The Packers have won 10 straight regular-season home games that Rodgers has started and finished, averaging over 30 points per game. His rebound will be enough for the Packers to work through some lingering defensive issues. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. He is also the Lead Writer for the NFC North at Bleacher Report. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected].

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Comments (10)

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aj's picture

September 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I think it will be a little higher scoring game. Jordy and cobb are way more talented than the corners of the jets, I believe this game will be higher scoring than you predicted. Arod will have a huge bounce back performance, and it will help the pack pin their ears back and rush the passer. This team is built for a lead. With the pass rushing talent from the edges, geno will get sacked multiple times and we'll see a couple turnovers forced by the d. I say pack win 34-24 with the jets scoring a garbage time td due to the stupid prevent defense.

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TommyG's picture

September 13, 2014 at 08:37 am

Aj, I think you are correct. The jets do not run the type of offense that shreds our D. Many players will look like stars tomorrow.

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Imma Fubared's picture

September 13, 2014 at 08:40 am

I have the Jets winning by 10. They have an enormous pass rush as seen against da bears last week. The Safeties have the time to adjust while that pressure is being applied.

Geno Smith may? have arrived. I thought he had Travaris J syndrom, couldn't read defenses worth a hoot but he looked good last week.

I don't see the run game for the Pack being dominant but its the passing game that I see not getting untracked and again, no protection for Rogers. He, more than any other QB in the league, needs time to set up this throws. He has never been a gun slinger kind of QB and may be his downfall.

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PackerAaron's picture

September 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

"They have an enormous pass rush as seen against da bears last week."

The Bears played the Bills last week.

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zeke's picture

September 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

Quality trolls are hard to come by.

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Scherbs's picture

September 13, 2014 at 09:30 am

I too am concerned about the middle of the defense. We all witnessed what happens when you can't stop the run up the middle. We are who we are will not cut it . It's time for coaching to step up. Put the right players in a position to make plays. I think we will score points against this secondary but we need to be able to get off the field on defense. Packers 23 Jets 20

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LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

September 13, 2014 at 01:46 pm

The line has dropped to GB -8. I don't like it. Once again we're -8 against a NY team. 1st half GB-4, Not Good. Hope I'm wrong. Someone tell me where the $$$$ is going on this game, 1st half, & and the -8. LVT

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Tundraboy's picture

September 13, 2014 at 10:12 am

Pennel not active pretty telling? . Of what? CRAP coaching. . Like Guion playing after no practice? . Jones playing at all. How many times is someone not playing because he needs more reps. But he starts Guion when common sense said play the player who has been practicing more and played better. . Go with your gut more not everything is by the "plan" Whatever that is anyway ea

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barutanseijin's picture

September 13, 2014 at 09:57 pm

If I catch this one it will have to be at a bar. Any suggestions for a place in Manhattan?

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PackerAaron's picture

September 14, 2014 at 08:12 am

Kettle of Fish is the best, but you need to get there at like 6am...

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