Why the Packers will beat New England and why they Might not

Sunday night in Foxborough, we will get to witness Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady go head-to-head for only the second time in their careers. It's going to be an incredible matchup at a time when the Green Bay Packers are in desperate need of a win.

Last week against the Rams, the Packers played their best game of the season. But thanks to a an untimely error from former Packer Ty Montgomery, Rodgers never got a chance to win the game at the end, leaving Green Bay at 3-3-1 in the standings. 

Thankfully, the NFC North is still within reach. Minnesota is 4-3-1, while Chicago is 4-3. Essentially, the Packers are a half game back of both teams, but in order to stay that way, they need to sneak out a win or two from this difficult four-game stretch.

That starts tonight in New England, against Brady and the Patriots, who have won five games in a row. Last week, Green Bay was an 8.5 point underdog. Tonight, the Patriots are favored by 5.5. A lot of that has to do with a Patriots defense that ranks 25th in the NFL in yards allowed. 

After the Patriots, Green Bay returns home to take on Miami, then goes to Minnesota and Seattle in back-to-back weeks. Basically, the Packers have to find a way to win at least one of those road games, otherwise, they will find themselves at 4-6-1, and that doesn't seem like a viable path to the postseason.

New England is definitely the toughest of the three games to win, but here are a few reasons why the Packers could pull out a victory or why they go could home empty-handed again.

Why the Packers might win

I feel like I say this every week, but if the Packers are going to beat the Patriots, Rodgers needs to play at an elite level. Yet, against the Patriots 27th-ranked pass defense, that should be a lot easier to do than it was last week against the Rams. Geronimo Allison is going to miss the game and Randall Cobb is questionable, but as long as Davante Adams is on the field, the Packers will be just fine. Adams has gone over 100 yards in fourth straight games and he will need to have a big night if the Packers are going to upset New England.

Of course, Bill Belichick is great at taking away other team's strengths, so you can bet he will try his best to neutralize Adams. That could mean other guys like Cobb -- if he plays -- Jimmy Graham and the rookie receivers will need to step up. Another guy that will need to step up is Aaron Jones if he is given the chance.

Jones has just 44 rushing attempts in five games, but he is getting 6.2 yards per carry and since he has been back in the lineup, Green Bay has rushed for 100 yards or more four times. Mike McCarthy needs to give Jones 20 touches or so and the second-year back needs to make the most of that opportunity. Force MM to keep him on the field. At this point, nothing else seems to work.

Not only will Rodgers and the offense need to score points, but it will also need to take care of the ball. Winning the turnover battle or at least keeping it neutral is also a necessity. Seeing as the Packers are 14th in the NFL in takeaways and New England ranks 23rd in giveaways, it's possible Green Bay could win in that area and if it does, a win is much more likely.  

One thing that could help with that is a secondary that will have Tramon Williams at safety. Williams can still run, he can tackle and he is great at reading the quarterback. In theory, he should be able to do a decent job replacing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but we will see. More Josh Jackson should be a good thing. And with Jaire Alexander and Kevin King playing as well as they are right now, the Packers should be in good shape.

The pass rush is a big concern, If Mike Pettine has to scheme a bunch of sacks or try to against Brady, it might mean bad news. Yet, the Patriots offensive line is far from spectacular, so Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews should have some chances to get after Brady. And even though the pass rush is inconsistent at times, it has been productive, notching 23 sacks in seven games. 

Why Green Bay might lose

Having Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on the other side of the field are usually two good reasons why a team might lose, but a couple more could be James White and Rob Gronkowski. 

White is a shifty back that kills teams as a receiver and it's hard to see how the Packers will match up with him. The same can be said for Gronk. If both of those guys are good to go (Gronk is questionable) they will cause some matchup problems for the Packers. On a side note, it will be interesting to see if Jackson gets a shot at covering Gronk.

Basically, this game is going to come down to the quarterbacks and which defense can find a way to get a few stops. The Packers defense did a decent job against Jared Goff last week and if Green Bay can hold Brady and the Pats to 30 or less, it would be a win.

That means the Packers will have to score 30 points or so to win, something that's very possible. Rodgers and the Packers scored 31 to beat the Patriots in 2014, his only start against New England and it will take a similar effort, plus some help from the defense, to win on Sunday night football in New England. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (56)

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Barnacle's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:01 am

Other than ST’s coach and HC, I think we are close enough or better in key areas and should be very competitive.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:08 am

I just don’t understand why BB is viewed as a defensive guru while his defenses are seemingly always ranked in the bottom third.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:13 am

The in-game adjustments mean much more than ranking fodder. Allowing yards and points are a given, but making an adjustment to prevent each at prominent moments are key.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:10 pm

Yes. It's when you do things that matters most.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:27 pm

Then the next question is, does BB call the shots or does his DC?

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GBPDAN1's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:55 pm

Let's pick up Bruce Irwin

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2018 at 03:33 pm

I really enjoyed watching him rassle crocs. Crikey!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:58 pm

Hey yall!
Maybe GB will win as a birthday present to me today!
WooHoo!

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Spock's picture

November 04, 2018 at 02:08 pm

TK, I hope your natal anniversary wish is granted. Hopefully, you remembered to blow out all the candles on your cake! WooHooHoo!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2018 at 02:42 pm

Thanks amigo!
(No shortage of hot air here!)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 05, 2018 at 04:03 am

Happy 12th birthday!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 06, 2018 at 10:39 am

Hmmmm...you’re either praising my youthful enthusiasm or mocking my immaturity...

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BoCallahan's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:07 am

“Force MM to keep him (Jones) on the field.” There is NO forcing McCarthy to do anything.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:11 pm

24 HR virus.?

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LambeauWest's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:15 am

If the Packers defense can replicate the pressure that they produced on Goff last week opportunities will arise. Brady under pressure = Packers W!
Side note speaking of a pass rush, veteran DE Bruce Irvin was released yesterday by Oakland, wonder if the Pack will have any interest?

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:32 am

Packers 31
Patriots 27

Packers go 3/4 on TDs in the red zone.
The other TD is a 28-yard burst by Aaron Jones.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 04, 2018 at 07:36 am

I said this earlier in the week and I'll say it again here:

GB has more talent. NE has better coaching. IF GB plays a clean game on special teams, they're going to win by 10. If not, it'll be close.

My personal guess:

GB 30
NE 24

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Samson's picture

November 04, 2018 at 07:43 am

Who was mentioned 1st as a key to why the Pack might win this game? ---- AR ---- That's the conundrum. AR has to play at an elite level for GB to defeat good teams on the road. --- If AR is off slightly or NE is able to neutralize his strengths, GB has little chance to pull out a "V" in this one.
The difference in this game will be coaching. -- NE has superior coaching, especially at HC. -- NE 27 -- GB 17.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:13 am

Gronk and Michel quite possibly not playing. Care to revise your prediction?

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Samson's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Yea -- I'll revise it. --- NE 31 --- GB 17.

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Nick Perry's picture

November 04, 2018 at 07:48 am

"Jones has just 44 rushing attempts in five games, but he is getting 6.2 yards per carry and since he has been back in the lineup."

Just reread that a few times and let that sink in. Or you may be like me and just need to read it once and know Mike McCarthy HAS to be the ONLY NFL coach who would have a RB averaging 6.2 yards a carry and still only run him 9 times a game on average. I mean are you kidding me?

Because I love the Packers I always want them to win. But because of the ever mounting questions that Mike McCarthy's play calling and coaching produces I'm at a point this year where I'm so sick and tired of McCarthy that I'm actually climbing the fence.

My biggest hope is McCarthy is gone after this year. It's also my greatest fear he'll be back in 2019. I had hoped the redo of the playbook, a new GM who's doing a great job BTW, Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine would be enough to take away McCarthy's
questionable habits. It hasn't and if anything he may be worse.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:11 am

Isn't Jones the team leader with under 300 yards rushing as well, incredible.

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mrj007's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:21 am

Well said

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Barnacle's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:25 am

Nick

I agree 100%. I want the Packers to win, but a win might solidify MM’s job. It’s hard to cheer for my team when it might add extra years of bad coaching.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:15 pm

Proverbial rock and a hard place.

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Slim11's picture

November 04, 2018 at 11:04 am

This game, and last week's loss to the Rams, will show how MM coaches to the level of the opposition. In 2014 the Packers had a great game plan, executed said plan and beat the Patriots, Many, including me, thought this was a Super Bowl preview.

How does MM approach this game tonight? The same way he approached the Lions game...or the same way he approached the Rams game or the 2014 game against NE? We'll soon see.

If GB wins, and I believe they can, then this will demonstrate one of the things I dislike so much about McCarthy...his level of preparation depending upon the team GB is scheduled to play on a given week. That inconsistency is getting worse.

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mrtundra's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:08 am

Fackrell is overtaken by the spirit of Reggie White and winds up with 4 sacks on Brady and a stripped ball recovered by Daniels. Fackrell claims God has his hands on this team, as Reggie always said, and the Packers go on to beat NE by the score of 28-27. GO PACK GO!!!

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stockholder's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:13 am

The packers have had safety problems all year. The key match -up: is Williams and Brice. The second is Brady vs. A-Rod. Hopefully A-Rod doesn't hold onto the ball. I'm still in MMs corner win or lose. If you love A-Rod, I suggest you give MM more time to get things worked out. This team is fun to watch. Replacement, Rebuilding, and administration changes, are never easy on any head coach. (Jimmy Johnson etc.) Several of us have mis-judged players and their ability. Lets not misjudge the job that MM is doing. Stay cool and don't melt the ice.

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mrj007's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:32 am

I think Pack can win. Things influencing this: new safety/def backfield alignment ; I think GB will focus on the rush; this is a must-win. I think White will destroy the Packers - NE underneath passing game is exceptional and how they use quick passes and dump offs to RBs isn't something our LBs can handle. This is a prime time game so I expect the team to play terrible (usually wilt- but last week gave spark of hope). Graham will be invisible, but possibly Lewis steps up (TE play HAS to be better). My brain says pack loses, but my heart says THIS IS GAME that makes or break season. And Packers do well

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uuuuu5uu's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:39 am

The packers didn't score 30 in 2014 :DDDD it was 26-21

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Chris Vachio's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:49 am

Our safety should be better. Williams has instincts at least as good as HHCD had and he can't be LESS willing of a tackler. I'd also expect Williams to have much better preparation.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 04, 2018 at 08:55 am

I don’t think holding the Pats to 30 is a formula for success. The Packers have scored 30+ points once this season. Still, we can always hope.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:03 am

Shouldn't the Packers try and sign Bruce Irvin DE?

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mrj007's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:55 am

I am thinking the same

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2018 at 02:18 pm

Irvin will be a waiver claim. It's all a matter of whether someone with a poorer record puts in a claim for him.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:04 am

We have only have MM and they have Belichek

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Nick Perry's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:43 am

AND we have Ron Zook...UGH!!!!

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:59 am

Zook's special teams have been a killer in two of the last three games for us. That trend needs to start turning the other way quickly. Now we have two punters and an unidentified kickoff returner to replace Monty. All we can do is pray.

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Coldworld's picture

November 04, 2018 at 03:26 pm

Monty did not follow his coaching. They traded him. Can’t blame a coach for that surely

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Lare's picture

November 04, 2018 at 12:03 pm

The Packers have a much better chance of winning if McCarthy & Zook somehow get lost on the way to the stadium.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

November 04, 2018 at 02:27 pm

Zook also put Jackson in a place to block a punt and score a TD. We got a new punter because Scott has been struggling that's not on Zook. For our new returner I'm expecting it to be Alexander.

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Coldworld's picture

November 04, 2018 at 03:28 pm

Appears that the punter signed was only cover for pending childbirth. After expending a pick I certainly hope we aren’t going to just ditch Scott since we have all seen what he can do.

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cheesehead1's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:36 am

Obviously, we must dial up some sort of pressure on Brady and get a pick or two. Thought our D played better against the Rams but we still gave up 29. Time for everyone to step up and get a big win. Packers 27 Patriots 26.

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 04, 2018 at 09:47 am

So last week I predicted a Rams win, and was really expecting a Rams blow-out. The team played pretty damn well. So I have to give them some credit. You can say it is all a W or an L, but I think that is pretty weak sauce.

I was NOT a fan of ditching Ha-Ha, but Williams may be better suited to safety than CB at this point, so it just might be a wash by the time you move all of the parts around.

Brady's numbers drop big time under pressure, but the Patriots are ranked second in sacks allowed this year by Football Outsiders, with an effective sack rate of 4%.

This game comes down to Pettine v. Bellichek (pass rush) and MM v. himself (actually running the ball). I'm going to guess that the Packers pull it out by a field goal.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:29 am

All I know is that the Patriots score TDs
and HATE FGs.

So, the Packers better score TDs in the red zone.

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HankScorpio's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:31 am

I predict the winning team will be QB'ed by #12.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:07 pm

Hahaha! Good one, Hank!

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 04, 2018 at 11:07 am

I feel good about this game. I loved what I saw from so many players last week. Green Bay will win because failure in this game is not an option. Gutey planted a new seed in their minds this week by getting rid of two bad ones. The Packer's ship is finally turned around and headed in the right direction. Get ready for lots of winning.

Green Bay 38
New England 35

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Chuck Farley's picture

November 04, 2018 at 01:49 pm

The pats are my team from the afc. They are not a great team this year. My thoughts are which pack team shows tonight. The one with pass d and a rush or the one without?

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Spock's picture

November 04, 2018 at 02:21 pm

I finally was able to watch last week's game (game of the week replay) and I was impressed with a lot of things: the defense (especially J. Alexander), the young WR's (MVS & EQ) plus Davante, and the over-all team effort (minus Ha-Ha's jogging to Gurly's last posession). I think if the Packers play like that tonight this will be an "instant classic" type game and I like the Packers' chances! Go, Pack, Go!!!!

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Rossonero's picture

November 04, 2018 at 03:48 pm

We will win -- IF the defense plays like last week.

And no player decides to be a hero or disobey instructions.

Sidenote: Watch Redskins-Falcons highlights. Julio Jones makes Clinton-Dix eat dirt on a TD. Instant returns for Washington!

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

November 04, 2018 at 04:16 pm

I hooe MM is taking notes from the Rams/Saints game. These 2 coaches are agressive and creative.

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Lare's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:11 pm

Unfortunately, I don't think the words "aggressive" and "creative" will ever be used to describe McCarthy.

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Lphill's picture

November 04, 2018 at 06:35 pm

Gronk and Michel out for the game.

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holmesmd's picture

November 04, 2018 at 10:33 pm

The Packers are a mess. No way these guys make the playoffs. They’re a steaming pile of **it. If these guys win 6 games I’ll be surprised. So disappointing.

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tocnaza's picture

November 05, 2018 at 04:21 am

Gronk and Michel out for the game.

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