Packers vs Giants: Week 5 Preview

Being a writer from England, I am very excited for the Green Bay Packers to be playing their first game in the UK. Although after the narrow victory to the New England Patriots last night, is there a chance the Packers fans will be leaving the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium disappointed?

Last night saw the Packers as heavy favorites to win after Mac Jones’ injury. Then, when Brian Hoyer was ruled out, leaving the Patriots with their 3rd string Quarterback Bailey Zappe, fans at Lambeau Field would have been confident for an easy win. The outcome was quite the opposite. The Packers won in overtime after a game winning field goal by Mason Crosby. The Green Bay offense was really disappointing, which isn’t really a surprise after what has been seen earlier this season. Although with David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins returning to fitness, it was very demoralizing seeing Matthew Judon and the Patriots defensive line dominate the Packers. Aside from this, the two running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon were as important as ever, and Allen Lazard showed signs of becoming Aaron Rodgers’ number one target. Rodgers threw a pick-six last night which is only the third of his career, and that definitely didn’t help them going into the second half.

Although, what has left major question marks was the inability to stop the Patriots offense. Zappe only threw for 99 yards, but their offense was carried by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson who ran for 86 and 66 yards respectively. This allowed the Patriots to control the clock, move the ball up the field and keep Rodgers on the sidelines. Many people will argue that the touchdown thrown by Zappe shouldn’t have counted due to the delay of game, but ignoring this, DeVante Parker was left wide open which should never have happened.

The defense needs to step up next week, especially due to the resurgence of Saquon Barkley.

Barkley was picked with the number 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but has been battling injuries over the past couple of years. This year though he has had a massive return to form. After 4 weeks, he is 1st in the league in rushing yards and is bound to be the focal point of the Giants’ offense against the Packers, just as he was last night. Daniel Jones, the Giants QB, was only asked to throw it 13 times (not dissimilar to Zappe’s throwing contribution), leaving Barkley to carry the Giants to a victory over the Chicago Bears. Jones is probably the most mobile quarterback the Packers have come up against this season, so it will definitely be interesting to see how Joe Barry sets up to contain him. Last night against the Bears, the two of them combined for 216 yards.

It is for this reason that it is hard to be overly optimistic for next week. On paper, the Packers should be, and are favorites to win, but you can easily see Barkley and Jones keeping possession of the ball and running down the field, much the same as the Patriots did on Sunday. To win the game, the Packers’ offense will need to step up and I think they can. I believe the Patriots defense is better than that of Sunday’s opponent. Statistics does not back this up but this could be due to the Patriots facing better offensive teams such as the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens in the earlier weeks. I believe this week we will still see an emphasis on Jones and Dillon, but with Rodgers having more time in the pocket to pick out the developing receivers, and hopefully win the game.
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