Sunday, October 18, 2015

NFL Week 6: Packers vs. Chargers Preview and Prediction

The good news, Packers fans, is that the San Diego Chargers are coming to Lambeau Field. Sometimes, it's be careful what you wish for, I know. But not in this case.

The Chargers are missing three starters on their offensive line and one of their top backups. While still sporting one of the top-ranked offenses in the league, racking up lots of total yards and passing yards behind quarterback Philip Rivers, they are scoring just 23.2 points per game. Conversely, the Green Bay Packers defense has been on a roll, holding teams to just 13 points total in the last two games against what were touted as some potentially dynamic offenses. It didn't happen. Not gonna happen today either.

This is the last game before the Pack heads into their Week 7 bye. Occasionally in the past, head coach Mike McCarthy's teams were looking more to the bye than the opponent on the other side of the ball. That's not going to happen today. The coaching staff and players want to go into that bye week undefeated. The only way to do that is to put the hammer down on the Chargers.

RB Eddie Lacy is set to have a good day against the Chargers.
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Defensively, despite being banged up a bit across all facets of that unit, the Packers have plugged players in and haven't missed a beat. The pass rush has been relentless. Against an immobile pocket quarterback such as Rivers, the Packers could be set for a big day. Get to Rivers and you control the game. Yes, rookie running back Melvin Gordon has shown flashes of what made him so special at Wisconsin (Go Badgers!), but has yet to really have a breakout type game behind San Diego's makeshift line. Who do the Chargers have for receivers? Who knows? Won't matter. The Pack will get it done on "D" today.

Will the Packers offense break out of its funk?
The Packers offense has certainly seemed to be misfiring in the last few games. They've still done enough to win, aided in large measure by their defense. (Yeah, I know, when was the last time we could say that?) But with Eddie Lacy getting over his ankle injury and perhaps with Davante Adams back in the lineup to stretch the field -- the thing everyone, including QB Aaron Rodgers has said has been missing -- the Packers "O" should shake off a couple so-so performances. With a three-turnover outing at home last weekend, including two Rodgers' INTs and a fumble -- as rare as the three-eyed jackalope unicorn (hey, they're out there!) -- the offense will be looking for some redemption. Rodgers just does not have two back-to-back bad performances; he just doesn't. He wasn't happy about last week's game, and in his post-game comments gently called out not only his receivers for their imprecise route-running but himself for throwing the way he did...which was, umm, not great.

The prediction
The Packers are favored by as many as 10-1/2 points depending on what source you're looking at. It could be that big of a day.

Unless the wheels fall totally off the Packmobile...we're calling this 34-20 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!