The Green Bay Packers opened the season by playing teams who now have a combined record of 28-18 including the San Francisco 49ers (5-2), Chicago Bears (5-1) and Houston Texans (6-1).
Against the league’s cream of the crop, they went 2-1 and are inching back up the power rankings with each week’s stronger showing.
Finally, the Packers get to welcome one of the league’s bottom-feeders into Lambeau Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars have displayed more problems than positives and have a huge mountain to climb to compete with the Green and Gold.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) Analysis: Everything begins with the mess known as the Jaguars’ offense. They rank dead last in the league in total yards, passing yards, third down efficiency and points. In a 26-23 loss to Oakland last week, the offense went 1-for-15 on third down. While they would be hard-pressed to be that ineffective again, they will be sending out QB Blaine Gabbert who has a torn-labrum in his non-throwing shoulder and back-up RB Rashad Jennings who’s filling in for a hurt RB Maurice Jones-Drew (sprained foot). Rookie WR Justin Blackmon isn’t really worth talking about as he appears to be well behind schedule in his development. The Packers defense may be banged up, but it would have to be gone for Jacksonville to succeed.
The defense ranks slightly better than the offense at 28th in the league, but it’s kind of unfair when you consider what position the lackluster offense puts them in. Just for measures, they rank 29th against the rush and 24th against the pass. Not sure those numbers will go up after this week because the Packers offense has been clicking of late.
Green Bay Packers (4-3) Analysis: Injuries, injuries and some more injuries. On the offensive side, the Packers are without WR Greg Jennings and RB Cedric Benson for sure and most likely WR Jordy Nelson and RB John Kuhn. RB James Starks is dealing with an illness but is expected to play. Nelson is probably the most significant name here because the absence of Jennings and Benson was already expected. Donald “Double D” Driver will most likely see some playing time with WR James Jones and WR Randall Cobb continuing to be the primary targets. The fact that Green Bay can do this just goes to show you what kind of depth they have a certain positions.
The biggest news of the week has to do with the defensive side of the ball as S Charles Woodson is expected to miss around six weeks due to a broken collar bone. He’s not only the leader and heart/soul of this unit, he was playing in 95.9 percent of the defensive snaps, which ranks fourth on the team. It probably won’t be evident against Jacksonville, but against teams with an above-average passing game (i.e. New York Giants), it could turn out to be a problem.
Prediction: Packers 40 Jaguars 20
A 14.5 spread seems ridiculous in the NFL, but if there was ever a chance to do it, it would be here. The only way the Jaguars compete in this game is if the Packers somehow beat themselves. I expect the Jaguars’ Jennings to have a relatively successful day as will RB Alex Green of the Packers. The big difference will be some big strikes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the game. Many of the Jaguars 20 points will come in garbage time as they should be out of this game fairly early.
TV Coverage: CBS 12:00 PM CT with Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (color).
Betting Lines: Packers favored by 14.5 with over/under set at 45.5 points.
2012 Record straight up: 3-4
2012 Record against the spread: 2-5
2012 Record in over/under: 6-1
What are you most looking forward in the Packers and Jaguars game? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron Rodgers (RantSports.com)
Blaine Gabbert (dailysportnewspaper.com)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks