That feels much better doesn’t it? This past week in the windy city of Chicago the Packers marched into town and completed their season sweep of the Bears led by none other than Mr. Brett Hundley. The defense also gave our young quarterback some help as he does his best to keep this season afloat and it all came together for a much needed divisional win. This is a great place to start and will hopefully build Hundley’s confidence and the teams confidence in him. However this win alone doesn’t save the season. So let’s take a look at what will hopefully be another step in the right direction as the Packers take on the Ravens of Baltimore!
3 BURNING QUESTIONS
Can Jamaal Williams make up for the suddenly thin running back room?
Last week the Packers entered the game with two running backs they felt very confident could be the focal points of the offense. Unfortunately both Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery went down with injuries. Jones sprained his MCL and will be out 3-6 weeks and Montgomery re-injured his ribs and it is unclear whether or not he will play this Sunday. In the event that he cannot play it is possible that Jamaal Williams will be the only active true running back on the roster. If Montgomery is unable to play the Packers could potentially have fellow rookie running back Devante Mays suit up but no matter what the situation ends up being it is likely that Williams is the lead back on Sunday.
Last week he had 20 carries for 67 yards but seemed to keep getting better as the game went on. He had some runs where he showed a great ability to stick his foot in the ground, make a decisive cut and get the yards that were blocked for him. Even later in the game he showed off some very impressive physicality by running through arm tackles and bowling over defenders for extra yardage. If he can continue this momentum heading into this week he could be in for a big game!
Was last week a sign of things to come for Nick Perry?
Through the first eight games of the season Nick Perry had a solid, but not astounding four sacks, but this past weekend against the Bears he really turned it up. He left Soldier Field on Sunday after having added another three sacks to his season total. For the past several weeks Perry had been playing with a club on his hand after he broke it against the Falcons earlier this year. The game against the Bears was his first game since then playing without his club and you could see the difference immediately. With the use of both of his hands can he keep this strong play up? This week against Joe Flacco could be a fairly difficult test of Perry as he has not been sacked often this season, but it will be a good way to gauge exactly how impactful he’ll be moving forward.
Can the Packers take advantage of Flacco’s carelessness?
Is Joe Flacco elite? This is a question which for awhile was serious and of recent years has become a bit of a joke. Yes Joe Flacco had a miraculous playoff run years ago, and yes he won a Superbowl. But a look at his numbers from recent years will tell you that any traces of elite status are no longer there. So far this year he has only eight touchdowns to go with ten interceptions. Less than stellar numbers. Will the Packers defense be able to step up and add to his interception totals for the season? A couple of timely turnovers can turn a close game into a blowout in a hurry, will the defense be able to give Brett Hundley and the offense the help they need?
2 KEY MATCHUPS
Davante Adams vs Jimmy Smith
The offense has obviously been different with Brett Hundley running the show as opposed to when Aaron Rodgers is at the helm and most of the Packers receivers numbers show as much. Both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobbs’ numbers have been down but Davante Adams has still been putting up very solid numbers. The chemistry between 17 and 7 was very obvious in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game vs the bears when the two connected on a giant touchdown pass and a 42 yard pass on a scramble drill which ended up sealing the win for the Packers.
This week Adams might have a tougher time helping his young quarterback out though. The Ravens defense is ranked second in opponents’s passer rating and completion percentage and first in interceptions and are led by seventh year cornerback Jimmy Smith. Seeing as how Adams has been the most productive as of late it is likely that Smith will spend much of the afternoon matched up against number 17. If Adams is able to still get open and keep his good rapport with Hundely going it could sway this match up in the Packers favor big time. But if Smith is able to smother Adams it could cause the offense to stall out. This will be one of the biggest battles to watch this week.
Packers secondary vs Joe Flacco
As I alluded to earlier Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t exactly been having a season for the record books. Along with having more interceptions than he has touchdowns he also has a passer rating of only 72.7 and is averaging a paltry 5.3 yards per attempt. In order for the Packers to win this game the secondary is going to need to take advantage of this fact. Its all going to start up front with shutting down the run and pressuring the quarterback, but the ability for the secondary to cause turnovers is going to be critical. The Ravens don’t have an elite signal caller but the caliber of their defense is absolutely elite. Brett Hundley and co. will likely have a tough time moving the ball so the defense giving them more opportunities and giving the offense a short field could be absolutely imperative to putting points on the board.
ONE BOLD PREDICTION
Brett Hundley has been very up and down in his new role as the main man on the offense and he is facing one of the best pass defenses in the NFL this week. This should mean that Hundley will likely have a pretty poor showing right? Sorry, but you’re wrong. This week I think Hundley really shows us all he belongs in this league and proves why McCarthy has said he has faith in his young signal caller.
This week, with some help from his receivers and the running game this passing offense will catch the Ravens defense off guard. I think McCarthy opens up the playbook and really lets Hundley play, and take advantage of his abilities as a passer. He’ll finish the day with at least 250 yards passing and two passing touchdowns, along with 40 rushing yards. Hundley has the potential and he has flashed it a few times these past two weeks, this week he really shows it.