Let’s start this off by saying my favorite phrase, “The Pack is back!”. Call it what you will, but the Packers played their asses off against the Eagles. Momentum can be fully attained when the lowly Houston Texans come to Lambeau this Sunday. Let’s break down this Sunday afternoon’s matchup, and get you prepared for what hopefully is the start of a nice win streak for the Green and Gold.
3 Burning Questions
Can the secondary contain Deandre Hopkins?
Hopkins is one of the few weapons the Texans have on offense. He’s arguably their best player and biggest play maker. The numbers have been down for Hopkins this season (55 rec, 610 yds, 3 TD). A lot of blame can be placed on the play of quarterback Brock Osweiler, who’s been terrible all season. But the fact that he has an under-performing quarterback, doesn’t mean he is a non-factor. Hopkins has the speed and agility to make defenders miss and leave them in his dust. The Packers would be wise to double team Hopkins throughout the entire game and force Osweiler to count on his less proven receivers.
Can the Packers offense maintain this momentum?
We have seen some great halves of offense from the Packers this season, but we hadn’t seen the offense put together a whole game until this past Monday. From start to finish, the Packers executed and wore out the tough Eagle defense. The Packers relied on short, perfectly-timed passes, and, most importantly, established the no-huddle offense early in the game. This helped them control the tempo of the game from start to finish. The Packers need to continue their no-huddle offense against the Texans. The strength of the Texans is on the defensive side of the ball. If the Packers can wear them out the way they did against the Eagles, they will have the same success. Maybe even more.
Did Jacob Schum turn the corner?
The Punt Heard Round the World! With one of the best punts the Packers have had in a while, it’s only right we discuss the punter position, where Jake Schum has been improving every week. Against the Texans, field position is going to be key. The Packers should be able to move the ball well against the Texans, but in the drives where the Packers are forced to punt around midfield, Schum needs to pin the Texans deep. He has been punting pretty decent this year, but the area he needs improvement is his ability to get the ball inside the 20. Through the first 8 games he was pinning the ball inside the 20 20.8% of the time. Since then, he has done so at a rate of 37.5%. The Packers need solid punts out of Schum to make a run to the playoffs, and he is finally finding his groove.
2 Key Matchups
Davante Adams Vs Houston Secondary
Adams has been a beast for the Packers this year. After a forgettable sophomore year, the 3rd year wide out has proven his worth and then some. His success has meant the Packers success this season. He has recorded eight touchdowns this year, and seven of those have come in wins. The Packers will be going up against a secondary who allows 209 yds per game, which is good for 5th in the league. Adams will need to continue this outstanding play against a fierce secondary in order for the Packers to win.
Lamar Miller vs Packers Front Seven
As I had stated earlier, you could argue that Hopkins is the Texans biggest playmaker. Miller is the only other player you can make a case for in this Texans offense. Miller is one of the most talented running backs in football, and the Packers need to account for him wherever he is on the field.
The Packers run defense has been amazing against the average running backs in the league, but when it comes to the tried and true running backs, they falter. This is their chance to make a statement. Miller hasn’t had a huge statistical season, largely due to the Texans playing from behind. And again, like Hopkins, you can’t under-estimate his raw talent. If the Packers can shut Miller down, and force the Texans to beat them through the air, this will surely be a Packers victory.
1 Bold Prediction
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be the star performer in week 13. After posting an interception in last week’s win, Green Bay’s first turnover since the Colts game, he will continue to spark this defense. Brock Osweiler has thrown 13 interceptions this year, which is the second most in the league. Combine that with Ha Ha’s ball hawking prowess and you will see him snag 2 interceptions and record 9 tackles.
Green Bay Packers – 38
Houston Texans – 3