The Packers look to get back on track this week as they travel to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants. After last week’s loss, the team is looking to turn things around; and quickly.
It would be easier to list the things the Packers did right as opposed to wrong against the 49ers. Penalties, the passing game, the offensive line and the secondary are just a few that we saw had a rough go throughout the night. After the loss of Bulaga, it only got worse for the offense. One of the biggest keys to a win over the Giants this week begins and ends with the offense. These are just a few things I believe that the Packers have to really nail in order to come out on top in this game:
The Offensive Line
I mentioned it briefly in the beginning of this article, but the offensive line is going to be a crucial part of this game. For the most part this season, the o-line has been sporadic. Pass protection has been hit and miss. While we have seen Bakhtiari have a solid game in pass protection, I feel like something in his game has been off this season. He usually performs at a high level, but some of his play has not been where we are accustomed to seeing it. Don’t get me wrong, Bakhtiari is one of the best tackles in the league, but when it comes to defending the inside rush I feel like he has suffered.
There are question marks surrounding the right tackle position with Bryan Bulaga. As of Friday (11-29), he was listed as questionable after suffering an injury last week. Bulaga could still go Sunday, but if not I’d expect Alex Light to step in. This could change things up in the passing game; potentially running more 3 step drop plays.
Establish the Run Game
I’ve noticed Packer fans being quite vocal lately about their displeasure regarding using Aaron Jones in the offense. I believe that the consensus is that he isn’t getting the touches that we think he should. Frankly, I tend to agree. The Packers offense really needs to establish a running attack early in this game. I always like for an offense to break in a game this way. Wear down the front 7 and send a message. A strong running attack has the mentality of “we’re going to come out and punch the defense square in the mouth”. It doesn’t have to be flashy or fancy, it just has to get the job done. This also will open things up in the passing game for Rodgers and company.
No Busted Plays On Defense
The Packers secondary is another part of the team that has been hit and miss. I feel like we have seen them do much better in playing the run, but susceptible to the pass. Miscommunication has been apparent in the past few weeks. The miscues aren’t simply ones that go for a few yards; the busted plays in the secondary tend to go for 20+ yards or even a touchdown. Honestly, I’m not sure what the problem has been with the defensive backs. Part of me thinks that it is the amount of zone coverage being ran. Mike Pettine seems to be a big believer in the zone coverage philosophy. Some defensive coordinators want to be aggressive and play man coverage underneath, which really turns their players loose and allows them to be aggressive. Pettine prefers to play zone, which limits the possibility for the big play on offense. Zone coverage calls for strong communication from the defensive backs. They have to alert one another of crossing routes, out-breaking routes, rub routes, and so forth. While I’m not particularly scared of the Giants passing attack, if they bust a few big plays it can really shift the momentum.
The main thing in this game is to not take any opponent lightly. The Giants don’t look spectacular in the stat column, but the old saying of “any given Sunday” holds true. We all saw what happened in Los Angeles against the Chargers. While I believe that the Chargers are a much better team than the Giants, I still feel like if the Packers get off to a slow start that it could come back to bite them.
It’s like LaFleur has been saying all season; go 1-0 each week. Don’t look at the broad picture. Yes, the playoffs are on the horizon, but the Packers have to take it one week at a time. One success on another success. If they can do the little things right, the big picture will come together.
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