Early Bird Breakdown Week 6: San Diego Chargers @ Green Bay Packers

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. As always before we dive into the match ups, lets look at the recap.

The Recap:

The Packers defense continues to look strong in coverage and was one of the big stories coming out of the game last week. They gave up only 143 yards passing and had four interceptions. Speaking of interceptions, commentators can finally stop talking about Aaron Rodgers’ now former streak of throws without an interception at home, as he threw two last week. Despite the turnovers, the offense overall played pretty well against a very stout defense and the Packers came away with a 24-10 victory.


The Breakdown: 

Packers’ Offense vs Chargers’ Defense:

San Diego’s defense should give the Packers the opportunity to get on track after a couple of low scoring weeks. The biggest beneficiary in this matchup should be running back Eddie Lacy, as San Diego has been unable to stop anyone from the running the ball this season giving up 132.4 yards per game rushing. Lacy appears 100% for the first time since Chicago and will hit the ground running against this poor defense.

While San Diego currently also sits in the top 10 for pass defense, they have not played any dangerous passers, let alone a quarterback like Rodgers. Rodgers’ has not thrown an interception in back-to-back games in three years and should be able to bounce back against this hit-or-miss defense.

San Diego does have some talent in the secondary, with Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle and former Pro-Bowler Brandon Flowers at corner. However, they do not have the depth to cover all of Green Bay’s receivers and their front seven should not be able to generate a significant enough pass rush against Green Bay’s offensive line to allow them to make a big play. Rodgers will have the time he needs this week to find the open target and continue his strong start to his season.


Packers’ Defense vs Chargers’ Offense:

The one achilles heel so far this season for the Packers’ defense has been explosive running plays. Fortunately the Chargers right now cannot run the ball effectively at all, only gaining 92 yards per game as a team, good for 25th in the league. Still, the Packers will have to watch out for rookie running back Melvin Gordon and make sure he is contained to not give the Chargers any extra jolt offensively. Wisconsinites should definitely remember what Melvin Gordon is able to do running the ball.

For the most part, San Diego has had to rely heavily on their star quarterback Phillip Rivers for them to score points. And while Rivers is a good quarterback, he has thrown five interceptions and Green bay right now is a top 5 pass defense with the second most sacks of any team in the league. Rivers has been sacked 14 times already this season and the Packers should add to that total. With how poorly the offensive line for San Diego has been, expect Clay Matthews and company to cause havoc.

The Packers are giving up the fourth-fewest yards-per-game in the air this season and Pro Football Focus has their overall coverage grade at fourth in the league. Rivers has not yet had to face a defense this good and will be a big test for him. Conversely, the Packers defense has not yet faced a quarterback of this caliber, but another strong performance will mean this defense is Super Bowl caliber.


The Weather: 

The kickoff will be a cool but overall pleasant 52 degrees with no wind and sunny skies.


The Prediction: 

You may have noticed this weeks’ breakdown is pretty short, and the answer is simple; it’s because this game is just so one sided. While football games are not won on paper, this is a 2-3 team with holes offensively and defensively traveling to Green Bay. Vegas has the spread at 10, Pro Football Focus has them winning by 18, and the experts appear unanimous in this one. I expect the Packers to stop San Diego on their first few drives while the Packers score early and coast to victory. Final score: Packers 34-17 over the Chargers. 

As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University