The trade deadline came and went without the Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst making a trade. No Earth shatering news here. There were several trades made in the NFL and a couple key waiver pick ups. Gutekunst stayed with his “pat” hand. Of the trades that were made, the only one close to making sense was Emmanuel Sanders, but it would’ve cost two picks. Green Bay did not want to part with those draft assets. All the while Aaron Jones is playing so well out of the Slot WR/WR spot (with Williams in the backfield simultaneously) even the Sanders trade wasn’t appealing enough. Jones is a match up nightmare for opponents. If they cover with a LB as did the Chiefs, well, you saw the result. If they bring down a Safety to cover one on one, then you leave a LB on a WR or TE, another disaster. My opinion on the trade subject is, with Adams coming back soon, TE Jace Sternberger and Ibraheim Campbell eligible for return, the Packers weren’t desperate at any position. I’d like to see Oren Burks make an appearance at MLB prior to the playoffs, where you know he’ll be needed.
Matt LaFleur’s offense is finally hitting it’s stride with the young WR corps understanding how to run routes and make adjustments on the fly. Previously, as I personally witnessed on many occasion, these WR’s would run the route and stop if the play was not in their direction. They didn’t realize, with Rodgers, they needed to find the open hole in coverage or make an adjustment to the route based on the defenders position. These small improvements have allowed Rodgers to place the throw in some pretty incredible locations where only a Packer could complete the catch. We are once again witnessing the remarkable talent of Rodgers circa 2014-2015. No longer is he throwing to a spot where a receiver should be, but isn’t. We are not seeing look of disgust and disappointment after every play. Now we see LaFleur telling his MVP/HOF quarterback, “Go win the game!”
Mike Pettine’s defense has surely adopted the bend but don’t break defense that comes along with a fierce pass rush. With this style you will surrender some big plays, more often than not, you’ll get a sack or turnover. One of Pettine’s goals this season for his defense was to create more takeaways and win that stat every game. His team has rewarded him almost every week. They need to stay aggressive especially this week against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers. Rivers has multiple weapons on offense, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams at WR, Hunter Henry at TE, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler at RB’s are all first rate NFL talent at their position. Rivers will also have a new play caller, his QB Coach assumed OC duties this week, so expect some new wrinkles. This will take a huge effort by the defense to stop explosive plays and limit breaks in coverage. The Chargers defense boasts two of the best Dlinemen in the NFL, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The Packers offensive line will need to continue to provide Aaron with great protection, so the offense can execute the game plan.
I do have the Packers winning this one at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson, California, where I’ve read of the 27,000 capacity, expect to see 70% Green and Gold. My final prediction is Packers 38, Chargers 31. My season end prediction of 12-4 keeps looking better each week. Like they always say, “one game at a time.” I’m hoping that’s the mentality of the Packers heading into Sunday’s showdown.
As Always, Go Pack Go!
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter