Sunday night was easily one of the biggest wins of Coach Matt LaFleur’s tenure as Head Coach. The Packers team came out buzzing and quickly built a lead. After the 49ers took a lead, Aaron Rodger ripped San Francisco’s heart out, taking the Packers into field goal range in just 34 seconds. In many ways, this was a dynamic team win and it was incredible to see a short-handed roster dominate against an NFC contender for much of the game. This week, the Packers look to stack success at home against a reeling Pittsburg team looking to right their season before it gets too late. If Green Bay wants to stretch their win total to three, they must take control in these three crucial matchups.
Aaron Jones vs Devin Bush
Against San Francisco, Aaron Jones was a critical key to victory. While his stat line wasn’t game breaking (19 carries, 82 yards and 1 touchdown), his tough running and blitz pickup was essential in wearing down the 49ers ferocious defensive line. This week, his role could be even bigger. Looking at the Steelers, they have a good pair of inside linebackers in Devin Bush and Wisconsin native Joe Schobert. However with Jones’ dynamic ability as a runner and receiver he could be in line for a monster game. It’s pretty likely that Green Bay will try to deploy the quick passing game again to slow the pass rush. This will lead to the offense running through #33.
Billy Turner vs Melvin Ingram
While more common matchup to highlight would be Yosh Nijman or Elgton Jenkins versus TJ Watt, the possibly more important matchup will be Billy Turner again first year Steeler Melvin Ingram. Turner has continued his impressive run since taking over Right Tackle duties in 2020. However, Turner can be overwhelmed by power at times, which is Ingram’s calling card. The Packers will undoubtedly want to provide extra assistance to Watt’s side, so Turner will need to shut down Ingram one-on-one. His ability to live on a island against good pass rushers needs to continue if the Packers want to continue to survive until David Bakhtiari is eligible to return from the PUP after week 6.
Packers Pass Rush versus Steelers Offensive line
The past two weeks, the Packers pass rush have got after opposing quarterbacks. While the sack numbers aren’t huge (2 against Detroit, 4 against San Francisco), they have had consistent pressure in the face of opposing quarterbacks. This has directly led to multiple turnovers. In a past life, blitzing Big Ben Roethlisberger was a fools errand. He was masterful in moving around the pocket and was often just too big to bring down. In 2021, it seems that father time has caught up to him. He is a statue in the pocket, which is often collapsing around him. This is demonstrated by the 8 Sacks allowed through 3 weeks, which is tied for 7th most in the NFL. Kenny Clark and company need repeatedly get after the Steelers QB to provide support against an electric receiving group.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.