3 Keys for Packers Win vs Ravens and a Prediction

The Green Bay Packers (10-3) travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens (8-5) tomorrow at M&T Bank Stadium. The Packers are winners of two straight games while the Ravens have lost two consecutive games, both versus AFC North opponents on the road. Tomorrow’s game will be only the 2nd Ravens home game they’ve had since November 7th. In the All-Time Series History, the Packers hold a 4-2 advantage.

Tomorrow’s matchup will feature two NFL heavyweights battling on the gridiron in Fox’s “Game of the Week”. Here are 3 Keys for the Packers in order to secure a win versus the Ravens.

1) Protect Aaron Rodgers

The Packers will more than likely look to sling the ball around the yard on Sunday, similar to what they’ve done throughout the course of the season. While the Packers typically establish the run game the longer a game goes on, Coach LaFleur and the offense often put their trust in the arial attack, especially early in the game.

In this week’s matchup, it actually makes a lot of sense, as the Ravens secondary is decimated and depleted with injuries, while Baltimore’s run defense is currently their biggest strength, allowing an NFL best 85.5 yards per game on the ground. As the Packers offense looks to build on their impressive performances over the last 3 weeks, a major factor in that will be protecting Aaron Rodgers.

On Sunday, the Packers offensive line will very likely look like 3rd Year Backup Yosh Nijman at LT, 2nd Year LG Jon Runyan Jr, Backup Center Lucas Patrick, Rookie RG Royce Newman and backup RT Dennis Kelly, a 10 year NFL vet. Throughout the course of the season, Green Bay’s offensive line has dealt with numerous re-shuffling’s due to injury, so thankfully tomorrow’s game is nothing out of the ordinary. With that said, allowing their star QB adequate time in the pocket on the road in a hostile environment is no easy task.

The Ravens are near the bottom of the NFL in sacks (26) and sacks per game (2) this year, which is positive news for the Packers. However, if Green Bay is to come away with a win tomorrow, it will very likely start with protecting #12 in order for the offense to take advantage of the banged-up Ravens secondary.

2) Shut Down Ravens RB’s

The Ravens are at their most dangerous on offense when their RB’s are effectively chunking defenses for 4 to 6 yards per pop. When that happens, it keeps opposing defenses on their toes and often makes them play a guessing game of where the ball is going, whether Lamar is keeping it, the RB is getting it or a play-action fake.

Thankfully for the Packers, Baltimore’s offense hasn’t been close to their best in recent weeks and much of that is due to the Ravens lacking a real threat at RB. This season alone, the Ravens have lost RB’s JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to season-ending injuries. Recently, they’ve relied on veterans Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray to shoulder the load on the ground and while both players have had very nice NFL careers, they are not the same players they once were.

Star QB Lamar Jackson is questionable to play tomorrow as he is battling an ankle injury he sustained last week against Cleveland. In 2021, Jackson has 767 rushing yards while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. If he’s able to play, it remains to be seen how much his injury may limit his ability to run but it’s probably fair to assume that he won’t be his 100% usual self in those instances. Jackson did not practice on Friday so his status on Sunday may come down to the wire.

If Jackson doesn’t play, that opens the door for second year QB Tyler Huntley to make his 2nd career NFL start, his first coming earlier this season against the Bears. Huntley, an undrafted free agent from the University of Utah, held up nicely in relief for Jackson last week, throwing for 270 yards, rushing for another 45 and posting a 71% completion percentage.

Whether it’s Jackson or Huntley on Sunday, the Packers top priority on defense should be limiting the Ravens RB’s as much as possible. Like most NFL teams, when that facet is taken care of, it makes offenses one-dimensional. If Jackson plays, it undoubtedly presents a greater challenge for the Green Bay defense but lately, Lamar hasn’t been all that effective through the air, recently throwing 4 interceptions in the Ravens last home game. If it’s Huntley, the Packers will take their chances against a player making his 2nd career NFL start.

3) Limit Special Teams Mistakes

Yes, at this point, I think we have to say “limit the mistakes” on Special Teams because they inevitably seem to occur every game. Last week against the Bears, we saw the Packers:

*Muff a kick-off return that would’ve given the offense the ball at the 40 yard line.

*Muff a punt that was recovered by Chicago, which would’ve given the Bears possession deep in Green Bay territory if not for a questionable flag called on the Bears that allowed the play to not count.

*Allow a 42 yard kick off return, a 34 yard punt return and a 97 yard punt-return for a touchdown, the first punt return for a touchdown in the NFL this season.

*Kick a ball out of bounds on a kick-off, giving the Bears possession on the 40 yard line.

*Record a 22 yard punt from Punter Corey Bojorquez.

*Botch an onside-kick recovery (MVS), allowing the Bears to steal an extra-possession at the end of the game.

The only positive thing the Packers did on Special Teams all night was execute their Field Goals (1/1) and Extra Points (6/6) and even with that, any fan that’s watched Green Bay play this season knows how unreliable their field goal and extra point attempts have been this year.

Green Bay probably doesn’t win another game the rest of the season if they play another game as poorly as they did on Special Teams against the Bears. Tomorrow, the Packers absolutely have to clean up their Special Teams mistakes and execute at a much higher level.

Prediction:

The Packers are in control of the NFC’s #1 Seed and if they win-out, they’ll get it. Sunday’s game is just as big for Baltimore as they look to stay atop of the AFC North and break their losing streak. An out of conference road game against an unfamiliar opponent is always a challenge. With that said, I like the Packers chances to win with or without Lamar Jackson at QB.

Lamar Jackson Plays: Packers 27 Ravens 24

Tyler Huntley Plays: Packers 27 Ravens 16

——————

Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\\\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.

——————

Share