Coming off an underwhelming performance against the Giants in London, the Packers have the chance to right the ship back at Lambeau on Sunday. The Packers have some familiarity with their next opponent, at least their head coach does. The Jets are led by Matt LaFleur’s good friend Robert Saleh, and the offense is coordinated by LaFleur’s younger brother, Mike. The Jets come in with an identical record to Green Bay at 3-2, and look to have made some real strides from a season ago.
If nothing else, last week’s disappointment against the Giants should force the Packers to look internally. The Packers talk a lot about using their bye week for “self-scouting,” but the way the first quarter of the season in gone, they can’t afford to wait until Week 14 to figure things out. It was a tale of two halves as the Packers blew a 17-3 first half lead by surrendering 17 unanswered points in the second stanza.
In order for the offense to get back on track, they need only to look at the first two quarters. They scored on four of their five first half possessions. They methodically worked down the field relying on a rushing attack and quick passing game. Then, when the Giants adjusted in the second half, the Packers abandoned their own game plan and tried to force the ball down the field. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for only eight carries in the second half.
Matt LaFleur admitted to his error in this, saying “we’ve got to be – I’m talking to myself- more disciplined in our approach in terms of making sure that they get the necessary touches.” LaFleur and Rodgers both need to stay patient enough to attack a Jets defense that ranks 19th in rushing DVOA.
On the defensive side of the ball, much has already been said about the passive nature of Joe Barry’s zone defense. A team with the talent and speed that Green Bay has on defense has no business allowing receivers a completely free release off the line, and without rerouting as they cross through zones.
Meanwhile, the Packers will have their hands full with the Jets young skill players. Through 5 games, they are tied for 1st in the NFL in explosive passing plays. WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall especially will stress the Packers defense, who have continued to struggle to tackle (32 missed tackles). The Packers will have to generate pressure early and often on Zach Wilson in order to limit explosive plays. The Jets offensive line has struggled in 2022, ranking 29th in PFF’s pass blocking efficiency.
The good news is, despite the doom and gloom surrounding the Packers this week, they still find themselves in a favorable position. But in order for them to turn themselves into a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they’ll have to put their pride aside, and follow the blueprint for the team as it’s constructed now.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.