5 Things to Watch in Packers vs Chargers: Can Green Bay Clear 20 Points?

The Chargers defense presents an opportunity for Jordan Love and the Packers offense this week.

Will the Packers break 20?

Green Bay’s offense has not scored more than 20 points in a game since week two, but the Los Angeles defense is a viable contender to help Jordan Love and co. break that streak. On the season, the Chargers are dead last in passing yards allowed and 29th in yards per play allowed.

Despite being in the middle of the pack in terms of missed tackles, the soft style of defense they play has left them especially susceptible to yards after the catch, ranking 31st in that category. That could mean it is time to unleash Aaron Jones in the passing game this week.

On the whole, the Packers offensive line has performed well in pass protection, and while on paper a matchup against Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa and Tuli Tuipulotu might appear to be a tough assignment, the Chargers are only 25th in pressure percentage.

Love’s play has been encouraging in the last two games, and the Chargers are allowing the 6th highest passer rating in the league. There are plenty of signs this could be the week the Packers break out on offense.

One area Brandon Staley’s defense has excelled is on third down, with only two other teams allowing a lower conversion rate. Taking what is there on early downs will be important for Love to stay ahead of the sticks and avoid third and long.

Red zone efficiency

A key element of the Packers’ ability to put up points this week will be efficiency inside the 20. Versus the Steelers, Green Bay found themselves in the red zone five times, which is great! Except they only scored one touchdown.

The Packers rank 27th in the NFL for touchdown percentage in the red zone, at 46.88%, while the Chargers are 2nd in the league, finding the end zone on 72.41% of trips.

Early in the season, the Packers cashed in their red zone trips pretty successfully but have found it more difficult in recent weeks. Whichever team executes better in that part of the field may well be the winner on Sunday.

Stop Keenan Allen

The Chargers have been ravaged by injuries at the wide receiver position. Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer are on injured reserve, while Allen and Jalen Guyton are both ailing ahead of this week’s matchup.

Allen is trending towards playing, though, as he was a full participant in Friday’s practice as he recovers from a shoulder issue. That would be a big boost for Justin Herbert, as Allen is the team’s only healthy difference-making wideout.

The veteran receiver has 105 targets this season. The player with the next-highest number who will be on the field for Los Angeles this week is running back Austin Ekeler.

With Allen looking good to go, the Packers will be crossing their fingers Jaire Alexander returns from his own shoulder injury to help corral him. If the Packers can keep Allen relatively quiet, there are very few candidates to get open for Herbert.

Is Rashan Gary playing?

Gary’s presence, or lack thereof, will play a huge factor in how comfortable Herbert can be in the pocket this Sunday.

The recent recipient of a shiny new contract, Gary is questionable after injuring his shoulder in the final practice of the week. He has 34 pressures this season, while Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare and Lukas Van Ness have 35 between them.

Herbert is one of the league’s elite passers. If the Packers cannot disrupt him, bad things will happen.

Tackle Austin Ekeler

The aforementioned Ekeler will likely see a heavy workload as both a runner and a receiver this week, and slowing him down will be crucial if the Packers are to avoid being paper cut to death like they were against the Steelers.

That starts with stopping runs from rupturing into bigger gains, and to do that, Green Bay must tackle soundly.

Coming off a game in which they had an eye-opening 16 missed tackles in Pittsburgh, that might be easier said than done. The Packers have to put up a better fight in run defense this week.

 

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres

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4 points
 

Comments (28)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Vachio's picture

November 18, 2023 at 04:18 pm

I feel like this game is going to get ugly in a hurry. Watching the Chargers play the Lions last week, this looks like a very bad matchup for the defense. The Packers pass defense has good numbers overall, but it sure seems like whenever an opponent needs a big play, they find one. And that's with Gary putting pressure on the QB. If he can't play? Ewww.

The run defense...well, we know the story there. Eckler is likely going to have a career day.

I like the strides the offense has made. I think they can break the 20 point barrier and Love can get the Packers first 300 yard passing game in almost two years. I just don't think it's going to be enough. Wouldn't be shocked to see the Charges hang 35+ on the Joe Barry Experience.

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 18, 2023 at 05:41 pm

"...the Joe Barry Experience."

::fistbump::

Manic Depression
The Wind Cries Light Fronts
Hey Joe
Voodoo Interception (no return)
Little Wing
First Down Traffic

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MainePackFan's picture

November 18, 2023 at 07:16 pm

The young folks don't get that Leotis, but I do : ) Though I will forever prefer the Stevie Ray Vaughn version of Little Wing... Thumbs up!!!

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LeotisHarris's picture

November 18, 2023 at 08:13 pm

Agreed. When Leotis Jr was about three years old, we were on the floor playing, and SRV's Little Wing came on the stereo. Convo went like this:

Jr: That's a guitar.
Me: uh huh, that's right. It's Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Jr: How does he make it so beautiful?

I don't recall my answer, but I'll always remember the question and the kiddo's ear for music.

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MooPack's picture

November 18, 2023 at 08:22 pm

SRV was a master. Actually, had that handle 20+ years ago.
Riviera Paradise/Lenny Live In Tokyo is exceptional.

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dobber's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:08 am

If the timeline I've read is correct, I would've been driving past Alpine Valley Music Theatre right about the time SRV's helicopter crashed.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

November 18, 2023 at 04:20 pm

Excellent breakdown. Hopefully they at least play well.

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albert999's picture

November 18, 2023 at 04:30 pm

No matter what there’s an energy and dog mentality the Packers never have coming out of the tunnel and never will with this regime. That’s a big difference in a lot of these games and being able to jump out in the first half and finish in the 2nd half.

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splitpea1's picture

November 18, 2023 at 05:46 pm

Will the Packers break 20? They'll probably have to if they're thinking of winning.

Either way, it would be nice to finally see a breakout game for Watson; not only would it be helpful for "progress", but it might temporarily shut his father up about how terrible the home fans are.

Also, our receivers will literally have to look out for nasty hits from Derwin James. He's a bit of a penalty magnet and just drew a hefty $43,710 fine from the NFL.

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Vachio's picture

November 18, 2023 at 06:26 pm

They'd all better have their heads on a swivel.

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MainePackFan's picture

November 18, 2023 at 07:22 pm

The Packers score 30 plus this week. They take the next step offensively. I have a dream.......

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coolhand's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:05 am

They may score 30+, but will still lose by 12 or more

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Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:51 am

Lol...i probably shouldn't give that a thumbs up but.....
It was funny.

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Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:16 am

Maine, i get that, very understandable.
.
But i think i have a character flaw?

Lets say the Packers score 30 ok.....
You think they are making progress (and that's cool).
If they score 30, i'm thinking, ok, now do it against a winning team with a decent defense.

We've been having trouble scoring over 20 points against not so great teams, so if they do score over 30, i get it.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

November 18, 2023 at 07:58 pm

Unfortunately, I feel like this is the week Quentin Johnston finally goes off. I liked him in the draft, but he’s been buried on their depth chart.
Honestly, the way we’ve looked, I fear the Chargers may go off for 500 yards.
I feel like our offense either scores a lot, or we go down in flames.

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Matt's picture

November 19, 2023 at 01:57 am

In the season we expected to count on our defense as the solid point of our game, something at least predictably average, we are looking for our offense to take the responsibility. I would like to see that too, but although inexperience shouldn't be an excuse for too long, there was a silent agreement in Green Bay that one season isn't too long. In the same time we spend another 1st round pick in defense which guarantees two things which are: sure 5 yards per rushing attempt and big play on 3rd and long allowed.

Today I will watch the game with joy and it has been like this since bye week. No pressure like in 2019-2021, no too high hopes like after first two weeks of this season. I take everything good what will happen. The problem is that we have one bad pattern and I think there is a big possibility we do it again. Everyone knows who is the baller in opposite teams but Barry. Herbert is good, Allen is good, but Ekeler is amazing. Chargers go as far as Ekeler is producing. Can Barry prepare a scheme to limit him even at the expense of other parts of the field? I doubt it.

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Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:24 am

Herbert is good.

He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2020 draft.
The dreaded Covid draft where Love supporters (excuse) argued he didn't have a training camp because of Covid.

Well then, i guess Herbert didn't have a training camp either.
But that didn't stop him throwing for 4.336 yards, 31 TD's, 10 picks. and a 98 passer rating, not to mention Rookie of the year.
All that without a training camp his rookie season, not bad......and we're still waiting for Love because.....?

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:20 am

"All that without a training camp his rookie season, not bad......and we're still waiting for Love because.....?"

That's what the ultimate optimist does, wait, wait, wait, for, IDK, miracles?

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Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

I can remember fans bringing up the covid excuse all the way up to the Chiefs game that Love started in place of Rodgers.

Finally...i just went off on them, that excuse got pretty stale by year 3.
To fans credit, i haven't heard it lately, but that probably has to do more with common sense of how silly it sounded in his 3rd season.

I always said that Love deserved this season and maybe another, and i'm ok with that, mostly because of the investment this team spent on him, he deserves a fair chance.

But that doesn't mean i won't comment, because he knows this offense like the back of his hand by now and frankly he should be showing more than he has.
Especially with the media professed genius of MLF's ability to run an offense.

We should have seen better growth by now.
That's all i'm conveying.

If it continues the way it has, Love is more of a project than people thought, and 1st round projects go one of two ways...North or South.
Or as Jerry Glanville once quoted "....NFL..stands Not For Long."
See Kevin King.

And that's the exact way the Legacy of Gute will go, because one depends on the other.

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Packerpasty's picture

November 19, 2023 at 09:19 am

Strange of me but I have a feeling the Pack plays their most complete game of the year and squeaks out a victory....feel free to laugh at me after the game...

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dobber's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:09 am

You might be on to something--because I think this is a get-right game for a frustrated Chargers team, and you can usually take the opposite of my suspicions to the bank.

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Since'75's picture

November 20, 2023 at 10:03 am

Good call pasty...
You'd think a positive post like that would get a thumbs up right?

Let me fix that.

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TxFred's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:06 am

If the Chargers D Line shows up and plays ass kicking, smash mouth in trenches. Game over. Packs OLine will fold like a cheap suit.
No basic fundamental drive blocking = no run game. Simple as!
Pass blocking depends on the Chargers ass kicking. Could be another long day at Lambeau.

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Since'75's picture

November 20, 2023 at 10:04 am

Why so negative?

What is wrong with you people!!??

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PatrickGB's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:15 am

We could over analyze this to death. I just want to see improvements and less boneheaded plays.

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TarynsEyes's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:23 am

The tortoise doesn't beat the Hare, less in fairy tales.

While small increments of improvement matter, the huge leaps ahead from others makes it all moot.

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WD's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:28 am

STOP THE DAMN RUN!

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pantz_bURp's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:28 am

Does a bear shat in the woods?

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