Maggie's Pre-Game Six Pack - 2020 Week 10

The Packers stay home in blustery Lambeau Field this week to take on a Jaguars team on a seven-game losing streak. Look for turnovers, familiar faces, and rookie playmakers in this week's pre-game six pack. 

The 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars travel north to the not yet Frozen Tundra to take on the 6-2 Green Bay Packers. Here are six things to keep an eye on heading into Sunday’s matchup: 

1. Turnovers in Bunches

Through eight games, the Jaguars have already given up 11 turnovers, and Jacksonville has four games with two turnovers. In fact, the team’s only win of the season came the one time they didn’t turn the ball over on Week 1. 

The Packers, on the other hand, are still looking for turnover opportunities on defense. Through eight games, Green Bay has three interceptions and six total turnovers. While the defense did have a pick and a forced fumble against the 49ers, they still left a few plays on the field. The Jaguars will be trotting out a rookie quarterback, and even if Jaire Alexander is unable to play (he remains in the concussion protocol), the front seven needs to create pressure that the secondary can capitalize on. 

2. Familiarity With Jacksonville

Green Bay has plenty of notable connections to the Jaguars. “Big Dog” Marcedes Lewis was drafted by Jacksonville in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Receiver Allen Lazard spent time on the Jaguars practice squad as an undrafted rookie in 2018 before being signed to the Packers’ active roster. In 2019, running back Tyler Ervin played in six games for Jacksonville before joining the Packers and immediately improving Green Bay’s special teams unit. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was also with the Jaguars as OC from 2016-2018, serving as quarterbacks coach from 2015-2016. 

For the Jaguars, starting safety Josh Jones was a former second-round pick of Green Bay’s in the 2017 NFL Draft. Through eight games with Jacksonville, Jones has started each game and tallied 61 total tackles. His status for Sunday remains uncertain as he battles through a chest injury. 

3. Rookie Luton Impresses in Debut

Quarterback Jake Luton was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. In his NFL debut in place of Gardner Minshew, Luton played well. On his team’s opening drive, on third-and-eight, Luton threw a deep ball to speedy receiver DJ Chark for a 73-yard score. 

While it was his only touchdown of the day, he put up some impressive numbers for a rookie QB. Luton finished the game with 304 yards and 26 completions with a completion percentage of 68.4. He’s also capable of making plays with his legs. On the team’s final drive to try to force overtime with the Texans, Luton scrambled into the end zone for a 13-yard score, his only rushing attempt of the day.

4. Run Up the Score

The Jaguars rank 31st in the NFL in points against with 247, giving them an average of 30.9 points per game. On the flip side, the Packers are third in the NFL in points for with 253, averaging 31.6 points per game. 

Green Bay’s offense should be just about back to full strength now that Aaron Jones is healthy and Jamaal Williams has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. If Allen Lazard is activated off injured reserve, which sounds likely, Rodgers will have his wide receiver two back in the fold, too. On top of that, credit to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for his first two-touchdown performance as a pro. 

This offense can cook when it’s not at full strength, but with key pieces back, we might see a 40-burger like we did the first two weeks of the season. 

5. Guess Who’s Bakh?

While there’s no official word yet that David Bakhtiari will be back for Sunday’s game, he’s been a full participant in practice this week and Matt LaFleur said he was “trending in the right direction.” Really, though, I just wanted an excuse to use that title. 

The offensive line has played well in Bakhtiari’s absence, but the unit has still experienced a significant amount of shuffling, with more taking place last Thursday due to injuries sustained during the 49ers matchup. Billy Turner, who started the game at left tackle, had to move back to his starting right tackle spot after Rick Wagner left the game. That forced Elgton Jenkins to slide from guard to tackle, with rookie sixth-round draft pick Jon Runyan Jr. coming in as the team’s left guard. As impressive as the shuffling has been, and as clean as Aaron Rodgers’ jersey has stayed, the offensive line is at its best with All-Pro Bakhtiari on the field. 

6. Ground Game in the Forecast

The weather forecast for Sunday’s game is anything but pretty, with potential rain and the occasional wind gust over 40mph. We saw how the Packers fared against the run-heavy Vikings attack at Lambeau Field two weeks ago, and the Jaguars could look to replicate some of Dalvin Cook’s production Sunday with their own up-and-coming running back. 

James Robinson is already in Rookie Offensive Player of the Year conversations, despite going undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Through eight games, Robinson has 580 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He’s also dynamic as a receiver, adding another 225 yards and 27 receptions with two touchdowns to his total, giving him 805 all-purpose yards midway through the season. 

The Packers defense looked better against the run last Thursday in Santa Clara, allowing only 55 yards on the ground against the 49ers, but plenty played into that total. San Francisco was without its best running backs, and the Packers maintained a 34-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter, so the run game wasn’t a factor for the 49ers playing from behind. All of that said, Green Bay’s tackling improved, and this Jacksonville team provides another opportunity for the Packers to shore up its run defense. 

Bonus 7. Congratulations on the birth of your son, Za’Darius Smith! 





Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.


5 points

Comments (6)

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Spock's picture

November 13, 2020 at 07:18 am

"Guess Who’s Bakh? Really, though, I just wanted an excuse to use that title." Lol, good one, Maggie. I always enjoy your articles.

2 points
PeteK's picture

November 13, 2020 at 08:19 am

I would like to see us ramp up the running game this Sunday.

2 points
Coldworld's picture

November 13, 2020 at 08:54 am

Very good ILB and a good running back combined with an apparently immobile QB with projected bad weather. That makes for an interesting test.

Can the Packers get the run going consistently? Can the Jaguars take a leaf out of Tampa’s book and disrupt our pocket? The template for attacking this team is the run and attacking them deep. The weather may again be the Jaguars’ best defender.

However, the real questions may be on D. We need to stop the run. Can we do that against a good back who isn’t Dalvin Cook good? More importantly perhaps, can we do this without eviscerating our rush? Get to this QB and it should be over early. But allow them to run all game and we have another SF last year. A QB who doesn’t need to pass is no real weakness.

This is not a great team by any means, but it will pose critical questions particularly to our D. Was the last game a flash in the pan? Remember most of their yards last Thursday were late with back ups to back ups on the field, on the ground as well as in the air.

If Pettine cannot contain the run on Sunday and then get to this QB, in my mind that’s going be the time to accept that he is a liability and should be gone sooner not later. That’s not to say I think anyone is going to bring a magical transformation, but I think it will indicate Pettine is part of the reason for underperformance and another may be at least less so.

3 points
Leatherhead's picture

November 13, 2020 at 10:46 am

Look at James Robinson and explain why we should spend millions retaining Jones.

1 points
Coldworld's picture

November 13, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Losing Lovett means we have no FB ( he really didn’t do much H back). Wonder if anyone else on the PS is ready and able. I think we have a blocking TE who has played FB, Daffney. I’d like that option in a bad weather game against a poor run D with a good ILB. Don’t think there’s time to add from outside with Covid.

2 points
Milteven's picture

November 25, 2020 at 02:57 am

Good post!

0 points