Packers vs Chargers: Gameday Preview - 2023 Week 11

The Packers and Chargers are both under .500 and both have been playing inconsistently on defense. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the similarities end there.

The last time the Packers played the Chargers, was 2019, when Los Angeles jumped out to a 19-0 lead before the Packers got some garbage time points to lose 26-11.

Melvin Gordan scored two touchdowns to lead the Chargers to their second win ever over the Packers.

With the way Green Bay has been playing, they're gonna be hard-pressed to avoid their third loss ever to the Chargers.



The offense showed some signs of life last week. Jordan Love connected on some deep balls and AJ Dillon ripped off a monster run.

The might cause some more excitement today, as the Chargers rank 31st in the NFL in yards allowed and are dead last in passing yards allowed.

Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks have been coming on lately and could be long-term fixtures in this offense. Meanwhile, Romeo Doubs has continued to show his ability to come down with contested catches. Christian Watson, however, has been struggling to stay healthy (he was limited in practice this week again) and to build a rapport with Jordan Love. At the same time, Watson, who clearly is not a contested jump ball guy, has been featured mostly in contested jump ball situations recently. Early in the year, he ran more fly routes that played to his strengths. However, Love never really dialed into his speed and defenses has adapted to shut it down.

As Love continues to progress, this could be a game for any of these receivers to break out against a team that allows more passing yards than anyone and has proved to be susceptible to big plays.

To do that, though, the Packers may need to block, and the inconsistency on the offensive line in the wake of David Bakhtiari's injury has not ironed itself out. They continue to allow pressure and might have some real problems as they face Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, two premium pass rush talents, who have under-produced this year. While they've combined for 15.5 sacks this year, 6 of those came in Khalil Mack's monster game. We know what both of these guys are capable of and the Packers have been a get-well game for a lot of teams this year. 

One of the best ways the Packers can slow down the pass rush is by running the ball. Despite their commitment to it, results have been middling. However, in the last 5 games, they've gone over 110 yards rushing in 4 of them. The Chargers have had a solid run defense most of the year, but gave up 200 yards on the ground against the Lions last week. If the Packers dive into the film, they might be able to find a way to get both of their running backs moving.

Jordan Love could be a wild card in the run game. He hasn't done much the last couple of weeks, but was getting a solid 30 yards a game fairly consistently before that. That's not something to build an offense around, but it is enough to loosen up a defense and help a struggling rushing attack.



The Chargers may not have a great defense, but their offense is among the best in the league.

Justin Herbert is one of the best passers in the league and Austin Ekeler is one of the better dual-threat running backs, giving them a lot of balance.

Keenan Allen is a beast and ranks top 5 in almost all statistical receiving categories. The rest of the receiving corps is has been decimated with Josh Palmer and Mike Williams both on injured reserve, leaving rookie Quentin Johnson and Jalen Guyton (who is questionable with a groin injury) to carry the load. Regardless of who has played, Herbert has balanced the number catches the supporting receivers get, making them unpredictable. Palmer and Williams are both currently on injured reserve. If Jaire Alexander (listed as questionable) can go, he might struggle against this group. Allen is 6'2 and Johnston is 6'4, while Guyton (the little guy of the group) is 6'1. The undersized Alexander has lost a lot of his trademark physicality after sustaining a number of injuries over the years.

Making matters worse, this group of receivers is extremely productive after the catch. Given that the Packers defense plays soft coverage and has struggled with missed tackles, they could struggle to get off the field.

The Chargers have a pair of tight ends who have to be accounted for in Donald Parham and Gerald Everett. Everett is out with a chest injury, but running back Austin Ekeler is only one catch away from having the second-most catches on the team (despite missing 3 games to injury). Despite the injuries, the Chargers spread the ball around and take whatever defenses give them.

The Packers, with a depleted secondary that also lists Rudy Ford as doubtful, are gonna have to play a lot of zone and, yes, I'm sure we'll see Preston Smith out on an island in coverage. It's a side effect of how the Packers run sub-packages and the Chargers are the kind of team that will isolate that.

Quay Walker and Rashan Gary as also dealing with injuries and listed as questionable. Even if they play, this unit will not be at 100% and looks like it will struggle against the 7th ranked scoring offense in the league.

The Chargers also have the fewest turnovers in the league, with 7, meaning the Packers can't plan on big takeaways to save them - they need to play consistent defense against a premier offense.

Given the way things have gone this year, that may not be a good bet.



Keisean Nixon hasn't made as much noise in the return game as he did last season, but he ranks first in average kickoff return by qualifying players (26.4 yards) and leads the league in total return yards by a wide margin. Maybe he breaks one today to help the team out.

It's a Gold Package game today, so... sigh...



The Chargers are under .500 and don't really have a signature win this year. However, four of their five losses have been by 3 or fewer points, including a last second field goal last week and an overtime loss earlier in the year.

The Packers have some close losses, too, but they've come against worse opponents.

The Chargers just have too many weapons for the Packers to cover given the injuries (and trade) that have hampered their secondary.

If Jordan Love gets hot, he can probably make the shootout entertaining for the home crowd, but I don't see the closing mentality that this team will need to put the Chargers away.

Chargers 31, Packers 23





Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.


NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (8)

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

November 19, 2023 at 07:42 am

On offense, expect the Chargers to look a lot better against the passing game than previously. It seems as if LaFleur's passing schemes have been thoroughly solved by the rest of the league. The running game will also have problems, as the Packers smash Dillon into the teeth of the defense repeatedly, and fruitlessly.
On defense, just as the Chargers are very good on third down, the Packers regularly find ways to allow first downs. Soft coverage, lighter packages on the line allowing RB's large holes in the DL.
What would be nice to see is progress for the offense. The defense will continue to struggle because of the DC; but if LaFleur can get a bit more creative, and if Love shows a spark, and if the WR's actually catch the ball when it hits their hands, that would be great.

1 points
mrtundra's picture

November 19, 2023 at 08:06 am

Pressure Herbert and the opportunity for takeaways will present itself. Short passes, underneath the coverage, will move the chains for us. Make holes for Jones and Dillon and we will be fine, I hope! GO PACK, GO!!!

2 points
Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 09:49 am

I'll say it.....

The Packers are playing at home.
Not only are the Chargers the 31st ranked defense.
They are also ranked last (32nd) in passing yards, giving up 291 YPG.
The 31st worst pass defense gives up 270 YPG.
Showing you just how bad the Chargers defense is.

This is a winning game for the Packers, period.
I don't want to hear about the ref's, or any other excuse's.
I am completely out of tissues.

This is a game the Packers can, and should win.

"But Since'75....the Chargers score a lot of points!!!" (The kool aid drinkers screamed!!)
We have 8 first round draft picks on defense, i don't want to hear it.
The Packers are, i get it and i get why they are young and inexperienced. (See Gute)

But here's the thing....
The Packers have had mini camp, OTA's, training camp, pre-season, AND an extended 11 week training camp called the 2023 season..
It's high time this offense shows something besides a pass converted here and there to various receivers.
Am i wrong?
Is that not enough time?
I'm not asking for the offense to be top 10, but how about some identity?
How about some rhythm?
I don't even know who our go to receivers are.
Detroit has the #2 offense, the Vikings are ranked 10th.
Under Murphy/Gute...the times they are a changin.

If the Packers lose this game, there is a better than good chance this team is 3-10 in another two weeks.
Meaning....the Vegas over/under of 7 wins, makes the under look pretty good.
Before the season started........I can remember some kool aid drinkers carrying the G thinking the Packers had a good chance of making the playoffs.
So entertaining!! 🤪
Win a game against the worst scoring defense home.
Show us something!!
Anything less is unacceptable.

-1 points
Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:22 am

I know 😭..i know 👶🏻

My comments are sometimes very blunt (but truthful) and that can be very very painful for those under the burden of Carrying The G.

My sympathies to all 👶🏻🍼🥱😲😏.

How about a 🍪, would that make it better?

This hurts me more than it hurts you.
Ok, you caught me in a lie.

Lets all try to man up.

0 points
Packerpasty's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:23 am

I'm with you on a win...just feel like they are going to play a good game, not too many mistakes or penalties, come out with a "W"....of course I could be wrong....again...

1 points
Since'75's picture

November 19, 2023 at 02:33 pm

Yea, i feel a win coming, especially after the forced fumble.
Smart right? 👍😁

But yea, it could be an ugly win, but who cares how it comes at this point.

0 points
TxFred's picture

November 19, 2023 at 10:00 am

Amazing the amount of theatrics & made for TV (entertainment, lo-knowledge idiots) catches. On the ankles, over the head, behind the receivers, way ahead,wrong side.
Begs the question. WTF are the doing in practice?
How about, oh let's say on the fricken numbers!!
WR's run precision, sharp routes? Execute. Execute.
But, when in the end zone, oh for the execution & cheographed perfection, coordinated crap.
Funny about that.

-1 points
WD's picture

November 19, 2023 at 11:26 am

Any team that can not stop the run will be a losing team Period. It is stunning to see the Packers defense be unable to stop the run for the second year in a row. Is it the scheme? Or, is our front seven over rated? You can't simply blame the DC. He answers to MLF. One an only one bit of advice. STOP THE DAMN RUN!

-1 points