Packers vs Patriots: Gameday Preview - 2022 Week 4

The Packers rose to the occasion to earn a tough road win last week. This week looks like an easy W at home... will it be?

 

WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL

The Patriots offense was inconsistent with Mac Jones. Without him, they may have a very difficult time moving at all.

On the passing attack, the Patriots threw for solid yardage, getting nearly 250 yards per game, but much of it was scrambling to come from behind and they had only 2 touchdowns to 5 interceptions.

The run game has a been their consistent segment, where Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson form a high-quality rushing duo. As a pair, they average 4.8 yards per carry. However, they don't look capable of carrying a one-dimensional offense if backup quarterback Brian Hoyer can't get anything moving.

And there's no reason to believe Hoyer, a near 37 year-old career backup, will be able to get anything going.

The Packers may be missing Jaire Alexander (listed as questionable), but the trio of Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes, and Keisean Nixon absolutely smothered the Buccaneers last week (even if they were missing some guys). We should expect a lot of tight coverage this week to limit the passing game and strong play from the box, maybe even with a safety close to the line.

The Packers defense should look at this as a chance to make a highlight film.

 

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

Last week, the Packers stuck with the short game, riding a low-average run game and a quick hit passing attack to grind out a tough road win against a great defense.

This week, they don't face the same caliber of talent on defense, but Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind. Throughout his career, Belichick has built his defense around taking away what opposing offenses do best. Last year, Belichick would have targeted Davante Adams as the person to take away.

This year, without Davante Adams, the Packers are a team with no easy-to-identify target that, if nullified, would debilitate the offense.

That is the strength of the LaFleur approach: having a balanced attack where defenses can't anticipate what is coming.

And he'll have the healthiest team he's had all year to build that attack - David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are good to go, as is Christian Watson. 

The offense can stick to the short game they fine-tuned last week or work deeper routes with Watson opening up coverage. And of course, the Packers should be able to run effectively with AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones. The Patriots will be missing defensive line mainstay Lawrence Guy because of his shoulder injury, making for easier sledding.

The Packers have a talent mismatch, but need to be wary of a brilliant gameplan by one of the greatest defensive coaches of this era.

 

OTHER NOTES

  • Packers special teams is 14th in DVOA in the NFL - I'm not huge on those kind of metrics, but it screams volumes
  • The Patriots have turned the ball over 8 times in 3 games 
  • Brian Hoyer's real first name is Axel

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Packers have very little to worry about here.

The only thing that can let them down is a lack of energy. With David Bakhtiari making his first home appearance in years, I expect the stadium to be rocking and the team ready to steamroll a hopelessly overmatched opponent.

With special teams and defense both clicking, the offense can get on track here and make this a laugher.

Packers 31, Patriots 6

 

 

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 PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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Comments (7)

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Coldworld's picture

October 02, 2022 at 08:31 am

Very few easy victories in this league, even fewer against this head coach. We can break the back of them if we prove we can score early and often. We can also make this a blood and guts (which they want) struggle if we refuse to take the game to them on offense beyond 5 yards and the run.

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wildbill's picture

October 02, 2022 at 10:04 am

We always seem to play down to our competition and make average qbs look great. This would be a nice time to break that trend

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murf7777's picture

October 02, 2022 at 09:29 am

I’m most interested to see how this offense continues to grow as they get to full strength. It has potential to be very, very good by year end. If they can put up 24 or more points against a Belichick coached team, progress will be made.

Now that Doubs has shown he can be a starter, it would be great to see Watson have a coming out game. I don’t see him being a volume pass catcher at this stage of his career, but it would be great to see some big plays from him.

The key will be for the OL to give Rodgers the time to get the ball down field and open up Belichicks tough D. It will be an interesting chess match as adjustments are made throughout the game.

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Bure9620's picture

October 02, 2022 at 10:26 am

I have a feeling this game is closer than most are expecting. We let them hang around, sort of difficult to watch but pull out a win. 21-17.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 02, 2022 at 11:54 am

I am always a worry wort before the game. Hoyer is a bit of a gunslinger and they do have one good receiver. People are predicting a blowout. I don’t think so. The Patriots have played some tough opponents and have a superior coach. They will try try to stymie our offense. As I have said before, I hope we win and I don’t care how it’s done.

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Spock's picture

October 02, 2022 at 12:47 pm

The Packers haven't scored more than 27 points yet this season. If they "just show up" they won't. But- if MLF has his team ready this could be a fun game to watch! I'm hoping for the offense to get it in gear with Bahk and Jenkins BOTH back. GPG!

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McDermott's picture

October 02, 2022 at 04:05 pm

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