What Week One Will Look Like

And it ain't gonna be pretty.

Contrary to what you've been told, there will be preseason football played in the NFL this year. It will start on week one of the regular season. With a slow build-up to limited contact workouts, no preseason games, players opting out and players on the Covid Reserve list, the run up to Week One is a hot mess. Here is an idea of what to expect when the Green Bay Packers kick off against the Minnesota Vikings on September 13th.

Many Missed Assignments:

With no preseason games, coaches are going to have to use at least part of the padded practices to evaluate talent. That is time taken away from game plan installation and first team reps. You can expect a ton of mistakes on both sides of the ball.....receivers running the wrong routes, running backs going the wrong way or missing pass protection blocks, defensive backs confused over what defense they are playing, plays coming in too late, poor clock management and lots of pre-snap penalties. As a result of all these, you can also expect.....

 

A Ton of Big Plays:

Because defenses haven't had enough time to get on the same page, there should be many opportunities for big plays down field. This should be especially true for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers because Minnesota is having to do a nearly complete rebuild of their secondary. I anticipate Green Bay receivers to get behind the secondary on numerous occasions. Kirk Cousins may have similar opportunities.  However, miscues in blocking assignments will also result in jailbreak pass rushes and quarterback sacks, possibly including fumbles.   Look for special teams turnovers as well.   The result may well be a wild, high scoring, exciting game.   Not a well-played game mind you, but an exciting one.

 

Lots of Substitution:

These guys won't be in game shape.   The coaches know that.   Look for liberal platooning at the skill positions.   At running back it is unlikely Aaron Jones gets the kind of workload he was taking on last year.   Jamal Williams and, yes, rookie A.J. Dillon will get snaps earlier than later.   No matter how many receivers the Pack winds up keeping, they may all get in the line up on offense.   The defensive line rotations will be more rapid.   Rashan Gary plays much more.   There may be some very unlikely heroes.   Plus don't forget coaches will want to get their rookies into the game to see what they've got.   There is no preseason game video to evaluate.   Frequent substitution may also be necessary because of......

 

Injuries:

There will be a lot at stake in this first game.   It's a crucial division game, and quite likely may be the first actual full speed full tackle football either side has played.   It seems inevitable that there will be injuries.   Packer fans just have to hold their breath that the team's uncommon good health of 2019 continues.

 

Players Being Less Demonstrative

There will be just a handful of fans, if any at all, in the stands.   Players love to mug for the fans after a big play.   It's not much fun mugging to empty seats.   Expect less histrionics from players.   Speaking of the lack of fans that leads us to the subject of......

 

Crowd Noise

Minnesota's stadium is known as one of the loudest in the league.   It is unclear whether the team is going to pipe crowd noise into the stadium, and if they do, whether it is legitimate to crank the volume up high enough to impede the communication of the visiting team.   Assuming they cannot, expect Aaron Rodgers to feel comfortable with changing many calls at the line of scrimmage.   Whether the team can pick up on and execute those changes smoothly is another question.

 

A Packer Victory

In this kind of scenario, with teamwork lacking in quality, it's going to come down to the experienced star players making the one or two individual big plays to win the game.   To that end, it's hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers finding a way to score more points than Kirk Cousins.   Dalvin Cook figures to have another big game.   Difficult to see where the Packers' improvement at stopping the run is going to come from.   The Vikings will win time of possession, but Rodgers will come up with big pass plays to outscore them.   Packers win an ugly but thrilling game 31 to 27.   

 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (5)

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Bearmeat's picture

August 02, 2020 at 06:07 pm

IF we get to week one, and IF no (other) expected starters are out with Covid, I'd expect a 3-1 or 2-2 start to the season. I expect the Lions to be a tougher game than @ MIN. MIN has a ton of turnover on defense and no Diggs on offense. NO is going to be a very difficult game.

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Leatherhead's picture

August 02, 2020 at 07:11 pm

The Vikings will field a very small defense compared to our offense. And they’re going to rely on a rookie to stop Rodgers to Adams. No need to be tricky here. Pound with Dillon and Jones and throw some play action.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 02, 2020 at 09:52 pm

Way too early to predict!

Reminds me of the strike year.

Am I right after this abomination of an upcoming season next year likely will be a players strike season?

Just WOW!

When dust settles Love will be on the field!

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sonomaca's picture

August 02, 2020 at 11:41 pm

I seriously doubt there is much of a season. It’s already falling apart.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

August 03, 2020 at 04:55 am

If indeed the game is played, I also expect the Packers to win. I see the Packers running the ball a lot, and setting up complex play action shots. I think they will be open, but their success will rely on execution by the receivers and Rodgers, which may not be hitting on all cylinders...

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