Green Bay Packers v. Carolina Panthers: 3 Bold Predictions

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 03: Za'Darius Smith #55 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during the second half of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 03: Za'Darius Smith #55 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during the second half of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

As the Green Bay Packers prepare for the Carolina Panthers, these are my three bold predictions for Sunday’s game.

There is no good way to sugar coat it, the Green Bay Packers’ performance last week against the Los Angeles Chargers was horrendous. And perhaps what makes it sting even more was watching the Chargers’ performance on Thursday night in Oakland.

However, the Packers are still sitting pretty at 7-2 overall and they will look to rebound this week against the 5-3 Carolina Panthers led by MVP candidate, Christian McCaffrey. This is Green Bay’s last game before their bye week and coming away with the win almost feels like a must. Going into the bye on a two game losing streak with the undefeated San Francisco 49ers on the other side could cause a bit of panic.

But before we get to Sunday’s matchup, I take a look into the crystal ball and make my three bold predictions about what we will see from the Green Bay Packers.

Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will combine for over 200 yards of offense

Earlier this week, Matt LaFleur admitted that against the Chargers he gave up on the running game way too soon even though it was just a two score game going into the third quarter. But this week with a Panther’s defense that has struggled against running backs, I’m expecting a heavy dose of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

As bad as the Green Bay run defense has been this season, Carolina has actually been worse, giving up an average of 133.4 rushing yards per game. Establishing the run has been a key component of this offense in 2019 and LaFleur will look to get back to what has helped make them successful which Jones and Williams both being key contributors. Not to mention that relying on the running game will also help control the clock and keep Christian McCaffrey on the sidelines.

However, it’s not just in the running game that Jones and Williams will leave their mark, but I believe in the passing game as well, particularly on screens. According to Pro Football Focus the Panthers have allowed the second highest passer-rating this season (118.2) on screens and flare routes, so I’m anticipating that Jones and Williams will be top targets of Aaron Rodgers once again.

If the Green Bay Packers can exploit these glaring weaknesses in the Panthers’ defense, then we should see big days from Jones and Williams, which is why I’m predicting over 200 yards for the dynamic duo this Sunday.

The Packer defense will record 5 or more sacks

Despite combing for just four total sacks in the last three games, I think this week we really see the Packer defense get after Panthers’ quarterback Kyle Allen and really make him uncomfortable. For one, the Carolina offensive line has been so-so in pass-blocking this season having already given up 26 sacks, which is the 10th most through week nine. And their sack rate of 8.2 percent is the eighth highest in football.

I’m also expecting – or maybe hoping is a better word – that we see Mike Pettine send more pressure this week. Particularly against Kansas City and Los Angeles, the Packers rarely sent blitzers and instead relied on their three or four man rush to get to the quarterback. However, that’s backfired and both Matt Moore and Phillip Rivers were able to pick apart the secondary.

But my prediction is that this week will be different and the Green Bay front-seven is able to get after Allen and they tally at least five sacks, which is something they’ve done twice this year against Chicago and Denver.

Green Bay wins by double-digits

As I mentioned above, last week’s loss and lack-luster performance was embarrassing, but I do believe that the Packers will bounce-back with a convincing win at home over Carolina. While nothing good came from last Sunday’s game, I don’t think Green Bay was exposed either. I think it was just one of those performances that we will look back on at the end of the season as an outlier.

However, as we look ahead to this Sunday’s game, on offense I expect the Packers to control the clock with Jones and Williams while Davante Adams will be more of a factor in the passing game. Meanwhile on defense, slowing down McCaffrey is a tall task and he is still going to put up numbers, but they’ll put pressure on Allen which could lead to a turnover or two and we will see that bend-don’t-break defense that we’ve grown accustomed to.

In the end, Carolina will likely move the ball on this Packer defense but I expect the Green Bay offense to have success as well. With that said, the difference is going to come down to field goals verse touchdowns, and the Packers will find the end zone more often in the red zone than the Panthers will.

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After Green Bay’s only other loss of the season to Philadelphia, they came back the following week against Dallas with an overall dominating performance in which they were in control for much of the game. And I’m expecting the same this weekend against Carolina with a double-digit victory.