3 Key Matchups to Watch in Green Bay Packers vs. Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Carl Lawson #58 of the New York Jets in action against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Ravens defeated the Jets 24-9. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 11: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Carl Lawson #58 of the New York Jets in action against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Ravens defeated the Jets 24-9. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers are hoping to bounce back from a disappointing loss and second-half performance in London against the New York Giants. They will be back home to take on a 3-2 New York Jets team that has a roster full of young and talented players.

In years past, we may have already penciled in our Ws, but that isn’t the case this season. The Jets appear to be an up-and-coming team, while Green Bay has some serious question marks and is coming off a long trip overseas.

As always, there are a few key matchups that will end up defining the game, and for me, these are the three big ones to keep your eyes on.

Zach Wilson vs. Green Bay Packers pass rush

The name of the game in football is getting after the quarterback, and the Green Bay Packers have been so-so at doing this, ranking just above league average at 12th in terms of pressure rate this season.

All quarterbacks see their effectiveness dwindle when under pressure; the question is, how much does it affect them?

When it comes to Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, he is affected quite a bit. His completion rate when under duress is only 18.8% on 20 attempts, which ranks last in the NFL. His 2.9 yards per attempt rank 34th out of 35 eligible quarterbacks, and he also has two interceptions.

The Jets’ offensive line has dealt with some injuries this season and ranks 19th in ESPN’s pass-block win rate metric. By PFF’s grading system, this unit ranks 26th in pass-blocking.

As far as the issues that the Packers have had in the secondary, Joe Barry mentioned that a steady pass-rush presence can help with that. This hasn’t been a Green Bay Packers defense that has blitzed a lot or mixed in a whole lot of creativity when it comes to getting after the quarterback or in general.

Limiting New York through the air also puts added pressure on a run game that features the explosive Breece Hall and Michael Carter–a duo that could certainly give Green Bay fits.

If there is a week to switch things up and dial up the aggressiveness, playing a second-year quarterback who has struggled mightily when facing pressure is the time to do it.

Green Bay Packers secondary vs. Crossing routes

In terms of total passing yards allowed this season, believe it not, the Packers rank second in the NFL with 885 given up. However, the old eye test tells us that this isn’t a top-tier group right now.

Of those 885 total yards allowed through the air, 327 have come on crossing routes, the most by far in 2022, as Mike Renner would point out. The New York Giants took full advantage of Green Bay’s inability to cover these routes in London, but this has been an issue all season long for them.

Joe Barry was asked about these issues on Thursday and mentioned that mixing coverages at certain times could help. Barry added that there are a few specific coverage principles that have been picked on by these crossing routes.

Playing more aggressively and not so far off the line of scrimmage, thus creating a lot of space, is another way to combat these crossers. As is more man coverage — although don’t get your hopes up for that — as well as pressure on the quarterback. And while Barry has to make adjustments, the players have to perform and communicate better as well.

The NFL is a copycat league, and the Packers have put on tape numerous times that they really struggle to cover this route, so you can bet on Sunday that the Jets will also try to exploit this weakness.

Jets’ receivers Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson are both nearing the 300-yard mark on the season, with Davis averaging an impressive 17.6 yards per catch. Running back Breece Hall has over 200 receiving yards, as does Elijah Moore. Tight End Tyler Conklin also ranks 10th among tight ends in total receiving yards.

Green Bay has been picked apart by these crossers this season, and Barry just talked about potential solutions. Now let’s see if any of those changes take place, and if so, how the secondary executes.

Green Bay Packers offensive line vs. Jets front seven

Success on the ground is vital to the overall success of the Green Bay Packers offense as it can create opportunities in the passing game, set up play-action where Aaron Rodgers has been very effective, as well as open up the playbook for Matt LaFleur. We’ve also seen what happens when this offense gets away from the run game.

This week, the run game and the offensive line will be tested, however, against this Jets front seven. On the season, New York is allowing only 4.0 yards per rush, which is tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL. The Jets also rank 10th in run-stop win rate over at ESPN.

Rodgers and the passing game will need to be prepared for a stout pass rush as well. New York enters Sunday’s contest ranked fourth in pressure rate this season, led by Carl Lawson on the edge and Quinnen Williams inside.

Once again, the quick passing game could play a prevalent role in the Packers’ offense in an effort to get the ball out of Rodgers’ hands quickly, therefore, alleviating some of the stress on the offensive line.

Rodgers has been very efficient in the quick passing game this season, but when under pressure, he is a below-average quarterback in terms of completion rate and yards per attempt, ranking 24th and 23rd, respectively.

The Packers’ offensive line unit has had its ups and downs in pass protection this season as they worked with a make-shift offensive line Week 1 and has had David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins returning, but also shaking some rust off. However, this group very much appears to be trending in the right direction, which is a good thing, as they will be tested in both phases of the game on Sunday.