Opportunity for Jordan Love and Packers offense to take another step vs. Chargers defense

Nov 5, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the loss to Pittsburgh, Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers offense was able to show signs of progress. They’ll now have the opportunity to build upon that performance against a struggling Los Angeles Chargers defense this week.

Last week’s game ended in a similar fashion as the ones before it, with the Packers on the wrong side of the scoreboard and Love throwing an interception. However, while the end result was the same, how the Packers got there offensively was much different than what we saw during their four-game losing streak.

In short, Green Bay was able to score early. They moved the ball, making their way into the red zone on five occasions, and Love was efficient with the deep ball, picking up chunk plays while completing 5-of-8 passes for 168 yards, with the recent emergence of Luke Musgrave, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks.

"“I thought he was playing with a lot of confidence,” said Matt LaFleur of Love’s performance against Pittsburgh. “I thought he was decisive. Made some big-time throws down the field. He kept fighting and battling. Gave us an opportunity right there at the end of the game and obviously came up short. I just see a guy that continues to grow and develop and learn and takes the coaching really well. Takes accountability for when we aren’t playing at the level we’d like to play at. He’s a great example for all these guys.”"

Against the Chargers, the Packers are going to see a heavy dose of cover-2 from this Brandon Staley defense. However, while cover-2 is meant to limit the number of explosive pass plays given up, the Chargers secondary is still allowing the third-most pass plays of 20-plus yards this season. The 7.5 yards per pass attempt they are giving up ranks 31st, and the 23.9 points per game ranks 24th.

While, in theory, cover-2 is designed to limit the vertical passing play, like every coverage, it has areas of weakness as well, specifically against the run, where there typically is a gap that’s left undefended. On paper, if the Chargers are going to utilize cover-2 often, then there should be opportunities for the Packers to find success on the ground. This season, the Chargers are allowing 4.1 yards per rush attempt and have surrendered the 12th most explosive run plays.

Being able to move the ball in the run game will help keep the Green Bay offense ahead of the sticks out of predictable passing situations, along with opening up opportunities in the passing game, specifically if the Chargers break away from that cover-2 look. Really, this is the type of matchup that this Packers offense should thrive with by having the one-two punch of a run game to lean on and the ability to create chunk plays through the air.

Although the offense has had recent successes, where they’ve still struggled is in the red zone, which is why even though Green Bay has been able to move the ball, they haven’t put up a lot of points. Over the last three games, the Packers have had 13 red zone trips – which is really good – but have left with only three touchdowns. In Pittsburgh, they were just 1-for-5. Being better in this part of the field, where there is such a small margin for error in a confined space, begins with being better in the run game.

With all of that said the Chargers have been very good at generating takeaways this season, specifically forcing fumbles. Their 15 total turnovers are the fourth-most, and their nine fumble recoveries are the most in the NFL. Ball security will be at a premium for the Packers.

Los Angeles also has a very formidable trio of pass rushers in Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Tuli Tuipulotu that can wreak havoc. As we’ve seen this season, if Love is under consistent duress, that doesn’t bode well for this offense.

"“Their pass rush Bosa and Khalil, really good players,” said offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich on Thursday. “They do an excellent job with their load fronts. Overloading sides. Working games, using the linebackers to pick, really getting one-on-one matchups. They’ll move Bosa inside to wherever they think they can get an advantage inside. It’s going to be a task across the board for all of us up front to do a good job protecting the quarterback.”"

On the other side of the ball, the Chargers offense has been one of the more high-scoring units this season. The Packers offense being able to find success and put up points isn’t only a must to show that there has been continued growth, but it also might be a necessity if Green Bay is going to have the opportunity to win this game.

"“You never know what they’re going to do offensively,” said Love on Wednesday about the Chargers offense, “but you’ve got to match them and go one step above. When the defense gets a stop, we’ve got to capitalize on that and go put up points. That’s the mindset we are always ready for.“Really, just going forward, we’ve just got to be able to put up points on every drive. Just focus on doing us. Focus on what we are doing. We’ve got to keep trust in the defense that they are going to get those stops when we need them to get those, and we’ve just got to go put up as many points as we can, honestly.”"