This Sunday night will feature one of the premier matchups the NFL has to offer, as Tom Brady and the Patriots welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) to Foxborough. This will be only the second time Brady and Rodgers have faced off, with Rodgers emerging victorious in 2014.
Here are some things to consider entering this Week 9 contest.
1. How will the offense rebound?
The Patriots may have won last week’s game at Buffalo, but Tom Brady and the offense were highly inefficient for the majority of the game, as they were constantly stopped on third down by the determined Buffalo defense (until a crucial drive in the fourth quarter). Unfortunately for the Pats, they will be facing a Green Bay defense that gave the high powered Los Angeles Rams all they could handle. The Pats will likely still be without Sony Michel, who is still nursing a knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Relying on the trio of James White, Julian Edelman, and Josh Gordon should give the Pats a good chance to succeed against a Packers secondary that recently traded away a talented defensive back in Haha Clinton-Dix. Rob Gronkowski has been hampered in recent games, so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs against Green Bay.
2. Can the defense handle Aaron Rodgers?
As I’ve frequently mentioned in my last few posts, the Patriots defense has been heavily inconsistent throughout this season, as they’ve had both good and bad performances so far. Stopping Aaron Rodgers and his offense will not be an easy task for Bill Belichick’s defense, as his ability to throw the deep ball and extend plays outside of the pocket make him a threat to be reckoned with. On the bright side, the Pats may finally be able to have a good game against their opponent’s tight end, as they have been solid against Jimmy Graham in the past. To have a good chance of winning, the Patriots will need to be able to get after Rodgers (and contain him outside of the pocket) and shut down Green Bay’s rushing attack.
- Trent Brown (ankle) – Questionable
- Marcus Cannon (concussion) – Questionable
- Dont’a Hightower (knee) – Questionable
- John Simon (shoulder) – Questionable
- Sony Michel (knee) – Questionable
- Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) – Questionable
- Josh Gordon (hamstring) – Questionable
- Julian Edelman (Ankle) – Questionable
- Cordarrelle Patterson (neck) – Questionable
- Shaq Mason (calf) – Out
- Geronimo Allison (groin/hamstring) – Doubtful
- Randall Cobb (hamstring) – Questionable
- Nick Perry (ankle) – Questionable
- Jermaine Whitehead (back) – Questionable
Prediction: Patriots 34, Packers 28
Here are my picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 9 games (excluding Thursday Night Football)
Last week: 12-2
Bears at Bills: Bears
Buccaneers at Panthers: Panthers
Chiefs at Browns: Chiefs
Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins
Steelers at Ravens: Ravens
Lions at Vikings: Vikings
Falcons at Redskins: Redskins
Texans at Broncos: Texans
Chargers at Seahawks: Chargers
Rams at Saints: Rams
Titans at Cowboys: Cowboys