The Green Bay Packers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon in a crucial meeting from Lambeau Field. Both of these teams seem to be going in different directions and with both needing a win, although, for different reasons, there's little doubt that this won't be an interesting matchup. The Patriots come with only one win on the season so far, while the Packers have won two in a row since dropping their opener. The Patriots may have won the last time these two met, though with that coming all the way back in 2018, it appears likely that things have shifted quite a bit for both teams since then.
Pats In Dangerous SpotThe Patriots seemed like they were turning a corner last season in year two of being without Tom Brady, as they were able to make the playoffs, despite getting blown out in the opening round. This season has started with a little more trepidation and after losing by 13 in the first game and by 11 last week, there seems to be a clear disparity forming. Against other teams that are likely to make a run towards the playoffs, the Patriots are likely to struggle this season and it doesn't help that they have to go on the road in this one. They've lost four of their last five road games, many of those coming against teams not even as talented as the Packers, which shows the challenge at hand on Sunday.
The main absence impacting this team is that of Mac Jones (ankle), who is doubtful for Sunday and is expected to miss a few weeks of action. That means veteran Brian Hoyer will take over as the starter. Adding to that are injuries to a handful of receivers, with Jakobi Myers (knee) questionable for Sunday. On the defensive front, a trio of defensive backs is questionable for the weekend as well, which certainly comes at an inopportune time.
Offensively, the Patriots have struggled to turn the corner over the last few seasons and with the absence of Jones, it appears as if those woes could continue into the weekend. New England is skirting with the top ten nationally in total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards, though they have struggled to finish drives with touchdowns. Fans can expect a heavy dose of Damien Harris (4.6 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns), as well as Rhamondre Stevenson (5.0 yards per carry), as the Patriots aim to control this game on the ground. With a weak passing core available this weekend, trying to keep pace with the Packers in a shootout isn't a plan that's likely to work out for this group.
On the defensive side of things, the Patriots are always going to be tough to break down. With one of the best staff in the league, they have the talent on the fields and the minds on the sidelines, to make things challenging for the Packers. Much like on the offensive end, while the numbers are good overall, the scoring numbers are a cause for concern. They rank eighth against the pass but 22nd in scoring defense. Devin McCourty (17 tackles) remains the leader, though he'll need some help in the secondary in this one.
Packers Happy To Be HomeThe Packers had some off-season moves impact how their team looked but there was still little doubt that they were the favorites in the NFC North coming into the season. An opening week loss to the Vikings was definitely a concern, though they've bounced back nicely over the last few weeks. Last week, they were able to go on the road and take down the Buccaneers, which is always an impressive result. It was even sweeter given how the offense played, while the defense was able to pick up the slack. The even better news is that they return home on Sunday for this matchup, where the Packers have continued to have one of the best home-field advantages in football.
The biggest concern for the Packers right now is their state of affairs when it comes to the injury report. With one of the longer lists of injuries in the league, the potential offensive absences are troublesome. On the offensive line, both David Bakhtiari (knee) and Caleb Jones (illness) are both questionable. At wide receiver, Allen Lazard (ankle) and Christian Watson (hamstring) are both questionable as well, while Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is out. Defensively, the status of Jaire Alexander (groin) is one to keep an eye on as well.
Offensively, this group has a ways to go before they match the output and explosiveness of some of the years past. It certainly helps to continue to have Aaron Rodgers leading the way at quarterback but all eyes are on his wide receiver room. Romeo Doubs (3 touchdowns) has emerged as a leader but without much help, he might struggle to make a difference on his own. The running game is ninth best in the NFL right now and expects a heavy dose of action on the ground as the Packers aim to simply wear down the Patriots on Sunday.
Defensively, this group looks like one of the better groups in the NFL over the past few seasons. They rank in the top ten when it comes to yardage defense, passing defense, and scoring defense while ranking middle of the pack when it comes to rushing defense. The potential absence of Alexander could be problematic in the secondary, though that remains a deep position group for Green Bay. De'Vondre Campbell (29 tackles) leads the way, while Rashan Gary (12 tackles, 3 sacks) has been a force in wreaking havoc.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
With confidence and momentum both heavily leaning in Green Bay's favor, as well as this one being played on their home turf, there's little doubt that they'll come away with a double-digit win. For the Patriots, being without Jones at quarterback is going to be difficult for them to overcome, and adding in that injuries elsewhere for them on the offensive end, it's going to be a struggle to move the ball. For the Packers, their running game will dictate how this one goes, and considering the ease with which they move the ball at times, Sunday will be one where Rodgers instills some confidence in the supporting cast and gets the points flying up on the scoreboard. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Patriots are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games overall, while the Packers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games after scoring 15 or fewer points in their previous game.
Full-Game Total Pick
There's little doubt that the Packers will put up points in this one but with the offense likely to rely on the run, it might be quite a bit fewer possessions than usual for them to make that happen. The Packers also expect to be without at least a couple of their starting wide receivers, serving to only further slow them down through the air. For the Patriots, the absence of Jones at quarterback will be too much for them to overcome and their already poor offense will struggle even more in this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Green Bay, the under is 4-0 in their last four games overall, as well as 8-0 in their last eight games in October.