Preview & Predictions: at Patriots – 2018 Week 9

Ok, it’s finally here, the big game we’ve been waiting for since the schedule came out!

I certainly didn’t expect the Packers to only have 3 wins coming into the matchup, but after a solid showing on the road against the undefeated Rams, I’m pretty excited to see what goes down Sunday night – there’s a lot of interesting angles.

Pettine vs Brady

Tom Brady is good. He’s not as good as Aaron Rodgers, but he’s still really good. As he’s aged (did you know he’s 41?), he’s relied more on his quick reads to keep chains moving.

Mike Pettine, on the other hand, has proven quite skilled at shifting matchups and assignments around to adapt to opposing offenses. With HaHa Clinton-Dix recently traded, no one really knows what those matchups are going to look like. We could finally see Josh Jones or maybe Tramon Williams will shift to safety (like he did in Cleveland when Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator there).

Given Pettine’s propensity to adapt scheme in-game, and Brady’s ability to read defenses and make quick decisions, this should be fun to watch unfold throughout the game.

Sony Michel Effect

Maybe even more than Brady, it looks like the offense may have been running through rookie running back Sony Michel. After all, with him out, he Patriots weren’t moving through the Bills as easily as the Packers did. Yes a lot goes into that, but I think Michel’s availability will be a big factor in the game.

If he’s playing and not at full speed, it will probably be noticeable – ditto for Rob Gronkowski, who has been banged up and posting numbers below his usual standard.

The Aaron Jones Effect

Is this the week that Packer fans have been dreaming of? The week where Aaron Jones gets 40 carries and turns them into 6 touchdowns? We know what he’s capable of. He has yet to go a game averaging less than 5 yards a carry this year.

With RB3 Ty Montgomery shipped out of town, he may be able to take on more carries, but let’s be honest: TyMo wasn’t getting a ton of carries – this is Aaron Rodgers’s offense.

Sure the run game is a great way to control the clock and slow things down against a road crowd, but I don’t see Jones getting more than a dozen or so carries.

Bill’s Target

Bill Belichick has a history of attacking opposing offenses by trying to take away what they do best. I really don’t know what he will target here. It would be hard to “take away” Aaron Rodgers, but maybe he comes with a lot of blitzes, knowing that the Packers offensive line has some weak spots and the QB can’t scramble like he used to. Maybe he blankets Davante Adams (good luck) to take away Rodgers’s favorite target. Maybe he realizes Aaron Jones is getting ready for a coming out party and stacks the box.

The Packers offense hasn’t been hitting on all cylinders, but it is versatile enough to beat dime coverage with the run and beat stacked boxes and blitzes with the wide array of receiving weapons. Much like Pettine vs Brady, Belichick vs Rodgers should be a treat to watch unfold throughout the game.

12v12

This is the real headline. We all know Rodgers is better than Brady, but as far as quarterback matchups go, this is about as good as it gets. Jared Goff is supposed to be one of the next big things, but he didn’t really have an answer for the Packers secondary. I expect old Tommy Boy will.

Every year there’s another half dozen QBs that get all hyped up like they’re gonna be the next legend. None of them make it to the level that both of these guys are at. Sure there’ll be a lot of Twitter talk and debate, and sure we all know that Tom Brady isn’t the GOAT, but when you get down to it, this is one of the best quarterback matchups in the history of the NFL.

We had a treat in 2014, we’re lucky to get to see it again in 2018.

Odds are we’ll never see it again.

Let’s enjoy it.

Question of the Week

How many passing yards will Rodgers and Brady combine for on Sunday night?

Log your answer here on out Twitter page.

Predictions

Aaron Jones gets a season high in carries
MVS comes up big (much like Davante Adams did as a rookie in 2014)
David Bakhtiari stonewalls Adrian Clayborn

Jaire Alexander gets a couple pass breakups
The Packers are held sackless against Tom Brady’s quick release
Tramon Williams moves to safety and his replacement (be it Jackson or Breeland) gets picked on

A Packer returner busts a kickoff return for at least 30 yards

Packers 27, Patriots 31

This really should be a good game. Patriots fans will undoubtedly point to this win and say it proves Brady is better than Rodgers, but we all know that’s nonsense. Let’s just enjoy this ride and use another close loss to a premier team serve as the final galvanizing force in the 2018 table running.

3-4-1 is not the end. Buckle up for 8 straight wins.

 

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