Jeff Hanisch- US PRESSWIRE
The Green Bay Packers are having a disappointing season so far with a record of 2-3 and their season isn’t going to get much easier as they will go up against the undefeated Houston Texans this weekend.
The Packers are coming off a disappointing loss last weekend to the Indianapolis Colts where they had a 21-3 lead at halftime only to lose in the closing seconds 30-27 after kicker Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal to tie the game at the end of regulation.
Not only did the Packers lose the game, but they also had three key injuries occur. Tight end Jermichael Finley, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and running back Cedric Benson all got injured. Finley, who hurt his shoulder, looks like he will be play to play this weekend, but earlier this week Green Bay had to put Benson on injured reserved leaving young Alex Green as the primary running back.
The loss of Benson may not be that big of a deal as he was not used often and when he did there wasn’t much production. He was averaging 49 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry. The lack of a running game is nothing new for the Packers, but the lack of production from the passing game is something that has been unexpected. After finishing last season averaging 35 points a game, the Packers are now only averaging 22 points a game this season. Now while the Packers passing game continues to find its chemistry, they will be going against the fourth ranked passing defense in the league.
While the Texans defense is one of the best in the league, they suffered a big loss last weekend when their star linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a knee injury that has cost him the rest of his season. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak knows that his defensive is still in good shape but will have to make adjustments with the loss of Cushing.
“A big blow for our team. We have to have guys pick it up around him and we’ve got to find a way to move forward. It’s a challenge for our team, that’s what this is,” Kubiak said. “We know Dobbins is going to go in there and play well, and every player in our locker room is going to take on a little bit more responsibility.”
Their will be a challenge replacing Cushing on defense, but it looks like the Packers defense might be the defense that will struggle this weekend. This is a very bad matchup for a Green Bay defense that has allowed 57 points in it’s last two games. The Texans are one of the most balanced teams in the league and can’t beat you with the pass or the run at any given time.
Arian Foster leads the Texans offensively with 532 rushing yards which puts him second behind Jamaal Charles for the lead league. The Packers defense will have to stop Foster if they want to have any chance of winning this game next Sunday. If the Texans can establish Foster and the running game it will open the play-action passes that Houston thrives on.
Play-action passes will also help quarterback Matt Schaub find one of his favorite targets, tight end Owen Daniels. Third in the league for tight ends in receiving yards, Daniels has a favorable matchup against the Packers linebackers. The Packers have a difficult time covering inside the hash marks which is where Daniels does most of his damage.
This game is going to come down to time of possession and the turnover battle. Houston is going to try and slow the game down and take the ball out of Rodgers hands and tire the Packers defense. Green Bay is going to attack the defense with a quick up tempo pace to try and get the offense back into a rhythm. It will be interesting to see which philosophy will take over as the game progresses and how it will change the direction of the game.
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