Packers vs. Jaguars NFL Week 8 Preview
Look, I know “any given Sunday” and all that; I know crazy things can and have happened in the NFL, especially this season; I know that there have been head-scratching upsets every week so far, but do the 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars have a real chance at beating the Green Bay Packers this week at Lambeau Field? No. I’m sorry, Jaguar fans, but no.
I know I said the same thing in Week 5 before the Packers loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and if I end up jinxing the Packers, I’ll hate myself forever, but I just can’t see this being anything other than a blowout in the Green and Gold’s favor.
I’m sorry to be mean to the Jaguars, because I’m sure they’re nice people, but the team is terrible. Just awful. In passing yards, they’re ranked last in the league; they’re 25th in rushing yards; they’re 24th in opponent passing yards; and 29th in opponent rushing yards. They’ve been outscored by their opponents 88-164 so far. They’ve given up 1,000 yards more than they’ve gained in six games. They’re only averaging 14.7 points per game.
The one bright spot in the gaping abyss that is Jacksonville football was Maurice Jones-Drew, last year’s rushing leader. MJD, however, will not be on the field on Sunday and perhaps not for several Sundays because of a foot injury. Backup Rashard Jennings will get an opportunity after a good showing last week with a career-high 102 combined rushing and receiving yards against the Oakland Raiders, but he only averaged a sad 2.1 yards per carry. While Jennings is a decent running back, the Jaguars’ complete lack of a passing game will allow the Packers defense to focus on Jennings, which will make it difficult for him to break out.
Starting Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder last week and is still listed as questionable. If Gabbert is unable to go, backup Chad Henne (wait, he’s still in the league?) will take the snaps for Jacksonville. Green Bay, despite defensive inconsistencies, leads the league in sacks with 24 and will get to Gabbert or Henne. The Packers suffered a big loss this week in learning that Charles Woodson will be out at least a month due to a broken collarbone, but I just don’t think the Jaguars have the weapons to take advantage of any uncertainty in the Green Bay secondary.
On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville has notched only five sacks in their first six games, easily the worst in the league. Now they’ll be facing a once-again en fuego Aaron Rodgers and the most talented receiving corps in the league. The Jacksonville defense will be overmatched against Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley.
Barring the replacement referees sneaking back onto the field to fulfill their obvious vendetta against Green Bay, the Packers will win this one easily. I only pray that the football gods don’t smite me for my overconfidence.
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