Shawn Neuser (1-0) — On Sunday afternoon the Green Bay Packers get to open their home schedule by hosting the New York Jets.
Let’s keep it real here, right off the bat. The Packers are 8.5-point favorites and if they can’t beat the New York Jets somewhat convincingly and cover that point spread, then they are way short of where Packer Nation expected them to be at this point.
The Jets got to open their season at home against the perpetually pathetic Oakland Raiders and even though they put up some good numbers, ultimately they barely skated by the Raiders with a 19-14 win. So, let’s keep that in mind. I am going to say some good things about the Jets, but in reality, as of right now, they are a team that is only five points better than the Oakland Raiders.
Alright, that being said, there are mainly two reasons why Packer Nation might be a little wary of the Jets this weekend: the uninspiring performance against the Seahawks and the similarities that the Jets share with the Seahawks.
I was tempted to say that the Jets are Seahawks Lite, but the fact of the matter is that the Jets have been playing like this for much longer than the Seahawks. The Jets and their verbose coach take no issue with their opponent knowing straight up what they are in for. The Jets want to beat you with defense and a running game. The quarterback is expected to manage the game and maybe make a couple plays along the way and that is about it.
Obviously the biggest concern is that the Seahawks ran for 207 yards against the Packers last Thursday. That was good for the No. 2 rushing performance by a team in week 1. The top rushing performance was turned in by none other than the Jets, who went for 212 yards against the Raiders. Whereas the Seahawks relied on a three-pronged rushing attack of Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin and Russell Wilson, the Jets have the classic thunder and lightning tandem with Chris Johnson carrying the lightning bolt and Chris Ivory bringing the thunder. Frankly, Chris Ivory is the Jet that concerns me the most and one only needs to watch the Packers attempting to tackle Lynch to find out why.
The Jets also topped the league in rushing defense last week, by only surrendering 25 yards to the Raiders. They have an athletic and physical front seven that will stop the run and get after the quarterback. They also have a young and mobile quarterback like the Packers faced last week in Wilson.
However, there is a striking difference between the Jets and Seahawks as well, and that is in the back end of their defense. The Jets’ best defensive back is a second year corner, Dee Milliner, who didn’t even play in week 1 due to injury. The Jets are young and unproven in the secondary.
This makes Aaron Rodgers the key player in this game. Yes, we are all interested to see if the Packers can stop the run this time around and maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Regardless, as long as he is protected, Rodgers will have the opportunity to control this game. It sounds like Brandon Bostick is going to play and if so, he will add to the Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin dilemma that the Jets already face.
The Seattle Seahawks had something to do with it, but Aaron Rodgers had the worst season opener of his career last week. He needs to play better and this is the week to start. He will have his full compliment of weapons going against a defense that is soft in the secondary. If he can lead the offense to a couple touchdowns early, then it will be difficult for the Jets and their young quarterback to remain patient with their own offense.
The Packer offense could and SHOULD control this game.
Packers 31, Jets 17
Andrew Chitko (1-0) — For me there are two very different ways of looking at this upcoming game versus the New York Jets. I started with one view, but as the week has gone on I have gradually slid to the second. And as we come up on kickoff Sunday afternoon and the sun shines down on Lambeau Field, I will be fully ensconced in a woolly blanket of comfort knowing that the former notion was foolish panic and the latter sound reason.
The initial idea was that the Packers are just not that good this year, the Jets match up well and could surprise Green Bay.
Late last Thursday night after the Packers stunk up the joint in Seattle, I already started thinking about how the Jets could create some issues for the Packers. This was the thought I had days before the Jets ran wild on Oakland and New York’s performance against the Raiders certainly didn’t do anything to diminish my concern.
I love Rex Ryan. I really do. Did you see him out there last week for opening day in New York slapping fives with hundreds of Jets fans? The guy seriously cracks me up and is the antithesis to Mike McCarthy. Although Rex might not have a ton of talented players lining his roster, he’s a good motivator and gets the most of them. He’s slowly starting to put some pieces together out there.
However, the Green Bay Packers have been the best bounce back team in the NFL under Mike McCarthy. I have to give him that one. Old Mike might not know anything about clock management or situational football, but it is a true rarity when his teams put up back-to-back clunkers. The Packers always respond when it seems they are finally destined to slip in the standings and out of contention. Add to that Aaron Rodgers has listened to whispers and downright facts about him avoiding Richard Sherman in the opener, and those well-documented chips on each of Rodgers’ shoulders will elevate his game to where we all know it belongs.
The Packers are coming home off an embarrassing loss on the road. They have the more talented roster and what should be a pissed off Aaron Rodgers at the helm. There is every indication based on past performances that the Packers will play a huge game in their home opener at Lambeau Field. Rodgers will throw four TDs and 350+ as the offense sparkles, the Jets ground game will get semi-stymied courtesy of Josh Boyd and Mike Pennel, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will record two interceptions as Green Bay rolls out to a big lead and never looks back.
Packers 38, Jets 17
Monty McMahon (0-1) — Yes, I was the clown who picked the Packers last week in Seattle. Turns out, the Packers aren’t even close to the Seahawks’ level. They’re a bunch of fucking posers.
Fortunately, they don’t have to play the Seahawks again this week. The New York Jets, although built similarly, don’t have nearly as much talent. Their major areas of weakness are at quarterback and in the secondary.
That sets the stage for Aaron Rodgers to bounce back from doing that Geno Smith impersonation he did last week.
Unlike these other guys, I don’t expect the Packers to jump out to an early lead. The Packers may score early, but the Jets will remain disciplined and execute their game plan — run the ball, play defense. And why wouldn’t they?
Did you see the Packers try to play run defense last week? There’s no reason to believe they can stop anyone from running the ball, much less the Jets. That also keeps the Packers offense off the field and, the Jets will hope, out of rhythm.
You could say, yeah, but the Packers run defense will be different this week because Jamari Lattimore is starting for that turd Brad Jones and Mike Pennel will be taking snaps away from that turd Letroy Guion. Well, I’m sure those two guys will be improvements, but I certainly don’t expect the Packers to round into a top-tier run defense in a week.
The difference in this game is that Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback than Geno Smith, even though you wouldn’t know it by watching the tape from last week.
Rodgers will eventually get the Packers on the board enough that he’ll force the Jets to put it in Smith’s hands. And that’s the really the last place they want a game to be.
When the Jets have to turn to Geno Smith to win, that’s their undoing and that’s going to be the case in this contest.
Packers 24, Jets 17