Shawn (5-0) — In a rare event, the San Diego Chargers come to town this weekend. They come to Lambeau Field once every eight years, and most of us should remember well what happened in 2007 when the Chargers came to town. The Green Packers were on their great run to start that season, and a back and forth offensive game was sealed for the Packers when Brett Favre hit Greg Jennings on a crossing route that Jennings took to the house. Exciting game.
I sincerely hope this game is not as exciting, though on paper it certainly looks interesting. The Chargers are third in the NFL in offense, mostly thanks to being second in the league in passing. With Philip Rivers at the head, this is certainly the best passing offense the Packers will have faced so far this season. With Antonio Gates back from the nursing home, he mixes with Keenan Allen on the outside and Danny Woodhead out of the backfield to give Rivers some decent options and present a more varied attack than the Packers have faced yet.
As usual, the Chargers are middle of the road on defense. Their weakness is the run… ala the St. Louis Rams and as such, I expect them to employ near the same strategy defensively. They should bring free safety Eric Weddle down near the line of scrimmage, where he is best anyway, and dare the Packers to beat them over the top. If they can entice the Packers offense into the same malaise we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, then Rivers will have a chance to pull this game out.
One decidedly different characteristic of the Chargers from the Packers’ last few opponents is that they might be better off offensively when they fall behind. Rivers is one of the better garbage time quarterbacks in the league. So, another fast start by the Packers won’t do much to discourage the Chargers. They’ll keep on coming regardless of the score.
Still, when we go from paper to the field, the fact of the matter is that this is a Chargers team that just lost at home to a Pittsburgh Steelers team with Mike Vick at quarterback. Now they have to come to Lambeau Field and face the Packers on a short week. That’s a tall ask.
The Chargers are banged up on their offensive line. Their starting left tackle and center are out. The three other starters are all questionable. The Packers right now might be the last team that you want to face with a shaky offensive line. Sacks were a big part of the story when the Vikings dominated the Chargers earlier this season. The Packers will look to do the same.
On top of that, unlike the Rams, the Chargers don’t have a running game to grind it out against the Packers. Rivers threw the ball 48 times against the Steelers and we may see something similar on Sunday. Melvin Gordon is explosive, but a rookie running behind a bad offensive line. I don’t see the Chargers posing much of a threat there and that puts it all on Rivers’ shoulders.
You can’t complete passes from your back and I expect Rivers to spend some time there. The Packers have also had a couple good games in coverage and though Rivers and company might make some plays there, I think that is a tough secondary to have to wing it against.
Offensively, the Packers are likely to have Davante Adams and their full offensive line back. I don’t necessarily expect immediate returns from Adams, but if he can even make just a couple plays, that makes everyone else that much harder to deal with. I expect the Packers to run the ball better than they did against the Rams, even if the Chargers bring a safety up. Eddie Lacy had a particularly bad game and that won’t be a two week streak.
With the help of a turnover or two, I expect the Packers offense to get back over 30 points. I think the Chargers score late to make the score closer, but otherwise, the Packers defense will have another good game. The Packers won’t cover for once, but they’ll be 6-0 and I won’t care.
Packers 31, Chargers 23
Andrew (4-1) — This is the type of game where, if you look at it with very broad strokes, it seems like this could be a blowout win for the Packers.
Take the Chargers offensive line, as noted by Shawn. It’s downright offensive and plagued with injuries to all five starters. Now look at the Packers defense. It’s playing out of its skull and bringing the thunder.
However, if the Packers defense is licking their collective chops leading up to this game, then we just might not see the blowout of which I speak.
Say what? If they AREN’T licking their collective chops, then that’s a good thing?
My thought is if the defense is licking their chops and anticipating this game versus San Diego as a perfect opportunity to chalk up some sacks and interceptions, then most likely the opposite will be true and personal responsibilities on a play-to-play basis will go out the window.
The Packers defense shouldn’t be thinking about the weak prey in front of them. They should be thinking about handling their individual responsibilities like they have thus far this year.
When players start thinking about sacks and picks more than their basic responsibilities in front of them, that’s when gaps get abandoned, defensive backs take big chances and miss, and overall sloppiness comes to the forefront creating scenarios where upsets are possible.
This game will be a strong indication as to Dom Capers’ feel and pulse of his defensive squad. Hopefully he took a page out of the Pats’ book and stressed all week, “Do. Your. Job.”
If the defense does that, the Packers will kill this team. If everyone is thinking about personal stats rather than personal assignments, it will be a lot closer and might end in disaster.
I have to believe Aaron Rodgers has one of his better games of the year and with the bye week sitting in the very near distance, that should be strong motivation in bringing clarity to the entire team about the opportunity lying in front of our boys in Green and Gold to remain undefeated at the break.
Packers 34, Chargers 17
Monty (5-0) — To me, this was never really a question of whether the Packers will beat the Chargers.
The only question is by how much and thus, should I bet the game?
The line opened at 9.5 and by Thursday, it was 11.
Last week was similar. Packers at home against an obviously inferior opponent and a line that was 9.5-10. I jumped on that and it paid off.
Once it goes over 10, it’s a different story, though. That’s a lot of points.
Here you’ve got a team that’s barely scraped by the winless Lions and the perennial disaster that is the Cleveland Browns by a combined eight points. They lost to the Bengals on the road, got blown out at Minnesota and, as Chitko mentioned, lost to a Michael Vick-led Steelers team at home last weekend.
The Chargers are shit, especially their defense.
This isn’t a playoff-caliber team. The only thing that’s going to make them competitive is Phyllis Rivers.
That hillbilly assclown can sling it and he’s going to get some yards and points.
Somehow, tight end Antonio Gates, who’s approximately 75 years old, still appears to be effective.
He came back from a suspension last week and caught nine for 92 and two touchdowns.
Oh yeah, his suspension was for roids, so that’s why he’s still effective, even at 75. So my biggest question is can the Packers cover the Chargers roided up tight end?
So far this season, they’ve been just fine against top-end tight ends. Martellus Bennett, Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce — all fairly ineffective against Green Bay.
You could point out that Kelce caught six for 80 against the Packers, but I’d point out that most of those came when the game was already out of hand and that the Packers kept him out of the end zone. They held Bennett and Graham to one catch each.
I can’t see Gates taking over this game.
Again, Chitko is right. The only way this isn’t a blowout in favor of the Packers is if the guys on defense are more concerned with stats than doing their job.
I’m looking primarily at you, Clay Matthews.
I say they remain focused. I’m also saying bet the Packers again.
They’re now 5-0 against the spread this season. Ride that fucking wave until it hits the shore!
Packers 27, Chargers 14