by Jake A.
Edited by Matt Rooney
The highly anticipated matchup is finally here – Rodgers vs Brady Part 2 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. This will be the Patriots 4th prime time game in the last 5 weeks dating back to the Thursday night game vs the Colts.
This should be nothing less than an offensive shootout. We all know these are the two best quarterbacks in the game and there’s no argument there. Both offenses have loads of talent that surround each quarterback – the Packers have Jimmy Graham, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Aaron Jones while the Patriots roll out Sony Michel, James White, Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman.
The first thing the Patriots will need to do is obvious – keep Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. More often than not, Aaron is going to make the play, but if the Patriots have their way, he will be contained in the pocket. You really want to find a way to limit Rodgers scrambling ability. This is not an easy task especially after the Patriots’ horrendous efforts containing Mitchell Trubisky in the 38-31 win vs the Chicago Bears. The Patriots struggled big time, allowing him to run wild for 81 yards – including a 39 yard touchdown run which showcased brutal execution on the Patriots part.
It is also vital that the Patriots establish a running game. Even though I have a feeling this will be a shootout, I truly believe the Patriots should try to slow the game down and pound the rock. This will be much easier if Sony Michel is back in the lineup this week after suffering a scary knee injury against the Bears. The Patriots average 99 rushing yards per game without Sony Michel compared to the 123 yards per game when he’s on the field (Bears game not included) – so having him out there would be a huge boost.
The last key to the game is to end drives with touchdowns, and not settle for field goals when in the redzone. Monday night vs Buffalo, the Patriots struggled to finish their drives with 6 after going 1/3 (33%) on TDs inside the 20. If the Patriots can come away with touchdowns instead of field goals, I like their chances of beating Green Bay on Sunday night.
Prediction: Patriots win 38-30