The Past: Much has been made about the fact that Aaron Rodgers has never really faced Tom Brady, but the real story is that two great teams will meet at Lambeau Field on Sunday and neither has much experience playing the other. In their last meeting, the Packers travelled to Gillett Stadium without the services of Aaron Rodgers, who missed his first game after suffering a concussion the pervious week against the Lions. With many people already writing the Packers off, the Packers went with the full game plan on the shoulders of Matt Flynn, who threw for 251 yards on 37 attempts with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, which was unfortunately returned for a touchdown. The Packers also did their part in the running game, with Brandon Jackson rushing for 99 yards on 22 attempts and fullback John Kuhn chipping in for another 22. Lest you think it was all an offensive performance, the defense did their part too, limiting Tom Brady to 163 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of the lowest passing outputs that season. However, the Patriots were still the better team and with a record breaking 71 yard kickoff return to offensive lineman Dan Connolly, the Packers just weren’t able to keep up with the Patriots and ultimately fell 27-31.
The Present: I don’t think anyone has to be reminded that the Patriots are one of the best teams in the NFL (despite their slow start) and will be a tough matchup for the Packers. On offense, the Patriots rank 4th, 2nd in passing but 20th in running the ball according to Football Outsiders. The Patriots are a pass first team as well and luckily that plays right into the the Packers defense’s hands, who are great at defending the pass but suspect in stopping the run. While the Packers aren’t likely going to rattle Tom Brady with lots of pressure, Brady isn’t the most mobile of quarterbacks and should be a little easier to get to than what the Patriots will have to do to get to Rodgers.
Both teams are pretty similar in ranking on defense as well, with the Patriots ranking in at #10 with the Packers close by at #12. Neither team is particularly good at one thing but is rather average enough at everything; the Patriots pass defense is ranked at #12 while the Packers is right behind them at #13 while in run defense the Patriots rank #17 while the Packers come in at #22. When the Packers are on defense, their key advantage might actually be Eddie Lacy, who dominated the ground game against the Vikings last week and could very well be called again to control the clock and keep the defense guessing.
Perhaps the biggest trouble for the Packers is really predicting how the Patriots are going to play them. While most successful teams like the Packers have a core identity, the Patriots are a little bit like chameleons with the ability to drastically change their play style to produce favorable matchups. In will really be a case of how quickly the Packers can adjust and adapt to the Patriots scheme.
The Future: While on the football field, the Packers and Patriots are very similar in terms production and philosophy, off the field they are completely different beasts. While the Packers front office focuses on drafting and developing players, the Patriots are definitely a more wheel and deal organization. The Patriots made perhaps the biggest splash of the offseason by signing Darrelle Revis to a 2-year “prove it” contract worth $7 million in the first year but a whopping $25 million in the 2nd; much like what they did with Randy Moss, the Patriots will give Revis one year to prove he’s worth the money but unfortunately they might have gotten more than they have bargained for as Revis has returned as one of the top cornerbacks in the league but almost certainly isn’t worth $25 million, especially when you consider Revis’ long history of holding out for more money.
The Patriots also have a bevy of free agents they must work with in the next couple of years; in 2015 the Patriots will likely try to re-sign safety Devin McCourty and possibly Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, however the Patriots running game has been a mess in terms of personnel for so long who knows what they will ultimately do. After 2016, Revis, left tackle Nate Soldier, defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Donta Hightower all become free agents and are significant parts of the team. While the Patriots aren’t the type to let good players leave early, they also have been very cold when it comes to player loyalty; they’ve traded their old stars such as Richard Seymour and Logan Mankins without much sympathy and I’d suspect that no player maybe outside Tom Brady doesn’t have to look over their shoulder.
Onto the Patriots draft, and historically Bill Belichick has been a mixed bag when it comes to the draft. Obviously he has big hits such as Rob Gronkowski and Donta Hightower, but he’s also missed quite a bit with Chad Jackson (actually there’s a long running joke that Belichick can’t draft wide receivers). So far in this season, no Patriots rookie has received an overall positive grade from ProFootballFocus. 1st round pick Domnique Easley has graded out quite poorly but hasn’t played all that much (about 250 snaps). 2nd round pick Jimmy Garappolo is basically an incomplete grade with Brady infront of him and 3rd round pick Brian Stork has played the most on the offensive line but sadly isn’t all that great either. Outside of the top 3, the other 6 players in the 2014 draft class haven’t amounted to much, with most playing negligible snaps (it should be noted the vast majority of these picks came in the 6th and 7th round, so the Patriots aren’t likely expecting much anyways). Again it shows how there are so many ways teams and front offices can be successful in the NFL; the Packers and Patriots might have polar opposite front offices but both are the best at winning games.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.
27 thoughts on “Packers Periscope: Week 13 vs New England Patriots”
“…the Patriots are a little bit like chameleons with the ability to drastically change their play style to produce favorable matchups. ”
Like commuters who knows how to use secondary roads to get to the same point and not sit on the same redundant road of congestion.
kinda like the opposite of a MM coached team. Change is scary and never take the road less traveled. Bump into the person in front of you if necessary.
I think its a difference in philosophy: the Packers try to be the very best at what they are, while the Patriots will do whatever is the most effective, regardless of how good they are at it. Personally, both philosophies work, the Packers and Patriots are two of the most stable and successful organizations recently and I don’t think the Packers will be at a disadvantage because of it.
“…the Packers try to be the very best at what they are, while the Patriots will do whatever is the most effective, regardless of how good they are at it.”
There’s something to be said for those who can and will step out of their skin(comfort zone)…the Patriots are great at it…the Packers are afraid of doing it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I think the Packers putting Matthews at middle linebacker shows they are also capable of stepping out of their skin. I personally think TT’s philosophy is a tad better than NE’s. The Packers could have been borderline dominant since 2010 had it not been for injuries.
This year we are seeing some of that dominance now that they are much healthier than years past. New England will see it too. They won’t know what him em’.
They moved Matthews because they were getting gashed up the middle. You use injuries as an excuse. Patriots would have more SB wins if they were healthy. Last year they lost almost 30% of their starters on defense. This year two of their best defenders are still out. Jerod Mayo and Chandler Jones.
Yet, unlike the Packers, the Patriots HAVE been borderline dominant. Gronkowskis injuries and the defensive ones cost them championships
Using injuries for the Packers is an excuse, but it’s OK to mention the Pats injuries as costing them championships? Inconsistent.
Not at all. I am pointing out that if you want to use injuries as an excuse, then the same could be said for the Patriots.
After re-reading your post perhaps it wasn’t inconsistent. However, injuries aren’t an excuse, they’re a reality. No one knows whether the Packers or the Pats would have won more championships minus injuries. Too many other factors are involved.
Rob Demovksy predicted the Packers would get beat down in this game simply because the D hasn’t gotten solid play against an elite QB since… well…2010.
Methinks he’s right. 🙁
Perhaps the ‘Law of Averages’ will show up to at least erase the ‘beat down’ part…only thing I would actually be upset with. 🙂
I guess the question becomes who do you qualify being an elite QB? If you put the usual suspects of Manning, Brady and Brees, the Packers don’t really see any of them all that much.
I qualify both as being ‘elite’ and the winner/loser of the game will not be any less so.
I think there are too many definitions and stats used to designate ‘elite’ to a QB,when the real time actual play of the two in mention are more consistently viewed weekly as opposed to those who are fantasy ‘elite’.
Rodgers and Brady are play ‘elite’ while I lean toward the likes of Brees as fantasy and Peyton straddling to fence enabling fans to take either side,though warranted,deserved and undeniable.
The status of either QB come Sunday will not be lowered via the outcome for either but enhanced with the wait for the rematch for a more viable label…Super Bowl Champion.
While Brady isn’t mobile and GB hasn’t played Peyton since he went to the Horsies, they HAVE played Brees 3x – and gotten LIT UP all 3 times on D.
Mobile QBs have presented a different problem. Wilson/Kap have been made to look like Allstars against Dom’s D in the past 3 years too. While Brady isn’t mobile, he absolutely is in the Brees mold.
I guess that’s just where I fall. I agree with Demovsky – why is now different? CM3 in the middle? HHCD? Those are the only two changes.
I DO think the D is better now than it has been since 2010. But it’s not that good. And while I think GBs O will score on anyone right now, I do think GB loses because of the defensive discrepancy. I only quibble with the “blowout” prediction.
34-24 Pats. 🙁 (Hope I’m wrong)
I don’t take too much from Brees’s three games. Different years, different team personnel. Wasn’t one of those games before Dom came on a Monday night? The Packers D was so vanilla that game. Any decent QB could have had a huge night.
Demovsky Schemovsky!! What the hell does he know!! I don’t trust Russians damnit!!
This is all you need to know about this game. Think no. 12 on the Packers. A certain other quarterback who I will not name came out about three weeks ago and claimed Tom Brady was the best quarterback in all of football.
I don’t know about you all but all I know is whenever someone pisses or disses Aaron Rodgers he never loses!! NEVER!!
This game will be all about Aaron Rodgers showing who is the real dominant quarterback in the NFL today. That other quarterback who I shall not name will once again have to eat his words. Pick GB and don’t look back on this one.
The entire team is going to rally around Rodgers to win this one for him. This is personal for Rodgers and the team has his back. They owe him this game to play their best and they will.
Sports Illustrated Dec. 1, 2014 issue cover:
Jordy Nelson on the front cover: “What makes Jordy Nelson the NFL’s Most Dangerous Deep Threat”.
Almost always a kiss of death.
I’ll read it after the game.
I am not sure that we match up well against NE. We have two good WR and a running game that might be finding its legs. Beyond that, we have unproven other WRs and under utilized TEs. The Patriots have the corners to match Jordy and Cobb and are fairly stout on the interior of the d-line. Rodgers will need to have a first rate game to keep the scoring at a high level. I say ‘high level’ because Tom Brady will get his share. Unless our pass rush is exceptional, it is going to be the last team holding the ball. I hope that it is us and we can use Lacy to put on a power ball demonstration
I definitely agree that the Pats D matches up well against us. I think it really comes down to the running game. If Lacy (and Starks??) can get it going, that’ll take a ton of pressure off Rodgers and help our WRs get a few chances to get open
To be honest I’d say the Packers and Patriots match up well on pretty much every level; the Patriots have similar ranking passing offenses, run offenses, pass defenses and run defenses. Also keep in mind as much as Packers fans will be saying Tom Brady will be getting his share, Patriots fans will be saying Aaron Rodgers will be getting his share.
I hopemI’m wrong, but I can’t help but think that the Packs Do will not be able to stop the Pats O. And I think the Pats D will limit our offense. Like I say, I hope I’m completely wrong
I don’t think it will be as lopsided as many fans are thinking either way. Both teams are capable of scoring in bunches if needed and both have elite quarterbacks. Unless Rodgers or Brady get injured mid way (like against the Saints), the game will be close.
Not sure what you are watching, but Brian Stork has been great for the Patriots. Fantastic. Their offensive line has been dominating since their loss to KC.
Rodgers is great and none of us know what will happen in this game. But the Patriots just beat 4 very good teams, 3division leaders, and some of those have QB’s who are scramblers also. Andrew Luck, for example. It also appears that the Patriots D is much better than the Packers, statistics be damned. All those passing yards have been empty fourth quarter stats when the Pats have big leads and let them move the ball between the 20’s. So it will be interesting to see what happens. Nobody knows……
As a Pats fan, you should know all the talk in the world doesn’t change the fact that in some games, the other guys show-up ready to play hard, regardless of their stats, standings or ‘ we-just-beat-whomever’ rhetoric. The Pats just beat 4 very good teams / 3 division leaders? Broncos (at home), Colts (away) Lions (at home). The 3 prior to that were the Bears, Jets and Bills. The Lions really aren’t all that and it’s looking like the Colts are possibly also headed south. The Lions have only played well against the better teams at home (very much like the Broncos) and are due for their annual ‘December Swoon’. Just look at the schedules for all the teams and it becomes clear exactly WHY some people say ‘they are good teams’! They don’t take into consideration things like their teams played teams like the JETS-GIANTS-JAGUARS-RAIDERS-FALCONS-RAMS-BUCS-TITANS-REDSKINS …. to get where they are. And teams do change throughout the course of the season. The Vikings, regardless of their record, always play the Packers harder than the ‘better teams’. Sometimes pride and luck are better than ‘good’. Just saying is all …
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