Game: Green Bay Packers vs Baltimore Ravens
Time & Location: Sunday 1:00 PM EST; Lambeau Field; Green Bay, Wisconsin
Previous Meeting: 2013 Week 6, Packers Won 19-17
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to the practice field this week, much to the surprise of fans and analysts. After strong starts to the season, both running backs Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery left last week’s game early, and are both expected out for this week’s game. This leaves rookies Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays to fill in. After Bryan Bulaga was lost for the season, Justin McCray was expected to fill in, but he has struggled mightily this season. He’s grading as the worst Packers lineman at any position and could have his hands full on Sunday if Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs moves around a lot. Danny Woodhead, who has been out since week 1, is eligible to return to the field this week, but the Ravens have been noncommittal if he will play. He could certainly help the Ravens offense on third downs with his catching out of the backfield.
After being the Ravens highest graded defensive back last season, Safety Eric Weddle has taken a big step back, as he’s the lowest ranked of the starters heading into Sunday’s game. After spending a first round pick on Marlon Humphrey out of Alabama, he has functioned as the third corner and played very well. The Packers receivers have struggled against good corners in the past, which could lead to some issues. Jordy Nelson has struggled since Aaron Rodgers went down, which has led to an increased workload for Davante Adams. With Jones and Montgomery out, quarterback Brett Hundley could be in for a heavy workload, which leaves him more able to make mistakes. The Packers could struggle if they aren’t able to get the run game going, despite the Ravens 27th ranked run defense, to take pressure off Hundley.
After appearing nonexistent in recent weeks, the Packers run defense and pass rush played very well last week. Their pass defense still struggled, however, giving up 297 passing yards to Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark have been performing at near elite levels this season. The Ravens have performed poorly at the two guard spots along the offensive line with All-Pro guard Marshall Yanda on injured reserve. Daniels will have to be a game-wrecker if the Packers want any hope of coming away with a victory. Although the Ravens wide receivers are not exceptional, they are certainly better than the receiving corps that tore the Packers overmatched secondary apart last week. The secondary will have to make plays in order to get Hundley the ball more.
The Packers and Ravens have only played five times since the Ravens inception in 1996. It’s been a one-sided affair, with the Packers winning four of the matchups. The Ravens are 4-5 on the season so far, with all four of their wins coming against teams that were either struggling, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, or missing their starting quarterback, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. Hundley and the offense looked more explosive last week, against a Bears defense that has been inconsistent this season. If Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggles, the Packers could easily sneak away with a win.
Final Score Prediction: Green Bay Packers 21, Baltimore Ravens 17
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