The Packers embark on the second half of their schedule Sunday with the game that looks like the easiest on paper: a one-win Jaguars team heading north into bad weather, with a rookie quarterback making just his second career start.
The Packers are two touchdown favorites for a reason, but let’s hope the Pack learned some lessons from the last time a one-win team visited Lambeau on an exceedingly windy day. That happened two weeks ago. Now, rookie running back James Robinson is no Dalvin Cook, but he’s on pace to havethe best rookie season ever for an undrafted running back. And with winds gusting at 25-35 mph around Lambeau on Sunday afternoon and temperatures in the mid-30s, he figures to be the focal point of their offense.
Let’s see how the Pack’s run defense responds to its latest challenge. Meanwhile, rookie QB Jake Luton gets his first road start under very difficult conditions. He did throw for over 300 yards in his first start last week, but that was against the atrocious Texans defense. There’s no guarantee the Packers will have either starting cornerback for this game. Jaire Alexander has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol as I write this, and I never believe Kevin King is going to play until I see him on the field. He’s been limited at practice this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses another game.
Whoever is back there covering the receivers, Mike Pettine figures to show Luton some exotic looks and make him uncomfortable as much as possible. Their tackles have struggled all season and the Smiths need to make their presence felt all afternoon. The Jags have a decent set of receivers, but the guy to watch is rookie Laviska Shenault, a Swiss army knife, who does a little bit of everything in that offense. He left last week’s game with a hamstring injury and has been limited in practice. If he plays, he’s a dangerous weapon on a day when it’s tough to throw downfield. The cold, wet conditions may make it difficult on a guy with a tight hammy though.
Of course, on this windy day, the Packers will have Aaron Jones on the field and he’s in line for a huge day. The Jaguars are awful defensively. How awful? Their second leading tackler is safety Josh Jones. Yes, that Josh Jones. The former second round pick of the Pack has a chest injury, but is expected to play. The Jags are giving up more than 30 points per game to offenses like Miami, Detroit, Tennessee and the Chargers. Despite a tricky weather day, the Pack should have no problem getting to 30.
Davante Adams is likely to draw coverage from rookie corner CJ Henderson, the ninth pick in last year’s draft, who’s had a typical rookie season as he tries to figure things out. He’s a Miami kid, so this will likely be the worst weather he’s played in and Adams is likely to be his worst nightmare. It sounds like David Bakhtiari will be back after missing three games, so the line should be at full strength. No word on Allen Lazard just yet; the Pack still needs to remove him from IR. It might be another week before we see him.
Not much more to say about this one. It’s the Jags. The Pack will handle their business and get ready for a much stiffer test next week in Indianapolis.
Packers 34 Jaguars 14