Preview: Houston at Green Bay

The Packers have lost four of their last five, but three came on the road. They are playing better at home than on the road this season. It might not seem like it since their home record is 3-3 while their road record is only 2-4. But the two road wins were against two of the worst teams in the NFL (Detroit and Seattle). Meanwhile their best games of the season have been at home (wins over Indianapolis and Chicago) while their worst losses (Tampa and New Orleans) have been on the road. So playing at home is an advantage.

NFL rankings from Football Outsiders:

Teams Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 15 9 29 6
Houston 13 12 30 20

In their last two losses, the offense hasn't been the problem. QB Aaron Rodgers has led the team on four TD drives in each of the last two games. I don't see how Houston's lousy defense will slow him down at Lambeau.

The defense has been in free fall the last two weeks. It will be interesting to see if Houston's run defense truly is worse than the Packers. That's quite a low bar. The Packers allowed five TD runs from the 1 yard line last week and now Houston's outstanding rookie RB Steve Slaton is coming to town. QB Matt Schaub is expected to start for the first time since week 9. I don't know if it matters. QB Sage Rosenfels isn't as good a passer as Schaub, but he isn't as likely to fumble or take a sack either. The bigger problem for the pass defense is that S Atari Bigby will probably be out hurt. It looks like S Aaron Rouse will return. But S Nick Collins has been playing through an assortment of injuries all season long. The injuries at safety are the biggest reason why the pass defense has collapsed the last two weeks.

This should be a high scoring game, but a game the Packers should win. They've scored over 30 points in each of their last three home games. Houston has only scored at least 30 points twice this season (last week vs. Jacksonville and in week 8 against Cincinnati). In QB Matt Schaub's last road game, at Jacksonville in week 4, Houston scored 27 points, but lost 30-27. That final sounds about right. Packers 30, Houston 28.

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