I'm exhausted from running back and forth from the hospital. For the curious, mother and baby are doing well. But I couldn't resist previewing this stinker on the NFL schedule.
Two of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. Both teams have been piling up the losses lately. Both teams have collapsed since their respective bye weeks; Jacksonville has lost 6 of 7 and the Packers have lost 5 of 6.
Jacksonville has only won once (September 28th vs. Houston) at home this season, so no home field advantage for them.
League rankings from Football Outsiders:
Jacksonville has an average offense and a below average defense. Basically the same rankings as Houston last week. The difference is Houston's offense generates big yards, currently they're 3rd in the league with 381.5 yards/game but lead the league with 19 INTs. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is 21st in yards/game but they only have 10 INTs.
The last time the Packers played a team that didn't generate a lot of yards on offense, but didn't turn the ball over either, was Carolina. And they had 298 yards of offense that created 5 TDs. What helped them was great field position. Their longest TD drive was 55 yards.
The last time the Packers played a team that had few yards of total offense and few turnovers, and the Packers won, was the 37-3 pasting of Chicago on November 16th. In that game, Chicago's average drive began at their 25 yard line.
Field position is the key to this game. The Packers can, believe it or not, win if Jacksonville has to work the length of the field. QB Aaron Rodgers has to take care of the ball, and the special teams have to kick and cover well. Jacksonville, just like Carolina, has a good power running game. If Jacksonville can get close to the goal line, then they can score a lot. Up until this game, they've have trouble getting near the red zone.
I'm not optimistic. The Packers haven't inspired confidence lately. The offense will keep the Packers in this game no matter what, but until further notice, I expect the Packers will find someway to lose another close game. Jacksonville 28, Packers 27.