The Packers look to capitalize off of a much-needed win in the Windy City last week. A 23-16 win over the Bears may not seem significant, but it gave many of our young players the confidence they need to turn this season around and make a playoff push. For the Packers, this week brings an unfamiliar foe in the Baltimore Ravens to town. These two teams have played just twice since 2009, both games seeing the Packers secure a victory. Since their move to Baltimore from Cleveland, the Ravens have yet to win at Lambeau Field, and their lone victory over the Packers was all the way back in 2005. Can the 4-5 Ravens come into Lambeau and get their first win in Green Bay? Or will the Brett Hundley led Packers build of much-needed confidence and stay in the playoff chase?
Packers defense vs Ravens rush offense
The Ravens have relied on the running game this season. Even though they have an “elite” quarterback in Joe Flacco, their multi-man backfield has led the way on offense this season. Alex Collins, Buck Allen, and Terrance West have been the only consistent performers on offense. The Packers are in the “middle of the pack” with run defense. The 17th ranked run defense has allowed 111 yards on the ground per game this season. If the defense can stop the run, it will give Brett Hundley and co. a better chance to win on Sunday, as Baltimore’s passing game is almost non-existent. Even with the lackluster secondary Green Bay possesses, a performance similar to Mitch Trubisky last week is expected. Basically, if the defense can stop the run, the Packers chances of winning exponentially rise.
Brett Hundley vs Ravens secondary
For years, the Ravens were known for their elite defense. Future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed made the Ravens successful in the 2000s and early 2010s. Even after Lewis and Reed retired, players like Terrell Suggs, C.J Mosley, and Jimmy Smith have stepped up and continued to make this defense a top-10 squad in the league, year after year. If not for this defense creating turnovers giving their offense great field possession, the Ravens would not have four wins this season. The Ravens lead the NFL in interceptions. Brett Hundley needs to be smart with his throws, as he has been the last couple of weeks, but the Ravens will take advantage of any mistake or misstep you give them. Preventing any turnovers will be crucial in securing a win.
Players to Watch:
Offense – Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays, running backs
With rookie stud Aaron Jones out for at least three weeks and Ty Montgomery a doubtful play on Sunday, it will be up to the two other running backs the Packers drafted this year. Jamaal Williams showed promise last Sunday, with some powerful running, and Devante Mays had a great preseason but has not been given the opportunity to shine in the regular season. Brett Hundley has become more familiar with this offense, but a successful run game wouldn’t hurt. With a great run game, execute play action schemes with more success, control the clock, and tire out a defense. Running the ball will also prevent the Ravens ball-hawking secondary from creating turnovers. Expect Williams and Mays to breakout on Sunday.
Defense – Kenny Clark, defensive line
Clark, a 2016 first round pick for the Packers, is by far the most underrated player for the Pack this season. He has already surpassed his tackling stats last year. He has become a force to be reckoned with on a very young and promising defensive line for the Packers. He has yet to record a sack in his young career, but he is notorious for disrupting the quarterback, filling running lanes correctly, and plugging up gaps. Playing against the Ravens, who run the ball more often than not, will allow Clark to have a hay day on Sunday. You may not have heard about him yet, but after Sunday’s game, you will remember the name, Kenny Clark.
Aside from the running game, the Ravens have little to no offense to speak of. Joe Flacco is a shell of his former self, and their receivers are non-existent. If, and when, the defense shuts down the run game, it will be all eyes on what Brett Hundley will be able to do. Having a good game against Chicago certainly boosted his confidence and morale. It will be exciting to see what he can do against an above average defense. The Packers need to limit turnovers, stop the run, and control time of possession. That will lead them to a win and keep them in the playoff hunt. Packers 24-13.