Packers Periscope: Week 15 vs Carolina Panthers

The Green Bay Packers are set to face the Carolina Panthers (4-9) on Saturday night. 

For once in what seems like an eternity, the Green Bay Packers control their own destiny. Win all three of the remaining games in the regular season and secure the number one seed in NFC. First, they must get through a 4-9 Carolina Panthers team, who, in Matt LaFleur’s eyes, are much better than their record says.
 
“I know they have nine losses, but seven of those losses are by one possession or less,” he said Thursday.
 
Many of those seven losses came against certain and potential playoff teams. The Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings are among the teams the Panthers nearly defeated. Needless to say, this Carolina hangs tough against good competition.
 
The Packers lead the all-time series 10-6, including one postseason meeting. They last faced the Panthers in week 10 of 2019. With snow falling at Lambeau Field, Green Bay beat a Kyle Allen-led Carolina team 24-16. Preston Smith made the game-saving stop at the one-yard line against Christian McCaffrey as time expired. McCaffrey amassed over 140 yards from scrimmage that day, but he will likely miss this week’s matchup with a thigh injury. Instead, the Packers will have to deal with Mike Davis, whose a tough runner averaging 4.1 yards per attempt in 2020.
 
Aaron Rodgers threw for 233 yards last season against the Panthers as it was the running back group that carried the load on offense. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 156 yards on the ground on 26 carries, including three touchdowns all to Jones. However, Carolina has an improved run defense this year after finishing 29th in 2019.
 
Many will expect the Packers' run game to trample through this Panthers defense, however, Rodgers is currently eyeing his third MVP. The award would mean a lot to the aging quarterback, who wants nothing more than to join the elite company of those who have won the award three times.
Rodgers has played in only one other Saturday game in his career, and it was a great performance against the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. Rodgers totaled 347 yards through the air, completing 28 of 38 passes (73.7 pct.) for four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a passer rating of 136.6. His top target, Davante Adams, will be more than likely be matchup up with corner Donte Jackson for most of the game.
 
While Adams is in the midst of arguably the best season of his career, he’s not the only receiving threat to keep an eye on Saturday night. Carolina has allowed six touchdowns to tight ends this season, so keep a lookout for a big game from Robert Tonyan. Tonyan is no stranger to catching touchdowns. Currently, he is tied for the league-lead among tight ends with nine receiving touchdowns.  
 
No one on Green Bay’s defense was around to face him, but former NFC North starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, will be under center for the Panthers. Bridgewater might not make a lot of head-turning throws, but he is efficient. His 70.7 completion percentage is second only to Drew Brees.
The Packers’ defense will have to take away Davis and the run game, as well as wide receivers Robby Anderson and DJ Moore. With the playoffs right around the corner, Green Bay’s run defense needs to build off a solid game last week against the Detroit Lions.
 
Thanks to a humming offense and an encouraging defense of late, the Packers have no reason not to win by double-digits against a Carolina team that is all but eliminated from the playoffs. A loss this week will have the Panthers looking toward the offseason for answers. A win for Green Bay will put them at four straight victories before they prepare to have another tough test in LaFleur’s former team, the Tennessee Titans.

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (5)

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Bearmeat's picture

December 18, 2020 at 09:40 pm

I mean, I know you're supposed to give credence to every opponent. Any given Sunday and all that. And that is true.

But I have to say: The Panthers without McCaffrey are no better than Detroit. Except Detroit has a blue-chip QB.

If we don't beat them by 14+, we had a bad game. Onto Tennessee.

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Coldworld's picture

December 19, 2020 at 12:21 am

Better run game than Detroit perhaps?

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Bearmeat's picture

December 19, 2020 at 07:21 am

Yep. But worse QB, worse defensive secondary.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 19, 2020 at 08:50 am

All this patting ourselves on the back before the season is over has me nervous. One game at a time please. This opponent is no gimme.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 19, 2020 at 01:05 pm

Classic trap game against a young but potent Panther team. MLF knows this, as he signaled in his presser. At this stage of the season, Green Bay needs to win out, so the road to the NFL champ game runs through Lambleu. And every team wants to knock you off, as for the Panthers this is their Superbowl. A tight one score game would not be surprising at all.

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