Packers vs Jets: Gameday Preview - 2022 Week 6

The Jets are hot off a 40 point win over the Dolphins, their second-straight win in two games with Zach Wilson. Can the Packers slow them down?

WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson missed the first 3 games of the season with a knee injury, so we only have 2 games judge what the offense looks like with him at the helm.

In his first game, they struggled against a Steelers defense that has not been great this year. The Jets managed only 10 points until the middle of the 4th quarter, then rallied for 2 touchdowns (one following a Steelers turnover) to win the game with 16 seconds left. Both scoring drives were fueled by quick, short passes from Wilson in hurry-up mode that kept the Steelers on their heels.

In his second game (last week), the Jets put 40 points up on the Dolphins.

This game made headlines, but the gross number is a bit misleading. The Dolphins (missing a lot of players to injury that week), kept the game close at 17-19 with 10 minutes to go. 

Then Miami fell apart in the 4th quarter with a missed field goal, a fumble, and a 4-and-out on consecutive drives. This gave the Jets great field position and allowed them to score three quick touchdowns with an average drive length of only 30 yards.

In two games under Zach Wilson, the Jets scored 62, but they have not been the pinball offense that number might suggest.

In both games they struggled to move the ball and had to rally late. Both late rallies were fueled by turnovers and short fields.

Zach Wilson, for all his talent, has thrown a lot of checkdowns and has only 1 touchdown to go with his 2 interceptions.

Rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson and veteran Corey Davis have been a solid duo, but were more productive when Joe Flacco quarterbacked in relief of Wilson.

The running game has done well with Michael Carter and Breece Hall, who has had two impressive games the last two week with an increase in his work load. Plus, Zach Wilson is a rushing threat and we saw the Packers struggle with Daniel Jones last week.

What does all this mean?

The Packers need buckle up and play fast.

The Jets will play up-tempo small ball and mix in some RPO concepts. Kenny Clark and Jarron Reed may have a hard time getting through blockers in time to impact plays. De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker need to play at top speed and not miss any tackles because the Jets offense is going to go through their neighborhood most of the day. And someone will have to pick up the slack for Rashan Gary's injury - even if he plays.

The Packers have to cover tight and play fast. The cool weather and natural grass should slow the Jets down a little, but the Packers have to play more aggressive defense (like Joe Barry promised this week) to avoid getting dog-walked up and down the field.

 

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

Who knows?

The Packers offensive identity has not yet been established and weekly game-planning feels random and unpredictable in a bad way.

The offensive line hasn't gelled, but Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari practiced every day this week, so that might help.

Christian Watson is out, so the Packers will need to figure out how to stretch the defense. I think they'll have an easier time using swing passes to running backs and inside routes to receivers to stretch the Jets horizontally rather than using any of their current receivers (who lack elite speed) to try to stretch them vertically.

This, of course, gets a lot easier with a lot of inside runs from a fantastic running back tandem to keep the chains moving... which the Packers have recently opted not to do.

The Packers may have been over-thinking their gameplans in previous weeks. Against the Giants, they spent 5 plays using Christian Watson to set up the Marcedes Lewis touchdown. Focusing on things like that, instead of just thinking about what will move the chains and score on each drive, may have led to stagnant second halves the last couple of weeks when things didn't materialize the way they hoped.

A return to simplicity might serve them well against the Jets.

More than anything, they need to protect the football. The Jets have 6 takeaways in the last two weeks and their defense has come through big time in the 4th quarter of both contests.

Carl Lawson has been wreaking havoc as a pass rusher for the Jets, while Quinnen Williams leads the team with 3 sacks from the interior - they could wreck the Packers attack if Jones and Dillon don't get good chip blocks.

In the secondary, 6'3 rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner has lived up to his billing as the 4th overall pick so far and looks like an instant star. The Packers will need to be careful trying to pass on him.

Ball security needs to be a top priority.

 

OTHER NOTES

  • Braxton Berrios is averaging 14 yards per punt return for the Jets to go along with 25.5 yards per kick return - he will be a big test for a Packers special teams unit that hasn't been abysmal yet
  • Jets Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur (Matt's brother) and Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh (Matt's best friend) probably know the Packers Head Coach and his gameplanning tendencies better than anyone
  • Former Packer Marquand Manuel is the Jets Secondary Coach

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a tough game for me to pick.

All logic and analysis points to a Packers win... but they haven't looked right.

Will Joe Barry actually play more aggressively? Will the offense actually run more? Can special teams actually keep being not terrible?

If those three are yes, the Packers win easy.

But I don't think it's that simple.

I expect the Packers to struggle with the Jets fast-paced, short-hit offense. I'm also not sure the the Packers can their offense on track that easily.

The Jets are young and have a lot of talent.

At the end of the day, I expect an uneven game, but I think the Packers protecting the ball and not giving up a late turnover to let the Jets take over will be the difference.

Packers 23, Jets 20

 

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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Comments (8)

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NitschkeFromTheGrave's picture

October 16, 2022 at 06:35 am

The larger question is: WILL THE REAL PACKERS STAND UP ?

Is this the team of the beginning of the end of titles as we return to the horrors of the 70's and 80s?
Or is this the team of incidental temporary issues that still has capabilities of going out and destroying good teams, dominating weaker teams and keep humiliating the Bears?

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NickPerry's picture

October 16, 2022 at 07:21 am

I know what I thought I was going to see through the first 5 weeks of the 2022 season for the Packers, unfortunately, the Packers haven't remotely looked like that team. I thought I was going to see a rock-solid defense, a running game from hell, and, a ST unit that at least wouldn't lose games.

Instead, when I watch this team I feel like I should be hearing Chris Berman in the background doing his 2-minute halftime show. "And here comes the fumbling, stumbling, bumbling, crumbling Green Bay Packers!"

The truth is I haven't felt great about this team all season. They were humiliated in week one but I half expected that since no one who played in that game, hadn't played since last January. YES, they held the Bucs to 12 points. But that was a shell of the Bucs. I mean how far can you stick out your chest when you beat the Bucs with no Mike Evans or Chris Godwin? They beat the Bears but SO WHAT. They squeaked by a team led by a dude named Zappe. Then lost to the Giants and had no answers for Darius Slayton and Daniel Freaking Jones.

My hope is simple. Jones and Dillon handle the ball 35 to 40 times. The Defense plays more aggressive and the corners are at least within 3 or 4 yards of the receiver they cover. I will start hurling shit the first time I see Stokes lined up 10 yards off on 3rd and 3, or Rasol Douglas lined up in the slot.

See, simple.

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PeteK's picture

October 16, 2022 at 09:06 am

I hope you have some nerf balls handy. LOL

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PatrickGB's picture

October 16, 2022 at 07:54 am

We will probably run the ball. They are expecting that. They will pass quickly, we will struggle with that. We don’t have high quality receivers that threaten downfield. So, they will mug the ones we put out there. Aaron Rodgers is a superior QB but requires his receivers to be open and on the same page. That will be hit to miss. Yet it will happen enough to get some gains. Our defense will probably be fired up so I expect we will limit them. I see another low scoring game.

The wildcard is officiating. I have posted before that if we come out angry (as opposed to aggressive) flags might fly. If that is avoided, we will be fine.

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jont's picture

October 16, 2022 at 08:40 am

Well, I am just not as negative about this team as most others here. Read the past week's columns and comments and one would think Dan Devine time has just returned carrying John Hadl's bags.

I see a passing game as disjointed as expected plus a couple injuries to a group no one realistically expected to be operating smoothly until mid-season and a defense that looks good on paper but unsurprisingly needs time to learn to work as unit.

We've got coaches who are sticking the plan to force feed the guys with the official, peer reviewed, and published schemes on both sides of the ball. The beatings will continue until play improves.

This makes for a rough first half of the season.

So last week was a glass half full kind of thing. Granted, winning is what matters, and we'd all feel better had that one tipped the other way, but we did see what good play can look like. It's too soon to expect the Pack to run away with this one, but maybe we're at the point when we'll see three quarters of it today.

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Coldworld's picture

October 16, 2022 at 08:51 am

As long as LaFleur is head coach it will always be up to the players. This Roster is a challenge that has shown he’s nothing more than a media friendly face whose lived on the back of Rodgers. Unfortunately Rodgers approach won’t get us anywhere meaningful with this roster. This era is in its death throes despite eking out a win today.

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Spock's picture

October 16, 2022 at 08:53 am

Just prior to last weeks game the announcer group mentioned that in interviews that week Aaron Rodgers had said, quote, that he "wanted to put on a show". Hearing that I expected the game to devolve into Aaron throwing, throwing, and throwing again and not using the running game. I wasn't in the least surprised to see the 3 and out triple pass series. My confidence that MLF and QB1 will REALLY use (arguably) the best RB tandem in the league is minimal. Love this team but I just don't see them adjusting what hasn't been working. I hope I'm wrong.

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SinceLombardi's picture

October 17, 2022 at 02:46 am

We are seeing a team on the rise NYJ and a team in decline GBP. It’s that simple. The Packers will win very few remaining games. The bears , maybe one lions game, perhaps Washington and one upset. This franchise has some house cleaning and very tough choices for mr Murphy this winter.

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