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Patriots vs. Packers: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

Ryan Hannable
November 03, 2018 - 12:41 pm

This is one of the most anticipated games of the year, as apparently NBC had it as its No. 1 choice for Sunday Night Football.

For the second time ever, Tom Brady will meet Aaron Rodgers as starters when the Packers invade Gillette Stadium Sunday night. The Patriots come in at 6-2 and winners of five straight, while the Packers are 3-3-1, and coming off a tough loss to the undefeated Rams last week.

In terms of who needs the game most, it’s likely the Packers given their spot in the standings, but because of their slow start the Patriots need every game they can get since they are still behind the Chiefs in the standings.

It’s not too often two of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game meet, so this should be a memorable night.

Packers vs. Patriots
Sunday, November 4, 2018
8:20 p.m., NBC
Patriots -5, over/under 56

3 keys to the game

Don’t let Rodgers get going

The Packers may not be as talented as some of their teams in the past, but the last thing the Patriots want is Rodgers to get hot and start to gain a ton of confidence against the Patriots defense. Similar to a few weeks ago against the Chiefs, avoiding allowing big plays will be a major emphasis since the Green Bay wide outs have the ability to get behind the defense and Rodgers has the arm strength to find them. Despite his knee injury, the Green Bay quarterback still can run when given the opportunity, so the Patriots may need to employ a spy to keep Rodgers in check.

Patriots defense proving it can stop a good offense

The Patriots defense comes in ranked 12th in points allowed, but 25th overall and a lot of that is because the unit hasn’t proven it can stop a good offense. It didn’t allow a touchdown to the dreadful Bills on Monday Night Football, but also allowed 31 points to the Bears and 40 points to the Chiefs in the two games prior. This is a great opportunity for the Patriots defense to show on a national stage it can perform against a top offense as Green Bay comes in with the fifth-best offense in the league.

Establishing the run

New England comes into the game ranked 13th in the NFL in terms of rushing yards, but it is coming off its worst performance of the year in Buffalo when it had just 76 yards. While it may not seem like a big deal with Brady at quarterback, the Patriots need somewhat of a running game to keep the defense honest and to set up play-action. Sony Michel seems likely to make his return, so that will definitely help the cause. Bottom line, Brady cannot be at his best unless there’s somewhat of a running game. 

Fun facts

1. The Packers have lost 11 straight games when not forcing a turnover, including the playoffs. The last time they won without forcing a turnover was the 2014 game against the Patriots.

2. Including the playoffs, when Julian Edelman scores a touchdown the Patriots have won 17 straight games.

3. Stephen Gostkowski has made 31 straight field goals from inside 50 yards, the second-longest active streak in the NFL.

4. If the Patriots record an interception it will be for the ninth straight game, the longest streak for the team since 2007.

5. Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass last week against the Bills. He hasn’t gone two straight regular-season games without a touchdown pass since 2006.


Patriots 30, Packers 27

This has similar vibes to the Chiefs game a few weeks ago, which lived up to its hype and we expect this one to as well. It will likely come down to which defense can make a play in the fourth quarter to stop the opposing quarterback, and the Patriots defense is in a much better place to do so with more play-makers than the Packers.

Related: Tom Brady explains how he got jersey No. 12