HAPPY GAME DAY, BOLT FAM!
The Chargers are in Green Bay for a another shot at an even record. While the team’s performance has been lackluster, wild card spots are there for the taking as the AFC continues to get hammered with injuries to key players, and former juggernauts like the Bills showing signs of regression.
We’ll start off by giving you our predictions for today’s games, but keep the conversation going in the comments below!
Ryan Watkins: Going into this game down four of his top receiving weapons Justin Herbert will have to repeat his antics from the Week 10 loss to Detroit Lions if the Chargers want to walk out of Lambeau Field with their first win at the historic venue since 1984. For any offensive coordinator the plan to attack this Packers’ defense should be simple; run the ball consistently and frequently. This unfortunately is something the Bolts cannot do well however they used the running game well in the Lions game even if it wasn’t successful as it kept the defense honest. The same will need to happen here as the Packers are only allowing 187.6 yards per game through the air thanks to their impressive secondary.
On the other side of the ball the Packers have struggled to be consistent through the air, their young wide receivers haven’t developed a reliable connection to Jordan Love however a day out against the Bolts usually fixes that. Love is a quarterback that you want to attack the middle of the field as he has really been poor there but Staley’s stubbornness to play quarters coverage leaves this area wide open and could therefore end up costing the Bolts dearly. The Packers’ pass protection has been very good but if there’s one area they can be targeted it is the interior, so if Staley can get his odd front working with more snaps for Morgan Fox then I think he can pressure Jordan Love into making mistakes.
For me this game will come down to health of key players that will be playing opposite each other; if Keenan Allen is able to go and Jaire Alexander is not, or visa versa, then the outcome of this game will turn dramatically. Additionally if Rashan Gary is healthy this spells trouble for when he faces Trey Pipkins who has struggled playing against stronger edge defenders. I see this as yet another one score game and I’m going to be honest in saying that when it comes to a cold game in Wisconsin I do not have faith in the Bolts’ players to be tough enough to ride this one out. My game picks were made before the latest injury news and I’m afraid I would now pick the other way around on all counts; packers win a close one with the game being a low scoring one. As always I hope I am wrong when picking against my Bolts.
Final Score: Packers win 21-17
Kyle DeDiminicantanio: Man, I hate doing this. I take absolutely no pleasure in taking the opponent in these predictions, but the two practice squad activations have me nervous. If this offense loses Keenan Allen, we’ll see shades of last year where Justin Herbert attempts to put the team on his back and will it across the goal line, only to be outgunned by his opponents. With Guyton out and Allen trying to gut out a painful injury in the Green Bay cold, we may be relying on Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis, and Simi Fehoko as our receiving tandem.
The resilience of the defense will also be put to the test after the Lions could do no wrong against them. They’ve either been dominant or a doormat this season, and although the Packers offense has been weak, it’s like that if they move the ball early the Chargers will have a tough time answering back.
If I had to make a wild prediction, it’d be that this game is won or lost by Jordan Love’s success off play-action. He’s made some killer plays off deception this season, but has also made some big mistakes off the fake as well. The Chargers defensive backs have played play-actions like a team that knows how poorly they’ve performed against the run, and are eager to compensate, letting receivers or even blocking tight ends run freely past them. If they can stay disciplined and make the right reads, it’ll go a long way keeping them in this game.
I have to take the Pack here.
Final Score: Packers 24-21
UPDATE - This COMPLETELY changes my mindset (8:37am)
Well, the scheme adjustment I've been begging the Chargers to make for 2 years is happening today.— Kyle DeDiminicantanio (@TheKyleDe) November 19, 2023
Good news: it's against a struggling offense.
Bad news: If JT Woods is OUT, the Finley/Marlowe aren't exactly proven commodities.
That said, schematically this is HUGE https://t.co/kc3Zlc4zMx
Call me crazy, but this alone instills renewed confidence in the defense for me. I actually think this move is worth at least a touchdown off the board for the Packers. I’m leaving me previous prediction up to show how impactful I think this move is... let’s see how it plays up!
Adjusted prediction: Chargers 24-17
Arif Hasan: The Los Angeles Chargers and Green Bay Packers will likely end up deciding the game based on explosive plays more than anything else. Both offenses and defenses have somewhat mediocre success rates relative to their overall capabilities. On offense, Green Bay attempts to get this done with deep passes. Jordan Love ranks 2nd in average depth of target and fourth in percentage of passes that go deep.
The Chargers have a bad passing defense overall, but do better against deep passes (24th in EPA on deep balls) than any other type of pass (30th in passes below 20 air yards). Relatively speaking, this matches up well.
Neither team has much of a run game to write home about, but both have bad running defenses. When the Packers have the ball, they run with a decent success rate (ranking 13th) but a poor overall EPA (19th). The Chargers, however, have the 21st and 20th-ranked defenses in those marks.
Overall, a Green Bay offenses ranking 15th in EPA per play and 20th in success rate will find itself going up against a defense ranking 28th and 27th in those categories. That’s a decent advantage but they will be playing strength to strength.
Defensively, Green Bay is just as soft against the run – ranking 25th and 22nd in EPA per carry and 22nd in run success rate – but the Chargers don’t present much of a statistical threat, ranking 22nd in run EPA per carry and 31st in run success rate. If they get anything at all on the ground, it’s through explosives.
What matters is the passing game. The Chargers rank 5th in dropback EPA and 8th in dropback success rate, while the Packers rank 17th and 21st in those categories. The Chargers make their way through explosives, but they don’t rely on deep balls, instead using a combination of deep passes and yards after the catch at every level of the field to get things done.
That’s the Achilles heel of the Packers – they can prevent the occasional big play but tend to get torn up down after down. The Chargers rank fourth in “bust rate,” which is the percentage of plays on offense that produce negative one EPA or lower, meaning they don’t find themselves the victim of defensive explosives. They should be able to get consistent gains against the Packers without losing too much along the way.
There are three mediocre units in this game and one high-level unit – the Chargers offense. That, to me, suggests a Chargers win. I’ll take them and the points despite the injuries at key skill position groups — Herbert just tends to avoid bad mistakes.
Final Score: 31-24 Chargers