LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-5) at GREEN BAY (3-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, Fox
OPENING LINE: Chargers by 3, .
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Chargers 4-5; Packers 4-5
SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 10-2
LAST MEETING: Chargers beat Packers 26-11 in Los Angeles on Nov. 3, 2019.
LAST WEEK: Chargers lost 41-38 at home to Detroit Lions; Packers lost 23-19 at Pittsburgh.
Uniforms for Packers
Need To Know
The Green Bay Packers, after stumbling in their previous game in Pittsburgh, face a critical test this Sunday. Can they gather their strength and outmaneuver the formidable Los Angeles Chargers led by the dynamic Justin Herbert?
This matchup isn’t just another game in the season; it’s a pivotal moment that could redefine the Packers' trajectory. Historic Lambeau Field is set to witness an intriguing NFL showdown as the (3-6) Green Bay Packers, grappling with challenges against the run but still boasting the 11th-ranked defense, welcome the(4-5) Los Angeles Chargers, a team with the 7th highest-scoring offense in the league.
This encounter, the first between these two franchises since 2019 and the first in Green Bay since 2015, sets the stage for a riveting clash of strategy and skill. For the Packers, this game represents a crucial test of their defensive mettle, as they face an offensive juggernaut in the Chargers, who are poised to challenge the Packers defensive vulnerabilities. As anticipation builds, this matchup promises to be a significant barometer for both teams, potentially shaping the rest of their seasons.
This Green Bay Packers offense has struggled to surpass the 20-point mark in games since their second week, yet they might find a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers defense to turn things around. This season, the Chargers find themselves at the bottom in terms of passing yards conceded and they are 29th in the league in yards allowed per play.
The Packers' offense must hit the ground running in what could escalate into an explosive shootout, considering the Chargers' impressive offensive firepower. Remember, Green Bay hasn't surpassed the 20-point mark since their Week 2 clash in Atlanta, enduring a seven-game streak with 20 points or less. With the over/under set at 44 points, it's clear that expectations are high for a high-scoring affair. This game isn't just about strategy; it's about breaking barriers and defying odds.
Over their last two games, the Packers have managed to convert only two of their nine red zone opportunities into touchdowns. In an unprecedented event for the franchise, Sunday's defeat in Pittsburgh saw three rookies, Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Dontayvion Wicks, each amass over 50 receiving yards in the same game, a feat noted by the Elias Sports Bureau as a first in Packers' history.
Jordan Love has shown promising performances in recent games and he's facing a Chargers defense that gives up the 6th highest passer rating in the league could be advantageous. There's a strong indication that this might be the game where the Packers' offense finally finds its rhythm.
The Packers' offensive line has generally been solid in protecting the passer. Facing a defensive front featuring Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Tuli Tuipulotu may seem daunting, but considering the Chargers rank only 25th in generating pressure, this could be less of an issue.
A major bright spot on the Packers roster this season is 2022 All-Pro kick returner Keishawn Nixon is once again leading the league in KR yards and it's not even close. Nixon is a leader and exactly what you'd picture a Green Bay Packer to be like. I sure hope he gets re-signed after this season.
The Packers' defense is gearing up for the ultimate 2023 challenge against Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and the seventh-ranked scoring offense of the Chargers. Despite some inconsistency, the Chargers have racked up 27 or more points in their last three games and in six out of their nine this season. Facing a young, elite quarterback like Herbert, equipped with a formidable arsenal, poses a significant test for the Packers' defense.
This is especially true after they allowed 23 points to Kenny Pickett's Steelers and struggled with tackling Jaylen Warren last week. Will they be able to hold their ground against such a potent offensive force?
The uncertainty surrounding Quay Walker's return to the field is a crucial factor for the Packers, especially after their recent struggles with missed tackles. Walker, who has been out with a groin injury, is anticipated to return for the upcoming game at Lambeau Field against the Chargers. His role is particularly significant as the team prepares to contain Austin Ekeler, a dynamic threat in both running and passing plays. Known for his agility and knack for gaining extra yards, Ekeler's effectiveness, especially in short-pass scenarios, will be a key challenge. The Packers' defense, with Walker at the forefront, will need to be alert and proactive in limiting Ekeler's influence, ensuring he doesn't find the open space he thrives in.
The Chargers are 2-1 against the NFC North this year. Last week, their offense scored TDs on five consecutive drives, a first since 2018. They rank second in the NFL with a 72.4% red zone TD rate. RB Austin Ekeler averages 102.7 scrimmage yards with four TDs in three games. WR Keenan Allen, with 73 catches, leads the league and has over eight receptions in his last three games. Rookie WR Quentin Johnston scored his first NFL touchdown recently. LB Khalil Mack is fifth in the league with nine sacks, while rookie LB Tuli Tuipulotu is a leader among rookies in tackles for loss and sacks. S Derwin James recorded a season-high 13 tackles last week. K Cameron Dicker has a 94.6% success rate on field goals with the Chargers.
Although the Chargers are average in terms of missed tackles, their less aggressive defensive approach has made them particularly vulnerable to conceding extra yards after catches, where they rank 31st. This could signal a prime opportunity to involve Aaron Jones more in the passing game.
However, it's worth noting that under Brandon Staley's leadership, the Chargers defense has been impressive in third-down situations, ranking third in limiting conversions. For Love, capitalizing on early downs to avoid challenging third-and-long situations will be crucial for maintaining offensive momentum.
As we gear up for this electrifying Week 11 face-off, here are several intriguing elements to keep an eye on, offering deeper insights into what promises to be a captivating battle between these two teams.
Players To Watch
CHARGERS KEY PLAYER: QB Justin Herbert is one to keep an eye on, coming off a striking performance last week with 323 passing yards and four touchdowns, despite the team's loss. Showing remarkable consistency, he's notched three or more touchdown passes and maintained a passer rating over 110 in two of his last three appearances.
PACKERS KEY PLAYER: Keep an eye on Jayden Reed, the Packers' emerging star and rookie wide receiver from Michigan State. Selected in the second round, he's quickly becoming a key playmaker in Green Bay's offense. In the recent game against the Steelers, Reed impressed with five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, marking his second game in three with over 83 receiving yards. Notably, he's recorded seven receptions this season that have each gone for 30 yards or more, a feat surpassed only by Miami's Tyreek Hill. Reed's growing impact is definitely one to watch in the Packers' lineup.
Matchups To Watch
Herbert against the Packers' Secondary: Despite grappling with various injuries in their defensive backfield, Green Bay has impressively limited opponents to just 119 passing yards in each of their last two outings. However, these stats came against quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Kenny Pickett. Facing Justin Herbert presents a substantially more formidable test, as he brings a higher level of play and challenge to the Packers' secondary. This matchup is poised to be a defining element of the game.
The Packers-Chargers game will feature a highly anticipated individual matchup, with Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander and Chargers Keenan Allen both slated to play. This pairing promises some captivating moments in the passing game whenever the Chargers are on offense. Although Alexander and Allen won't be in a direct face-off on every play, the instances when they do clash are expected to be exceptional. Allen's prowess as an elite route runner meets its match in Alexander's remarkable quickness and unwavering confidence, setting the stage for an intriguing battle on the field this Sunday.
Gary's availability will significantly influence Herbert's ease in the pocket this Sunday.
Having just secured a lucrative new deal, Gary's participation is uncertain due to a shoulder injury sustained in the week's last practice. He's a key pressure player, having recorded 34 pressures this season, a stark contrast to the combined total of 35 by Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare, and Lukas Van Ness.
Herbert stands among the NFL's top quarterbacks. Without effective disruption from the Packers, they could face serious challenges on the field.
CHARGERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (22), PASS (8), SCORING (7)
DEFENSE: OVERALL (31), RUSH (12), PASS (32), SCORING (24)
PACKERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (21), PASS (19), SCORING (21)
DEFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (27), PASS (7), SCORING (11-T)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chargers plus-8; Packers minus-4
Family Ties With Packers and Chargers
My brother-in-law, tight end Ryan Krause, embarked NFL journey when he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2003. During his tenure, he served as the understudy to the legendary Antonio Gates - a position where overtaking Gates as the starter was virtually unheard of at the time or his entire career for that matter. Ryan excelled as a special teams standout and a reliable backup. Ryan's solo career touchdown came from Doug Flutie, how cool. His journey with the Chargers eventually came to a close, but in 2007, an exciting new chapter began with a call from the Green Bay Packers.
Ryan wore #87 the year before Jordy Nelson was drafted by Green Bay and forever implemented #87 in Packers history books.
Joining the Packers was a pivotal moment for Ryan, as he secured a spot on the 53-man roster for the entire season, a testament to his skill and determination. That year was a thrilling ride, culminating in the NFC Championship Game. Unfortunately, it ended in heartbreak as the Packers lost to the Giants in overtime. As a lifelong Packers fan, that day stands out as one of my most challenging experiences. Had Green Bay triumphed, Ryan would have had the opportunity to bring me and most of our family to the Super Bowl - a once-in-a-lifetime chance. While that dream remains unfulfilled, I still hold onto the hope of experiencing the Super Bowl firsthand one day. Ryan will be attending the Chargers/Packers game with his wife, Erin Krause, and their four boys, Xane, Xyler, Ryker, and Bodhi.
I think this game has the potential to be an offensive shootout or an offensive blowout by the Chargers. The excitement is mounting, and despite the Packers battling difficulties in both offense and defense, their gameplay remains remarkably engaging. Known for their perseverance, the Packers have a knack for either holding their ground or clawing their way back, setting the stage for exhilarating conclusions. However, in this matchup, the Chargers' unwavering consistency might just overshadow the Packers' spirited efforts. It seems likely that the Chargers will advance their record to an even 5-5, while the Packers, despite their valiant attempts, may unfortunately slip to a challenging 3-7.
FINAL SCORE: Chargers 31 Packers 23