Updated: Sep 29
This past Sunday, our defence stood up when it mattered against a QB who for all intents and purposes is a rookie. Tomorrow, they might need to do it again against a rookie in similar circumstances but perhaps is surrounded by better talent. They might need to prove J. Geils Band right and show that Love Stinks. Yes, I can hear you booing from over here, but did you really think I wouldn't make at least one Jordan Love song pun? You all know better than that.
The Packers are, much like most of the league, an 11-personnel base on offence. They have run this personnel on 64% of their plays, passing the ball on 70% of these plays for 0.08 EPA per play. They use 12-personnel on 23% of their offensive snaps, passing the ball on 45% of these plays for 0.01 EPA/play. The only other personnel set the Packers have run on more than 5% of their offensive play is 13-personnel, running the ball on 64% of these plays for 0.54 EPA/play. Overall the Packers pass the ball on 61% of their plays for 0.11 EPA per play.
So far this season, Jordan Love has earned himself a 62.6 passing grade. He has completed 53.1% of his passes for 6.8 yards per attempt, thirty-five first-downs, seven touchdowns and one interception. 3.9% of his throws are classed as "big-time" by PFF, while 3.5% are turnover-worthy plays. His throws have an average depth of target of 10.9 yards, and his adjusted completion rate of 59.8%.
His passing is better when he is kept clean, with his completion rate more than halving, his yards per attempt dropping by 3.5 yards and his passing grade decreasing by nearly twenty-eight points on the 21.5% of his dropbacks he is pressured. Inversely, he is better against the blitz than not, according to PFF. While his completion rate drops by roughly 15%, his yards per attempt increase by half a yard and his passing grade increases by fifteen points.
Love is best passing into the intermediate area of the field. He targets this area between the hashes 11.5% of the time, completing 54.5% of his passes for 10.4 yards per attempt, an ADOT of 12.6 yards, six first downs, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 74.7 passing grade. Love targets the intermediate left 9.4% of the time. completing 55.6% of his passes for 9.0 yards per attempt, an ADOT of 15.3 yards, five first downs, no touchdowns or interceptions; all for a 77.1 grade.
Conversely, Love earns some of his lowest PFF grades when targeting these deep parts of the field. He targets the deep centre of the field on 4.2% of his throws for no completions, an ADOT of 39.0 yards, a 20% big-time throw rate, a 20% turnover-worthy play rate and a 52.8 grade. Love targets the deep left 7.3% of the time, completing 28.6% of these passes for 9.6 yards per attempt, an ADOT of 30.3 yards, two first downs, no touchdowns or interceptions, a 12.5% big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate, and a 52.0 grade. However, by PFF grade, Love is weakest targeting the short right area of the field. He targets this area of the field 9.4% of the time, completing 55.6% of his passes there for 6.3 yards per attempt, an ADOT of 3.8 yards, three first downs, one touchdown, no interceptions and an 11.1% turnover-worthy rate for a 33.7 grade.
Overall, Love is a streaky passer who has suffered from accuracy issues. This has been compounded by the injury to Christian Watson, meaning Love didn't have his WR1 to throw to until potentially this game. The key to keeping Love on lock is to get pressure without sending a blitz, meaning that last week's defensive line performance will need to be repeated.
As for his receivers, with Watson missing through injury, former member of the Nevada Wolf Pack Romeo Doubs has been the Packers' WR1. He has caught 57.9% of his targets for 11.7 yards per reception, 2.2 yards after the catch per reception, 1.1 yards per route ran, an ADOT of 13.5 yards, a 42.9% contested catch success rate, nine first downs, one interception and three touchdowns; all for a 74.7 receiving grade. Fifth-round pick Dontayvion Wicks has been starting opposite Doubs in the place of Watson. He has caught 50% of his targets for 14.2 yards per reception (4.8 yards after the catch), 1.23 yards per route ran, an ADOT of 12.5 yards, a 33.% contested catch success rate, two forced missed tackles, four first downs, two penalties, one touchdown and a 65.1 receiving grade. In the slot, the former Spartan (and the player who gave this piece its title) Jayden Reed has caught exactly half of his targets for 16.4 yards per attempt (5.8 yards after the catch), an ADOT of 12.4 yards, 2.00 yards per route ran, an 18.2% drop rate, a 0% contested catch success rate, eight first downs, one penalty, two touchdowns and a 69.1 grade.
Aside from their wide receivers, the most productive Packer through the air has been rookie tight end Luke Musgrave. He has caught 73.3% of his targets for 11.3 yards per reception (4.9 yards after the catch), 1.39 yards per route run, an ADOT of 10.9 yards, a 100% contested catch success rate, one forced missed tackle, four first downs, a penalty, and a 62.1 grade. With Aaron Jones missing the past few games, AJ Dillon has been the leading receiver in the backfield. He has caught 75% of his targets for 8.3 yards per reception (9.3 yards after the catch), 0.54 yards per route ran, an ADOT of -0.5 yards, a 25% drop rate, one forced missed tackle, one first down and a 57.6 receiving grade.
If I were Aaron Glenn, the focus would be on the receiver who has not taken a snap thus far. Wherever possible, I would line Sutton up against Watson, leaving Jerry to face Doubs. While Doubs is three inches taller than Jacobs, they are the same weight and Doubs doesn't have the quick-twitch movement that has given him some issues so far this season, so hopefully this will be a bounceback game for the crowd favourite. Going back to Watson, given he is coming off an injury, he won't be at full fitness and so is less likely to burn us deep, meaning Sutton's physicality and technical prowess should be able to minimise any damage Watson could do to the scoreboard. As for Reed, Branch is more than capable of keeping him in check. Campbell and Anzalone should be able to keep Dillon and Musgrave in front of them as they did with Bijan and Allgeier last week, forcing Love to rely on his receivers after the catch.
Up front, both Bakhtiari and Jenkins have been injured and both have not logged a practice so far this week. Bakh has been the Packers' best pass-blocker with a 100% pass-blocking efficiency, not giving up a pressure on his thirty pass-blocking snaps for an 89.9 grade. He also has earned a 68.6 run-blocking grade. Conversely, Jenkins has been the worst pass-blocker according to PFF. On his forty pass-blocking snaps, he has a 98.7% efficiency, giving up a hurry for a 57.4 grade. He has earned a 62.5 run-blocking grade from PFF as well.
Rasheed Walker has been playing in the place of Bakh. He has a 78.5 pass-blocking grade with a 98.7% efficiency, giving up two hurries and two penalties. He also has a sub-par 58.7 run-blocking grade from PFF. At right tackle, former Demon Deacon Zach Tom has played every game, only missing eight snaps. He has been the Packers' best offensive lineman with a 70.2 run-blocking grade and a 79.7 pass-blocking grade. He has a 99.1% efficiency, giving up two hurries and one penalty.
Royce Newman has been playing in Jenkins' spot. He has earned himself a 52.0 run-blocking grade and a 61.3 pass-blocking grade. He has a 97.0 efficiency, conceding a penalty and four hurries. Beside him, former Buckeye Josh Myers (who, if you remember, the Pack took over Creed Humphrey...) has a 99.1 pass-blocking efficiency, giving up a hit and hurry for a 69.6 pass-blocking grade and a 47.5 run-block grade. At right guard, former Wolverine Jon Runyan has also given up a hit and a hurry for a 99.1 efficiency, also conceding a penalty for a 69.2 pass-block grade. He also has a 46.3 run-block grade.
All in all, the Packers' offensive tackles are good in pass blocking and passable in run blocking. The interior is good at pass blocking but sub-par at run blocking. Just like last week, this could be a good day for the interior of the defensive line as they face a weak opposition again. They should be able to get penetration in both the run and pass game. Our edges might be running a contain plan again as Love is a mobile QB (which we will get to in a second), so we might be able to use the pass focus of their tackles against them to hold Love in the pocket to be faced by the interior pressure.
Speaking of rushing, Love has carried the ball seven times. On these scrambles, he has averaged 5.3 yards per attempt (5.29 yards after contact), and has forced four missed tackles, got four first downs, fumbled twice and scored once; all for a 73.6 running grade. In his one game, Jones has toted the ball nine times or 4.6 yards a pop (2.67 yards after contact), has forced two missed tackles, gained three first downs, and found paydirt once for a 75.2 grade. The Packers' lead back has been Dillon, who has carried the ball thirty-nine times for 2.7 yards per attempt (2.38 after contact), forced three missed tackles, got five first downs, but has not scored; earning himself a 64.8 rushing grade. In the place of Jones, Patrick Taylor has been getting work, taking nine hand-offs for 3.2 yards a carry (3.0 after contact). He has also forced one missed tackle, earned one first down, and conceded one penalty, but also hasn't scored; for a 55.4 grade.
On traditional runs, the Packers are best running up the left-hand B-gap, gaining 4.9 yards per attempt up this gap. They are also good at running up the right C-gap, getting four yards a pop in this gap. They are weakest up the right A-gap (1.8 yards per attempt) and the left D-gap (1.1 yards per attempt). Dillon is best up the right-hand C-gap, getting seven yards on his one attempt up this gap, and weakest in the D-gap on this side with a 0.9-yard average on his runs up this gap. Overall, the Packers' run game does not scare me as the injuries to their offensive line and to Jones have made them lose a step, much like how our injuries to Monty and our offensive line have also made our offence lose a dimension it had in the first two games.
Taking the Packers offence as a whole, it does not scare me to be honest. It lost to a Falcons defence we just beat, it faced a Bears team that has less direction than a dizzy YouTuber doing a blindfolded penalty challenge, and it was scoreless through three quarters of football last week against the Saints. We should be able to hold their run game in check. Our secondary might get burned occasionally (especially if Christian Watson is back), but for the most part we should be able to keep things in front of us. The main problem will be mistakes. Last week, Tracy had two great chances for an interception but he dropped both. In a divisional game, we need to take hold of any slight advantage Green Bay offers us. Conversely, the Packers lead the league in yards gained from defensive pass interference penalties with 154, and the Lions defence has lost 64 yards from pass interference penalties, the fourth most in the league. We need to clean up the mistakes on defence and not give our opponents any free yards.
Green Bay run a 3-4 base defence, which they use on 28% of their defensive snaps, facing a run on 62% of these plays for 0.07 EPA per play for the offence. On 56% of their defensive snaps, they run a 2-4-5 nickel package, facing a pass on 71% of these plays for -0.18 EPA per play. The only other personnel set they use on more than 5% of their defensive snaps is a 3-3-5 nickel set on 9% of plays. In this set, they face a pass on 70% of play and give up 0.06 EPA/play. Overall, the Packers face a pass on 61% of their defensive snaps and concede -0.05 EPA per play.
The best run defender of the Packers' front seven is Preston Smith, who has posted a 78.2 run defence grade. He hasn't missed any of his six solo and three assisted tackles, making five run stops, or one on 9.8% of his run defence snaps, with an average depth of tackle of 1.0 yards. On the other side of the defence, with Rashan Gary only being deployed on passing downs, it has been Lukas "Hercules" Van Ness who has been playing run downs, earning a 61.4 grade. He also hasn't missed any of his three solo or one assisted tackles, making three run stops for a 12.0% run stop rate and an average depth of tackle of 1.7 yards.
On the inside of their linebacker corps, De'Vondre Campbell has posted a 74.9 run defence grade. Three of his twelve solo tackles have been run stops (5.2% run stop rate), and he has missed one of his sixteen tackle attempts (6.3% miss rate), posting twelve solo and three assisted tackles, with an average depth of 5.5 yards. At the other inside 'backer spot, Quay Walker has got a 60.9 grade in run defence. He has missed none of his ten solo tackles or his eleven assisted tackles and posted an 8.9% run stop rate by posting seven such tackles. His average depth of tackle is 4.2 yards.
Up front, nose tackle T.J. Slaton has been the best run defender with a 67.4 grade. He has missed one of his eight tackle attempts (12.5% miss rate), making four solo and three assisted tackles. He has also made four run stops (6.8% run stop rate) with an average depth of tackle of 1.3 yards. Beside him, Kenny Clark has made three solo and three assisted tackles, with (yep, you guessed it) three run stops (5.6% rate) with an average depth of 1.0 yards, for a 58.1 run defence grade. On the other side of the line, Devonte Wyatt has posted a 55.2 grade. He has missed none of his six tackle attempts, making four solo and two assisted tackles so far this season. He has also made four run stops (9.8% run stop rate), with an average depth of tackle of 2.3 yards.
Overall, the Packers are a decent run defence, who perhaps are only giving up so many yards on the ground because of the game state and who they've faced so far in the run-orientated Bears and Falcons. With Monty and Decker potentially coming back tomorrow, we should have a full complement of weapons and the full playbook available to attack the Pack with our varied run scheme, especially if we lead later in the game and move towards four-minute offence situations to run out the clock.
As for the pass rush, former Wolverine Rashan Gary has been their most productive guy. On his forty-five pass-rushing snaps, he has thirteen pressures (four sacks, one QB hit and eight hurries) with a 31.8% pass-rush win rate and an 82.9 grade. His bookend is Smith, who on his seventy-five pass-rushing snaps has six pressures (one QB hit and five hurries) on a 5.6% win rate for a 54.4 grade.
Up front, Clark has been the most productive guy. He has created twelve pressures (three sacks, two QB hits and seven hurries) with a 12.1% win rate on ninety-five snaps, along with one penalty; all for a 77.3 grade. Wyatt has a 67.8 grade on his 63 pass-rushing snaps this season. He has won on 10% of these snaps for ten pressures (two sacks and eight hurries). Slaton has a 64.8 grade from the nose tackle position, earned through an 8.2% win rate on fifty-five pass-rushing snaps. He has made four pressures (one QB hit and three hurries), one batted pass and one penalty.
As Ant quite rightly pointed out on yesterday's preview podcast (available on YouTube and wherever you get your podcasts), the Packers have finally got pieces around Clark to help him and it's bearing fruit this season. Now that you can't just double him out of the play, he is being more productive in the pass game. This, with the return of Gary from injury, makes this a formidable pass rush to face. If Decker isn't back, we might need to fall back on the quick pass game to keep pressure off Goff.
On the backend, the Packers' best cover player has been Rasul Douglas with an 82.3 coverage grade. He has allowed a 62.5% completion rate on sixteen targets, for 9.4 yards per reception (4.5 yards after the catch), an average depth of target of 7.4 yards, a 19% forced incompletion rate, two penalties, one interception and one touchdown. On the other side of the defence, Jaire Alexander has had a down season so far. He has allowed a 75% completion rate on eight targets, for 17.2 yards per reception (2.7 yards after the catch), an ADOT of 12.6 yards, a 25% forced incompletion rate, two dropped interceptions, a penalty, and one touchdown for a 64.3 grade. In the slot, special-teamer Keisean Nixon has a 67.8 coverage grade, allowing a 90.9% completion rate on eleven targets, 8.9 yards per reception (6.1 after the catch), an ADOT of 2.6 yards, a 9% forced incompletion rate, one dropped incompletion, and one touchdown.
Further back, Rudy Ford has been the better safety. He has posted a 65.0 grade on 126 coverage snaps. He has allowed a 27.3% completion rate on eleven targets for 10.0 yards per reception (5.7 yards after the catch), an ADOT of 13.7 yards, an 18% forced incompletion rate, two penalties and no touchdowns or interceptions. At free safety, Darnell Savage has a 61.8 coverage grade. He has allowed a 75.0% completion rate on eight targets, 8.8 yards per reception (2.2 after the catch), an ADOT of 6.8 yards, a 13% forced incompletion rate, and no touchdowns or interceptions.
In the inside linebacker room, Walker has allowed a 92.9% completion rate on fourteen targets, 8.9 yards per reception (7.8 after the catch), an ADOT of 2.2 yards, a 7% forced incompletion rate, one dropped interception, one caught interception and no touchdowns. This has gotten him an 80.7 coverage grade. The veteran Campbell has given up receptions on 75% of his four targets for 7.3 yards per reception (6.0 after the catch), an ADOT of 1.0 yards, no pass break-ups or forced incompletions, no touchdowns and a penalty for a 71.5 coverage grade.
Overall, we can use the short-to-intermediate game to alleviate pressure on Goff by getting it out quickly to the Sun God, Sam "the Butcher" LaPorta and Jah. However, if the deep shot opens up off play-action, we shouldn't be scared to try hitting it. We should also be able to run the ball, especially if we run away from Smith on the outside or towards Wyatt if going inside. However, our priority should first and foremost be keeping Green Bay's pass rush out and Goff clean to throw the ball. If we can't, then it might be a long ole night in Lambeau for us.
Rookie kicker Anders Carlson has earned a 72.0 field goal grade this season by going perfect on all his kicks, including one from over fifty yards. He also has a 72.4 kickoff grade, with his kicks averaging 3.93 seconds of hangtime and only 46.7% returned by the opposition.
Daniel Whelan has gotten a 69.6 punting grade, averaging 4.56 seconds of hangtime and three landing inside the opposition's twenty-yard line. Only 38.5% of his punts have been returned, with the opposition being equally as likely to fair-catch the punt than they are to return it.
Long-snapper Matt Orzech has a team-worst 36.2 special teams grade on his twenty-five snaps.
Reed has overtaken last year's special teams sensation Nixon as Green Bay's returner. On his one kick return, he has graded out at 61.2 compared to Nixon's 56.4 on five returns. Likewise, on his punt returns, he averages 11.6 yards for a 69.9 grade, compared to Nixon's 60.7.
Three Keys to Victory:
Keep Goff clean- This Green Bay pass rush is pretty fearsome. We need to keep Goff clean or we risk the game getting out of hand in the Packers' favour. Don't be afraid to use the quick-pass game, and/or keep backs and tight ends in as extra blockers if needed.
Stop the run- Despite how poor their rush attack has looked, this is still a run-orientated team in terms of scheme so stopping the run should make their offence one-dimensional, making things easier for our defence. Just look at how it worked last week.
Minimise mistakes on our side- The past few weeks, we have been shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties at key times. We need to clean this up so we don't give Green Bay free yardage.
Hot Take for the Game: The Packers fans are shot through the heart, and Jordan's to blame, as he gives Love a bad name by completing less than 50% of his passes and turning over the ball twice.
Prediction: With the uncertainty around the health of our offensive line, and with this being a game in the "Black and Blue" division, I see this game being a lot closer than any Lions fan probably wants. But with Detroit having the better QB, we just edge the win.
Green Bay Packers 24, Detroit Lions 27
How do you think the game will go? Will our Lions continue the winning streak against the Packers and take sole control of first place in the North, or will they drown in a sea of fondue? Who do you think will be the stat leaders, and what will the final score be?
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