Two teams that don’t see each other very often will do battle Sunday down in Florida, as the Packers, one of the NFC’s biggest contenders in 2016, will take on the AFC South’s Jaguars, a team that is hoping to turn the corner in 2016.
The Packers made it to the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs a season ago before losing a tough game to the Cardinals in overtime, but feel with a healthy core on their side in 2016 they will be right back at the top of the NFC North and ready for battle.
As for Jacksonville, they have a solid young core on offense with Blake Bortles at quarterback and Allen Robinson and Alan Hurns at the wide out spot.
Here’s some keys for these two teams as they get set for battle in Jacksonville, where weather is always a factor early in the season for teams.
1. Get Jordy Going Early
Receiver Jordy Nelson was gone for the season after tearing an ACL in a preseason game in Pittsburgh last August, and the offense of the Pack suffered. The team is hoping his return will spark the offense, as last season they ranked 15th in scoring after ranking 1st in that department in 2014. Nelson is a huge asset to the team, he had 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns two years ago, and he and Aaron Rodgers are clearly the 1-2 punch of the offense. A place like Royal Vegas casino can see the Packers will have a much different look with Nelson. Look for the Pack to try to get Nelson involved early and often Sunday, and to for the offense to look more like 2014 in the process. Play new casino games every month at Royal Vegas and you might win enough money to go see Nelson play in person!
2. A Defense Getting Better Must Pressure Bortles
Many feel that 2016 will be the season the Packers defense turns the corner, as coach Mike McCarthy feels that the unit will round out into form as the season goes along. “I think our understanding on defense is higher this year than it’s been the past two years,” McCarthy said Thursday. “We’ve been relatively young throughout our defense, and now you’re seeing the maturity of these guys.” Green Bay has spent picks and money on those young defensive players the last few years, and now it’s time with the team poised at a playoff and possible Super Bowl run for them to step up.
1. Avoid Early Mistakes
The Jaguars must avoid those early mistakes like doubling down at Royal Vegas casino and making sure to stay within themselves if they want to challenge the Packers in this contest. Even an early turnover or points by the Packers can get the young Jags out of wack, and that’s something that coach Gus Bradley can’t allow. The Jags have stressed being mistake free all summer, and against a good Packers team, they can’t allow themselves to panic early in the game if things don’t go their way.
2. Make Plays with a Young Defense
There’s plenty of young blood on that Jaguars defense, a unit this offseason that added defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Prince Amukamara. All in all, they spent $220 million on a defense that has to find a way to pressure Rodgers, but also stay with wide outs like Reggie Cobb and the returning Jordy Nelson. The Jagaurs front line is going to try to pressure from the inside on ARod, and make him scramble, which is when it’s up to the secondary to keep an eye on those Packers wide outs and not let them get loose.
Prediction – This game is not as easy as it looks. The Packers are a team that again should challenge in the NFC for a title, but at the same time, they are a club that can be had by an up and coming Jags team. The weather early in the game could be a factor, and if the Jags get off to a fast start, it could be a long day for Rodgers and company. Through all that, I think the Packers offense starts to show the form of 2014 again, and look for Rodgers to overcome the new look Jags D and get a big opening day win in what could be a shootout. Green Bay 27 Jacksonville 21