The Green Bay Packers look to continue their winning ways against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Lambeau this week.
After a disappointing 2-3 start, the Packers have rallied to win their last two games in impressive fashion. With things finally seeming to click for the Green Bay offense, the Packers are once again an elite team in the NFC.
The Jaguars come into this game with a 1-5 record after a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders on the road last week.
With three losses by 17 points or more already this season, the Jaguars need to at least keep this one close for a moral victory. Here's a look at everything you need to know about this Week 8 matchup.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
When: Sunday, October 28, 1:00 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS (Check Local Listings)
Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Over/Under: 45.5 (according to Bovada)
Oddsmakers did a good job in setting the over/under here. The Packers' last four games have been well over the 45.5 mark, but the Jaguars have only surpassed the mark twice all season. The Packers are known for their high-octane offense, but the assumption here is that the Jaguars will be able to score with them for a while.
The Packers will score plenty of points, as usual, but don't rely on Jacksonville's offense to get this game over the mark. The under looks like a sneaky good play here.
Spread: Green Bay -15
This is the biggest spread of the entire week, as the Packers come in as huge favorites.
The Packers are on a hot streak after a questionable start to the season. The Packers followed up a shocking 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts with a 42-24 shellacking of the then-undefeated Houston Texans on national television.
The Packers then proceeded to beat the Rams 30-20 last week. Rodgers and the offense were explosive again. The Packers should easily dominate against a floundering Jaguars team, and Vegas has set the line accordingly.
Expect the Packers to live up to the billing and cover.
Key Injuries (via CBS Sports)
|10/25/12||CB||Derek Cox||Back||Limited practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||QB||Blaine Gabbert||Left shoulder||Full practice. Probable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||RB||Greg Jones||Hip||Limited practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||RB||Maurice Jones-Drew||Foot||Did not practice. Out for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||S||Dwight Lowery||Ankle||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||CB||Rashean Mathis||Groin||Limited practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||RB||Montell Owens||Shoulder||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
|10/25/12||WR||Laurent Robinson||Concussion||Limited practice. Questionable for Week 8 at Green Bay|
Green Bay Packers
|10/25/12||WR||Donald Driver||Neck||Full practice. Probable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||TE||Jermichael Finley||Shoulder||Limited practice. Probable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||WR||Greg Jennings||Groin||Held out of practice. Out for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||RB||John Kuhn||Hamstring||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||WR||Jordy Nelson||Hamstring||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||LB||Nick Perry||Knee||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||DT||B.J. Raji||Ankle||Limited practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||QB||Aaron Rodgers||Calf||Full practice. Probable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||CB||Sam Shields||Ankle||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||RB||James Starks||Illness||Did not practice. Questionable for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
|10/25/12||S||Charles Woodson||Collarbone||Held out of practice. Out for Week 8 vs. Jacksonville|
Fantasy Big Plays
This is a bit obvious, but if you have Rodgers on your bench this week you deserve to lose.
Rodgers has been outstanding the last few weeks and really seems to be finding his groove. When Rodgers gets in a rhythm, there are few quarterbacks in the league that can compare—and fantasy owners reap the rewards.
Rodgers is masterful in the short passing game and, according to ESPN Stats and Info, is the most adept at picking apart defenses in the short game without throwing interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers is the only QB with 100 attempts within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage without an INT. #surgeon— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 24, 2012
If you have Randall Cobb on your roster, it would be a wise decision to plug him into your lineup this week.
The versatile playmaker has been a favorite target of Rodgers all year, and this week should be no different. With Greg Jennings out, Jordy Nelson questionable and Jermichael Finley dinged up with a shoulder injury, Cobb is the Packers' most healthy option at receiver.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Rodgers' accuracy when throwing to Cobb is higher than any quarterback-receiver tandem in the league this season.
Aaron Rodgers has completed 86% of his passes to Randall Cobb (37-43) - the best comp% by any QB-WR duo with 30 attempts.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 25, 2012
With that kind of reliability, Cobb is a must-start option this week.
The Jaguars were dealt a huge blow last week when Maurice Jones-Drew went down with a foot injury. The injury is obviously horrible news for Jaguars fans and MJD owners, but Jennings is the now the biggest name on the waiver wire this week.
Jennings was a popular pickup at the beginning of the season when Jones-Drew was holding out. However, he disappointed fantasy owners with a dismal three points in Week 1 before Jones-Drew took back the starting job.
Last week, Jennings showed that he can be a viable option for fantasy owners. He scored a touchdown to go with 44 yards on the ground. Against a Green Bay defense that ranks 17th in run defense, Jennings should have respectable numbers this week.
Keys to a Jacksonville Win
The odds are truly stacked against the Jaguars this week. Facing one of the hottest offenses in the NFL is no easy task, but to do it on the road without their best player is nearly impossible.
However, the NFL has been unpredictable all season, so a Jaguars win here isn't completely out of the question.
The first thing they'll need is a huge performance from Jennings. MJD would have given Jacksonville a chance in this one simply because he's a talented runner that the Jaguars could have used to play keep-away from Rodgers. Jennings has to find a way to give the Jaguars what they are missing from Jones-Drew.
On defense, the Jaguars have to find ways to pressure Aaron Rodgers. If they sit back and play conservative defense, Rodgers will have a field day. Jacksonville's pass rush has been non-existent all season. That can't be the case on Sunday.
Keys to a Green Bay Win
Really, the Packers just have to show up and do what they've been doing the past two weeks.
As long as Rodgers gets established early in the game and gives the Packers the early lead, they should win this one with ease. The Packers need to open the game with two scoring drives and put Jacksonville down early.
If they can force the Jaguars to rely on Blaine Gabbert's passing to keep them in the game, the Packers will be right where they want to be.
Few teams are playing at the level the Packers are at right now. In the last two weeks they have reminded fans of the team that was the league's most vaunted regular-season team in 2011.
When Rodgers is playing like he is right now, the Packers are nearly unstoppable. The Rams and Texans both have quality defenses and he picked both apart. The Jaguars don't have nearly as much talent as either of those teams.
Expect the Packers to roll once again.
Packers 31, Jaguars 10