San Diego Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers: Full Green Bay Game Preview

Dan Servodidio@@dan_servodidioFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2015

San Diego Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers: Full Green Bay Game Preview

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    Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers stay home this week to take on the San Diego Chargers in a nonconference Week 6 matchup at Lambeau Field Sunday.

    Green Bay (5-0) is coming off a 24-10 home victory over the St. Louis Rams—stretching their perfect start to the season as one of six still undefeated NFL teams.

    The Chargers (2-3), on the other hand, have a short week after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-20, on Monday night. 

    In the head-to-head series, the Packers have the advantage at 9-1 all-time including wins in the last six meetings. You'd have to go all the way back to 1984 for the Chargers' last victory over Green Bay.

    This is the second time head coach Mike McCarthy has led the Packers to a 5-0 start—and the first since 2011 when his team began 13-0. The Week 5 win also stretched Green Bay's home winning streak to an active league-leading 12 at Lambeau. 

    Packers fans, here's everything you need to know ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Chargers. 

    Viewing Info

    Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

    Date: Sunday, October 18

    Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

    TV: CBS

Week 5 Results and Recap

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    NFC North Standings

    TeamWLTPCTPFPAStreak
    Green Bay Packers5001.00013781W5
    Minnesota Vikings220.5008073L1
    Chicago Bears230.40086142W2
    Detroit Lions050.00083138L5

    The Packers continue to dominate at home. They defeated the visiting St. Louis Rams in Week 5 with a 24-10 victory at Lambeau to move to 5-0 on the year and stretch their active NFL-best winning streak at home to 12 games in the process.

    Aaron Rodgers' up-and-down day was overshadowed by a shutdown performance from Green Bay's defense. 

    The unit's relentless pressure on opposing quarterback Nick Foles resulted in four interceptions and three sacks. Rookie Quinten Rollins had two picks, including one that went for a touchdown. 

    Although the Rams' Todd Gurley ran wild for 159 rushing yards, it was to no avail—the rookie tailback failed to get in the end zone, and his biggest run of the day of 55 yards came on a drive that ended in a red-zone pick.

    Rodgers may have finished with two touchdowns and 241 passing yards in the contest, but you can bet he'd like to have a couple of throws back.

    He had NFL-record streaks of 587 pass attempts and 49 touchdowns thrown at home without an interception end in the first quarter when a tipped pass got picked off by linebacker James Laurinaitis. Rodgers then threw another interception in the second and lost a fumble in the third. 

    Regardless, Rodgers was at his best when he needed to be—leading scoring drives in the beginning of the first and third quarters. He tossed his first touchdown pass to a wide-open Ty Montgomery on the Packers' first possession and then connected for a score yet again with James Jones, who's quickly become the quarterback's favorite target.

    Green Bay's 14-0 lead after one quarter proved to be enough to win the game. Its 10-0 shutout in the second half was just insurance. 

News and Notes

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Packers Add Justin Perillo to Active Roster

    After moving safety Sean Richardson to the injured reserve Wednesday, Green Bay announced the signing of tight end Justin Perillo from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. 

    Perillo, a second-year player out of Maine, spent most of last season on the practice squad but appeared in two games late in the year after being called up. He'll slot in as the third-string tight end behind Richard Rodgers and Kennard Backman for now with Andrew Quarless on the IR. 

    Perillo's addition to the team also rules out the rumor the Packers were looking to trade for 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter on NFL Insiders

    For More on Richardson's injury, read the next slide.  

    Rodgers Can Make History—Again

    We all know the NFL records Aaron Rodgers recently held for the most pass attempts and touchdown passes at home without a pick, but he has a chance to make league history yet again Sunday. 

    Rodgers can pass legend Johnny Unitas as the fastest quarterback ever to reach 30,000 passing yards. Rodgers is currently at 29,814 yards through 3,628 pass attempts, while Unitas needed 3,695 attempts to reach the plateau, according to Randall Liu, the NFL's director of NFC football communications. 

    For you mathematicians out there, Rodgers needs 186 passing yards in 67 attempts to break Unitas' mark. Considering he's averaging 247.2 yards on 30.6 attempts per game this season, we could see some history this week at Lambeau.

    Packers to Don Throwback Jerseys 

    On Sunday, Green Bay will debut its new throwback uniforms for the first time against the Chargers. 

    The jerseys, which can be seen below, feature a dark blue body and yellow yoke with blue socks and lettering, yellow numbers and helmets and tan pants. The Packers revealed the look they're calling the "classic" versions in July at the team's shareholders' meeting.

    Here they are! The #Packers will wear these historic third jerseys on Oct. 18 vs. the Chargers. https://t.co/MdxKsIgUFd

    — Green Bay Packers (@packers) July 28, 2015

    The uniforms are based on the team's 1937-49 versions and a similar throwback it wore in 1994.  

    What do Packers fans think of the new look?

Latest Injury News

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
    PlayerPositionInjuryStatus
    Davante AdamsWRAnkleLP
    Bryan BulagaOTKneeFP
    Morgan BurnettSCalfLP
    Randall CobbWRShoulderFP
    Demetri GoodsonCBHamstringLP
    LaDarius GunterCBHeelFP
    James JonesWRHamstringLP
    T.J. LangOGKneeLP
    Nick PerryLBShoulder/HandDNP
    B.J. RajiDTGroinDNP
    Jake RyanLBHamstringLP

    Last week, the Packers got one of their starters back in right tackle Bryan Bulaga. This time around, the team could have wide receiver Davante Adams and strong safety Morgan Burnett available to play against the Chargers. 

    Adams returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he reinjured his ankle on Sept. 28 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Here's more on Adams from Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Adams went through individual drills with a heavy dose of tape on his left ankle and appeared to move fairly well during the portion of practice open to the media. He did not go through a seven-on-seven pass skeleton."

    Burnett, who's played in just one game this season with a calf strain, also returned to practice Wednesday.

    Green Bay fans shouldn't be too worried about starting offensive guard T.J. Lang, who had his leg rolled up on in the Week 5 win against the Rams and was forced to leave the game. Lang wore a brace on his right knee and showed no signs of discomfort in Wednesday's practice, according to Cohen. 

    An MRI Monday showed only minor damage to Lang's MCL, according to Jason Wilde of ESPN.com

    Both nose tackle B.J. Raji and linebacker Nick Perry were held out of practice—but neither injury seems too serious.

    "With these injuries, I was told a couple days could be a big difference," Raji told Wilde. "I just don’t know at this point."

    The big news this week, though, comes in the form of a player who will be out for a while. 

    Safety Sean Richardson went on injured reserve Wednesday with a second herniated disk in his neck. The fourth-year player will be sidelined for the rest of the year—and potentially longer—as he tries to recover from a career-threatening injury. 

    In his stead, the Packers may look to add a safety to the roster. ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky reports the team worked out Tim Scott on Tuesday as a possible replacement. Scott went undrafted this year out of North Carolina and recently spent time on the Dallas Cowboy's practice squad. 

    Note: Official injury report courtesy of Packers.com.

    DNP = Did not participate in Wednesday's practice; LP = Limited participation; FP = Full participation

Top Matchups

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Packers Defensive Backs vs. Chargers TE Antonio Gates

    Antonio Gates returned to the Chargers last week from a four-game suspension—and, boy, did one of the best tight ends in league history contribute right away.

    Quarterback Philip Rivers found Gates for team highs in catches (nine), targets (11), receiving yards (92) and touchdowns (two) Monday night. Those numbers came despite Gates playing on just 56.6 percent of offensive snaps, per Adam Levitan of The Daily Fantasy Football Edge podcast.

    It's clear who Rivers' favorite receiver is, and the Packers defensive backs will be tasked with stopping the connection. 

    In the early goings of this season, Green Bay has faced a number of top tight ends in the Bears' Martellus Bennett, the Seahawks' Jimmy Graham and the Chiefs' Travis Kelce—but Gates is a different animal when Rivers treats him as the No. 1 target. 

    The Packers might luck out if they get safety Morgan Burnett back healthy on Sunday. If they don't, though, the tight end coverage duties will likely fall on a combination of safeties Micah Hyde and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

    It'll be interesting to see which side has the advantage—a defensive back unit that racked up four interceptions a week ago or the fifth-most prolific scoring duo in NFL history.

    Packers WR Randall Cobb vs. Chargers CB Jason Verrett

    In its Monday night loss to the Steelers, San Diego tasked its best corner with shadowing one of the league's best wide receivers. 

    Jason Verrett covered Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown one-on-one all game and limited him to just three receptions on six targets for 45 yards and no scores. 

    We could see a similar approach this week with Verrett going man-to-man with Randall Cobb for the majority of the game. 

    Although Aaron Rodgers has taken a recent liking to James Jones in the passing game, Cobb is still the No. 1 receiver in the Packers offense. San Diego can't afford to allow that connection to get going. 

    With Green Bay moving Cobb around the field—out wide, in the slot and out of the backfield—don't be surprised if Verrett covers the speedy receiver. 

X-Factor

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Packers X-Factor of the Week: WR James Jones

    No one expected the season James Jones is having. But with Aaron Rodgers throwing him passes, we shouldn't be too surprised at the natural connection between quarterback and receiver. 

    Jones caught another touchdown pass in Week 5—his team-leading fifth in the first five games—and a matchup with San Diego Sunday sets up as a big day for the veteran wideout. 

    As we covered in the last slide, the Chargers have a clear-cut No. 1 cornerback in Jason Verrett, whom they use to play one-on-one against opposing team's top receivers. 

    The Packers should expect Verrett to shadow Randall Cobb for most of the game, which would leave Jones to be covered by San Diego's other corner, Brandon Flowers. 

    Now, Flowers is no slouch in his eighth year, but he did have a rough go of it in a loss to the Steelers last week. He covered Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton in the contest—with Verrett on Antonio Brown—and let up some big plays late. 

    When Steelers quarterback Michael Vick started targeting Flowers, it paid off. Wheaton burned him for a 72-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter, and then Heyward-Bey caught two big passes on Flowers in the game-winning drive.

    Rodgers is a smart enough passer to know when to pick his battles—and Jones vs. Flowers is one he could target quite frequently, especially in the red zone. 

Prediction: Packers 30, Chargers 20

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Aaron Rodgers turned the ball over three times last week—yet the Packers still beat the Rams handily. 

    It seems if any one player or unit on this team has an off-day, the others pick up the slack. In Week 5, the Green Bay defense turned in a performance that would win a game with any struggling offense—let alone a Rodgers-led one.

    On Sunday, the defense will face the ultimate test. The Chargers offense ranks third in total yards per game (410.0) and 16th in points per game (23.4) yet has had some trouble protecting the ball thus far. 

    San Diego's 10 giveaways are tied for third-worst in the league, as Philip Rivers has tossed five picks. 

    This is where the Packers could turn the game in their favor on defense. The unit, coming off a four-pick day a week ago, has forced nine turnovers in five games, including eight interceptions. The defensive backs have turned into ball hawks across the board against opposing quarterbacks. 

    On the other hand, though, Rivers has his old toy available for the second straight game in Antonio Gates. The pair combined for nine receptions for 92 yards and two scores last week and is sure to be on the same page this time around. 

    We'll see which team has the upper hand come Sunday, but it should be an exciting one as a matchup of two of the league's best offenses. 

    Prediction: Packers 30, Chargers 20