Green Bay Packers

2 Packers Dreams and 1 Ravens Nightmare

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan (USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL feels like it’s hanging on by a thread lately with all the positive COVID tests ripping through rosters left and right. One game that won’t be too affected by COVID absences on Sunday is the contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium.

Green Bay can lock up the NFC North with a win, while Baltimore looks to hold down sole possession of the top spot in the AFC North.

Here are two Packers dreams and one Ravens nightmare entering Sunday afternoon’s affair.

Rodgers shreds a depleted Baltimore secondary without some of his weapons

While COVID hasn’t ripped through these rosters this week, injuries are a huge factor in this one. A dream scenario for the Packers revolves around Aaron Rodgers continuing to tear it up even without some of his better receiving options.

Randall Cobb is already out, and now Equanimeous St. Brown is listed as doubtful. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is questionable. It’s a less-than-ideal setup for the Packers, but Baltimore has been no stranger to dealing with the injuries.

The Ravens’ top two corners, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, are out for the year. Peters’ injury was suffered before the regular season, and Humphrey went down two weeks ago.

Even without some of his best receivers in the mix, Rodgers should be able to feast against a Ravens secondary lacking confidence in a major way. To help counter the lack of talent and bodies in their secondary last week against the Cleveland Browns, they reportedly were hoping for wind.

Rodgers should be able to pick apart the Ravens if the weather cooperates on Sunday. Who knows, maybe this is the week Amari Rodgers gets some run at wideout instead of being miserable on the punt return unit. Either way, this is setting up as a dream scenario for the other Rodgers.

Special teams look somewhat competent

The Green Bay special teams department has to be among the worst units in all of the NFL. It’s been unbearable in many facets for most of the year. Last week against the Bears was flat-out embarrassing.

Maurice Drayton’s unit had enough mistakes in one game alone to cover half a season. They won’t get away with it against better teams like Baltimore.

If the Packers want to remain one of the favorites to win the whole thing, special teams has to be better. It starts this week against Baltimore.

It’d be tremendous if there were no muffed punts. It’d be incredible if the kick-coverage team didn’t allow multiple returns across the 40-yard line. Those would be the areas to start for Drayton. Then they can keep their fingers crossed that Mason Crosby continues to make field goals and that Corey Bojorquez keeps hammering punts.

Head coach Matt LaFleur is sticking with Drayton for the rest of the year. He made it clear as day in his postgame presser after the Bears game on Sunday. Sure, it’s a bit admirable for the head coach to stick by his coordinator, but if things continue to go south, LaFleur deserves some of that blame.

For Green Bay, just keep it simple with special teams on Sunday. Make the easy plays, don’t turn fair-catch situations into an adventure, and start showing some level of football IQ.

Jackson plays and finds his groove

Lamar Jackson didn’t practice all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest. If he doesn’t play, second-year quarterback Tyler Huntley will fill in.

The nightmare scenario for the Packers is that Jackson is good to go for Sunday’s game and breaks out of his recent slump. It hasn’t been pretty for the Ravens on offense in over a month, but it feels like a matter of time before they start clicking again.

This year, Joe Barry’s defense has done a fabulous job against mobile quarterbacks when they squared off against Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes, and even Justin Fields (twice). Jackson’s mobility is from a different galaxy, though. The nightmare scenario is simple, and it’s Jackson being healthy enough to play and running wild against Green Bay’s defense.

Even if he does play, it’s far from a certainty that things go down that way. Barry’s defense has likely been preparing as if Jackson will play all week because Huntley brings a similar skillset to the table. If it’s not Jackson, it will still be a shifty quarterback who can get it done with his legs.

Hopefully, Green Bay can keep the Ravens’ offense as bottled up as they’ve been the past month.

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