Bucky Brooks
Wednesday November 21st, 2007

MORE GAME PLANS: Jets-Cowboys | Colts-Falcons

Packers' Game Plan

Let the rhythm hit 'em. The Lions' two-deep coverage will limit the Packers' big-play opportunities, but concede short and intermediate throws. Look for Brett Favre to patiently pick apart Detroit's soft zone coverage with a variety of quick rhythm throws (slants, option routes and short crossers) before taking several deep shots down the field to Donald Driver or Greg Jennings.

Pressure off the edges. Aaron Kampman and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila have combined for 17 sacks and should be in line for another big day against a Lions' offensive line that has surrendered a league-leading 43 sacks.

Lions' Game Plan

Spread 'em out. The Packers' top two corners (Al Harris and Charles Woodson) may be the best in the business, but their dime package lacks the depth to match up with the Lions' four-receiver sets. Look for the Lions to spread the field and work the ball to Shaun McDonald or Mike Furrey in the slot.

Limit the YAC. The Packers' passing game excels because of their receivers' ability to pick up yardage after the catch. The Lions must limit the YAC by swarming to the ball and making solid tackles in space.

Jets' Game Plan

Throw deep off play-action. With Thomas Jones coming off a big performance against the Steelers, the Cowboys will be inclined to drop one of their hard-hitting safeties (Roy Williams or Ken Hamlin) on early downs to limit Jones' effectiveness. Look for the Jets to take advantage of the pair's aggressiveness by taking several deep shots to Jerricho Cotchery off play-action.

Bring pressure. The Jets were able to record seven sacks against the Steelers last week by using more five- and six-man zone blitzes. After watching his defense put together their most impressive performance of the season with the high pressure strategy, expect Eric Mangini to bring more pressures against the Cowboys.

Cowboys' Game Plan

Pound 'em. Though the Jets are coming off a solid defensive performance, their rush defense has struggled stopping the run for most of the season. Expect the Cowboys to test New York by pounding Marion Barber III and Julius Jones between the tackles.

Blitz, Blitz, Blitz. The Cowboys' blitz-happy defense is anchored by the dynamic pass-rushing tandem of DeMarcus Ware (9.5 sacks) and Greg Ellis (6.5). Expect Wade Phillips to unleash the duo off the edges on an assortment of blitzes to take advantage of the Jets' suspect play at offensive tackle.

Colts' Game Plan

Attack off play-action. The effective running of Joseph Addai will force the Falcons to commit an extra defender to the box which will create some big-play opportunities for the receivers. Look for Peyton Manning to exploit Atlanta's single coverage by taking more downfield shots off play-action.

Stuff Warrick Dunn. The Colts' run defense will attempt to make the Falcons one-dimensional by using eight-man fronts on early downs to clog Warrick Dunn's cutback lanes. Expect Bob Sanders to spend most of his time in the box as the Colts dare Bryon Leftwich or Joey Harrington to beat them with the pass.

Falcons' Game Plan

Handle the pressure. Though the Colts rely solely on their front four to generate pressure, the Falcons must find a way to deal with their pass rush with several young players starting along the offensive line. Look for the Falcons to use more three- and five-step drops to protect their young offensive tackles (Quinn Ojinnaka and Renardo Foster) and give Joey Harrington time to throw from the pocket.

Bring pressure off the edges. The Colts are dealing with their own injury issues along the line and are facing the prospect of starting a back up tackle opposite John Abraham. If that scenario plays out, look for Michael Boley or DeMorrio Williams to piggy-back off Abraham on outside rushes.

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