Game Scout: Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) At New York Jets (4-10)
SERIES HISTORY: 13th regular-season meeting. Jets lead series, 8-4, though the Packers rallied from a 21-3 deficit and won the last meeting, 31-24, in Week 2 of the 2014 season. The Jets also took a 9-0 home loss on Oct. 31, 2010. Before the two losses, the Jets had won eight of nine meetings, including Dec. 29, 2002 when they clinched their most recent AFC East title with a 42-17 blowout win.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Forget about balance. With Aaron Jones' season-ending knee injury, the Packers backfield is down to Jamaal Williams and Kapri Bibbs, who was added to the roster on Monday. So, expect the Packers to come out throwing the ball so Williams doesn't drop dead from exhaustion. Star receiver Davante Adams has 100 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns, giving him a chance to break franchise records for receptions and yards. The Packers will want to get him the ball. Otherwise, it might mean more playing time for rookie receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown and some meaningful snaps for receivers J'Mon Moore and Jake Kumerow and tight end Robert Tonyan.
The Jets are in much the same boat as Green Bay from an offensive perspective. With their backfield hammered by injuries, expect rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to come out throwing against Green Bay's secondary. The formula against any rookie quarterback is universal: try to confuse him and unleash the hounds on third down. Despite a huge injury report, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has done a good job keeping down the score. What the Packers have lacked all season are turnovers. The only takeaway in Sunday's loss to Chicago was an unforced fumble. So, look for Pettine to come out in attack mode in hopes of getting turnovers to tip the game in Green Bay's favor.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
GREEN BAY PACKERS
--OUT: DT Kenny Clark (elbow), CB Will Redmond (shoulder)
--DOUBTFUL: WR Randall Cobb (concussion), T Jason Spriggs (concussion)
--QUESTIONABLE: WR Jake Kumerow (hand)
NEW YORK JETS
--OUT: WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle)
--DOUBTFUL: LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder)
--QUESTIONABLE: LB Jordan Jenkins (ankle), CB Darryl Roberts (toe)
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Packers WR Davante Adams vs. Jets CBs Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne. Adams is having a marvelous season with 100 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's really been the only reliable playmaker for Green Bay all season. Houston's DeAndre Hopkins had a huge game against the Jets, catching 10 passes on 11 targets for 170 yards. He had equal success against both of the Jets' corners. With RB Aaron Jones going on injured reserve, Adams might be Plan A, B and C for a sputtering offense. He'll need a big game for the Packers to have much success on offense.
--Jets LB Jordan Jenkins and DT Henry Anderson vs. Packers OL. Jenkins is among the more consistent Jets with 14 quarterback hits, seven sacks and six tackles for loss. He also has recovered a pair of fumbles. Anderson has been steady of late but is coming off a career-high three-sack game.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Packers RB Jamaal Williams. It's Williams' turn, again, in the backfield. Aaron Jones, who leads the team with 728 rushing yards and leads the NFL with 5.5 yards per carry, suffered an MCL sprain during the first quarter of Sunday's loss at Chicago and was placed on injured reserve. It's a big step back to Williams from a production standpoint, with Williams averaging only 3.7 yards per carry. He played well against the Bears, though, with 55 rushing yards (4.6 average) and a 10-yard touchdown and four receptions for 42 yards.
FAST FACTS: PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS has 4 pass TDs vs. 0 INTs for 98.2 rating in his past 2 vs. AFC East. In his past 5 vs. AFC, has 1,278 pass yards (255.6 per game) with 10 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 96.3 rating. ... RB JAMAAL WILLIAMS had 97 scrimmage yards (55 rush, 42 rec.) & rush TD last week. ... WR DAVANTE ADAMS led team with 8 catches for 119 yards last week. Ties for 4th in NFL with 100 catches & ranks 4th with 1,315 rec. yards this season, his 1st-career season with 100+ receptions & 1,000+ yards. Since 2016, ties for NFL lead with 34 TD catches. ... LB CLAY MATTHEWS had sack & FF last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with sack. ... LB BLAKE MARTINEZ has 10+ tackles in 3 of his past 4. Ranks 3rd in NFL with 122 tackles, his 2nd-consecutive season with 100+ tackles. ... CB JAIRE ALEXANDER is 1 of 3 rookie CBs with 60+ tackles (60). ... JETS QB SAM DARNOLD completed 24 of 38 (63.2 pct.) for 253 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 100 rating last week. Ranks 2nd among rookie QBs in pass yards (2,357) & pass TDs (14). ... RB ELIJAH McGUIRE had 71 scrimmage yards & rush TD last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with 70+ scrimmage yards & rush TD. ... WR ROBBY ANDERSON had 7 catches for 96 yards & TD last week. Aims for his 3rd game in row with rec. TD. ... WR ANDRE ROBERTS had TD catch last week, his 1st rec. TD with NYJ. Leads NFL in kick return yards (912) & ranks 2nd in punt return yards (312). ... TE CHRISTOPHER HERNDON ranks 1st among rookie TEs in catches (32) & 2nd in rec. yards (412). ... DL HENRY ANDERSON had career-high 3 sacks last week, his 1st-career multi-sack game. Has career-high 6 sacks in 2018. ... S JAMAL ADAMS had sack last week. Has 2 sacks, FF & FR in his past 3. ... CB TRUMAINE JOHNSON has 3 INTs & 3 PD in his past 3. ... LB JORDAN JENKINS had sack last week. Has sack in 2 of his past 3.
PREDICTION: The Jets are seeing significant progress from QB Sam Darnold, who nearly has two game-winning drives to his credit in the last two weeks. New York's pass rush was effective in getting six sacks and could be poised for a similar showing against a team that has yet to win a road game.
OUR PICK: Jets, 24-21