Sunday Night Football: Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) at New England Patriots (6-2)
What to Watch For:
Sorry Rams/Saints, but if there’s one game that you choose to watch this, it should be Packers/Patriots. Two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step on the field will be stepping onto the same field for just the second time ever. Tom Brady, the most accomplished to ever do it; and Aaron Rodgers, the most physically gifted to ever do it. Ahh, I can’t wait!
The Packers have been a team full of question marks this year. They shipped S Ha-Ha Clinton Dix to Washington earlier this week in a confusing move, to say the least, for a contending team. A bad defense got worse. But the keys to victory for the Packers is to allow Rodgers to get the ball in his late in the game (yes, I’m talking to you Ty Montgomery!). The Patriots defense is suspect as well, so it should be a high-scoring affair and it’ll likely come down to who has the ball last.
The one thing the Patriots do have to their advantage is running back play. James White has been of the most surprising players in the league this season. He is 5th among running backs this season in fantasy scoring and has become the primary option for Brady. If Sony Michel can go, they can really control the clock with Michel on the ground and White catching the ball out of the backfield and moving the chains. The best defense for New England will be a good, methodical offense that keeps Aaron Rodgers off the field.
Prediction: Patriots win 31-30.
WR Josh Gordon
I think we’re finally going to see the Josh Gordon that everyone was expecting with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. The loss of Clinton Dix for the Packers will become evident early in this game, with Brady and Gordon connecting on a deep ball or two early on. Gordon is the “speed” guy in the Patriots’ offense and I expect a few chunk plays for him tonight, including a long touchdown.
RB Aaron Jones
Similar to the Patriots, I think it’s key for the Packers to play defense by having a good offense tonight. Keeping Tom Brady off the field has to be the priority, and the best way to do that is a solid running game. I believe Jones is going to have a good night strictly due to volume. They’re going to feed him the ball often early in the game; it doesn’t hurt that New England is 19th in the NFL allowing 4.4 yards per carry, and 18.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
WR Randall Cobb
Cobb has slowly been pushed aside in this offense. The emergence of both Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have made Cobb a 3rd/4th option at best in the passing game. He has not had more than 40 yards receiving since Week 1. Granted, part of that is because he missed a few games, but the injury has likely cost him a permanent role in the offense. Davante Adams is the clear #1 targets, and Aaron Jones is key to a Packers victory. That will leave Cobb out of fantasy relevance this week.
WR Julian Edelman
Edelman will be a decent play tonight, only in full-point PPR leagues. Outside of that, it’ll worth it to play someone else. This is going to be a running back-heavy and over the top passing style game for the Patriots. Neither benefits Edelman. Josh Gordon will do damage on the outsides and Rob Gronkowski will do the damage up the seams. The lack of secondary threats for Green Bay will provide more benefits for those two players. Edelman will still get his 6 to 8 catches underneath on broken plays, but don’t expect much yardage or a score.