Five Packers to watch vs. Chargers in Week 9 matchup

Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 14: Preston Smith #91 of the Green Bay Packers reacts to a sack during the second half against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

2. Preston Smith

Tackle Russell Okung returned to the lineup for the Chargers this past week in Chicago. Although he was on a pitch count, Rivers and the rest of the offense had to have been happy to see him back on the field.

After facing all-world Khalil Mack, Okung’s task doesn’t get much easier. The Packers bring two Smiths who can get after the quarterback with the best of them. After Za’Darius took over the team lead in sacks with two against KC last Sunday, I expect Preston to re-take the lead with a solid showing against LA.

The Packers will have an unexpected advantage as Richard Ryman of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported 70 percent of the stadium is expected to be filled with Packers fans. If the Chargers have to go to a silent count in their own home stadium, it will work in the defense’s favor. The pass rush will have a half-second advantage and for a team looking to get rid of the ball quick, that half-second could be a huge detriment.

Philip Rivers has never been known for his mobility, and the combination of the Smiths and crowd noise should be enough for a big day in the sack department.