With a load of injuries, the Packers will be tested defensively on Monday night.
The injury bug has hit the Green Bay Packers.
I feel like this is a statement made every year about the Packers. They get ravaged by injuries seemingly every season. This year is no exception. Both offense and defense are going to have to go without some key players tonight when the Atlanta Falcons come to town for Monday Night Football.
The offense is going to roll with four receivers, two of which started the season on the practice squad. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Malik Taylor will be joined by Darrius Shepherd and Reggie Begelton. Honestly, I’m still not that worried about the offense.
The Falcons have a horrendous defense that will be missing most of its secondary. I have enough faith in Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers to put up 30-plus points on this defense even without Davante Adams or Allen Lazard. Aaron Jones should feast tonight, and hopefully, Josiah Deguara coming back tonight will provide some more offense as well. Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger will also play a part in the game tonight.
What I’m more worried about is the defense. I understand that in neutral situations, the defense has actually been fine. But in garbage time, when teams tend to throw a lot more, they have given up a lot of yards and a lot of points. This Falcons offense is getting Julio Jones back and Calvin Ridley will also suit up tonight after he got banged up last week. This high-powered offense is getting healthier while the Packers defense seems to be trending in the opposite direction.
Kenny Clark is reportedly unlikely to play tonight. I understand why this makes sense because groin injuries can linger. Why not keep him out tonight and keep get a bye next week to get healthier?
Linebacker Christian Kirksey was placed on IR, so he’ll be out at least three games. Rashan Gary, arguably the Packers’ best pass rusher this year, will likely miss the game with a high-ankle sprain. Jaire Alexander will likely play tonight, but it is still a little concerning that he missed practice on Saturday.
The only hope the Falcons have to win this game tonight is to get into a shootout. Based on what’s available for the Packers on defense tonight, that might just happen. The Packers will need an All-Pro performance from Alexander tonight. The Smiths are also going to have to get home and cause some pressure on Matt Ryan tonight too, something neither of them has done exceptionally well this season.
I’m not saying the Packers are going to lose, but this seems like the perfect situation for them to pick up their first loss of the season. But then again, maybe it’s not a big deal if they do lose tonight. They could be playing conservatively to give everyone an extra week off before the bye so they will be healthy when they have to play 12 consecutive weeks coming up.
Either way, Mike Pettine and this Packers defense will surely be tested tonight.