The Patriots could be playing in the snow on Sunday. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
It's a known fact that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is suffering from his second concussion of the season and could possibly miss Sunday night's game with the Patriots. However, the coaching staff from the Packers have been mum about if they're going to hold Rodgers out of the game, or if he can start. Rodgers is a great player and he'll start if he can, but he may not receive clearance. If Rodgers cannot start, that leaves the Packers with back-up Matt Flynn at the helm.
Recently, Packers Coach Mike McCarthy let some information slip:
McCarthy did not comment on the status of Aaron Rodgers, who is recovering from a concussion, but when asked by host Phil Dawson how Flynn's practice week has gone, he said:
"He’s had a good week of practice, and this is always a big hurdle for a quarterback when he gets his first start. This is something he’ll really benefit from. He’s actually put together two good days of practice. I’m impressed with the way he has thrown the ball."
Whoops. It looks like the Packers have basically resigned to the fact that Flynn will be the starting quarterback on Sunday night.
Let's take a look at how the Patriots should adjust to this news after the jump!
When Flynn went in against the Lions last week, the Packers continued to throw the ball, so I don't believe that the Packers are going to run the ball as much as any other team would with a new quarterback. So how should the Patriots counter the Packers? I think the Patriots should challenge the Packers to keep throwing the ball.
Proposed Patriots Defense
LDE: Eric Moore - Moore was the guy who squashed the run and managed to generate a load of pressure on Cutler on Sunday. I expect him to see extended time as the Patriots look to play their sub defense against the Packers for most of the evening.
NT: Vince Wilfork - I was thinking of moving Wilfork to end, but Wilfork should play the nose and collapse the pocket. Last week, against Cutler, Wilfork didn't collapse the pocket in order to prevent Cutler from scrambling. I would assume he would have done the same against Rodgers, who can also run. However, against Flynn, I feel like Wilfork will have more reign to rush the quarterback.
DT: Kyle Love - In the sub package, I believe that rookie Love will get the nod to play next to Wilfork to help apply pressure on Flynn. Love has shown that he has a high motor and could see a lot of time on the field.
RDE: Jermaine Cunningham - Cunningham should apply pressure on Flynn all night. Despite the fact that some outlets weren't impressed by his performance against the Bears, Cunningham forces turnovers and sacks on a weekly basis and should do it again on Sunday night.
WILB: Jerod Mayo - No real need for explanation. He's a monster and should prevent any scrambling up the middle.
SILB: Gary Guyton - Since Jermichael Finley's season ending injury, the Packers have stopped consistently targeting their tight ends. However, rookie TE Andrew Quarless has had a couple big games and could be utilized as an option across the middle. Guyton should stick Quarless for most of the game and should also be asked to generate pressure up the middle on some plays.
RCB: Devin McCourty - Oh yeah. McCourty says that he hopes he'll play on Sunday and I wouldn't bet against him. McCourty should take on Donald Driver on an island for most of the evening as I'm expecting the Packers to spread the field with a lot of receivers.
LCB: Kyle Arrington - Arrington wasn't limited in practice and looks to face up against Greg Jennings. Arrington has emerged the past couple weeks as a consistent defender with great timing to break up passes. Look for Arrington to continue that success against Jennings with some help over the top.
NCB: Darius Butler - Butler should see a lot of playing time as the Packers love to put receivers on the field. James Jones or Jordy Nelson could see extended time as receivers so Butler will have to match up with whoever steps on the field. The Packers don't really have a slot receiver since they treat every receiver the same- all receivers run down the field and every receiver can run all the routes- so Butler gets the nod over Pat Chung. Butler can run down the field as a defender, Chung struggles.
FS: James Sanders - Sanders has emerged as a great cover safety and he should roam around trying to pick off errant passes. Brandon Meriweather didn't see much time in the snow against the Bears and it looks like it should be snowy on Sunday night.
SS: Pat Chung - Chung should excel in the elements. Asking him to play safety, instead of coverage, plays to his strengths. He can lay the wood when he tackles and he can step up in the box. He'll already be down field so he can make breaks on passes instead of running with receivers and getting beaten. Chung should make sure the Packers' nonexistent running game stays nonexistent.
The Patriots should be excited if Flynn is starting because they can play their younger players with less worry. Butler will get to see much needed extended time on the field and new acquisitions Eric Moore and Louis Leonard will most likely get to see the field. The Patriots need to take advantage of the young quarterback early in the game and I believe that running the 4-2-5 defense allows the Patriots to counter the Packers' offense.