The New England Patriots last met with the Green Bay Packers on November, 2018. New England came away with a 31-17 win in Gillette Stadium. Since that contest, both rosters have experienced quite a bit of turnover.
Let’s take a look at what is the same and what is new.
The following 11 players were on New England’s 53-man roster in 2018 who are still on the active roster in 2022:
QB Brian Hoyer, OT Trent Brown, C David Andrews, G James Ferentz, DE Deatrich Wise Jr., DL Lawrence Guy, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Jonathan Jones, S Devin McCourty, LS Joe Cardona, ST Matthew Slater
Offense: Almost the entire offense has changed since the 2018 matchup, but quarterback Brian Hoyer remains. In the most recent meeting, he served as the backup to Tom Brady but this time around he is expected to start with the injury to Mac Jones. Bailey Zappe is expected to work as the primary backup.
The running back room is completely different as Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are expected to get all of the work. Neither of them was on the roster against the Packers in 2018, when the position was led by the likes of James White, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kenjon Barner. Pierre Strong Jr. is the third back on the depth chart right now and may see some snaps on special teams.
The pass catchers are completely different as well, with Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker as the projected starters in lieu of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Josh Gordon. Nelson Agholor, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Kendrick Bourne will all see their fair share of snaps as well. The tight ends are now Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith opposed to Dwayne Allen (Rob Gronkowski was inactive for that one).
Two starters from the 2018 offensive line are still around: Trent Brown, who returned in 2021, and David Andrews. Brown will be at left tackle with rookie Cole Strange rounding out the left side at left guard. Andrews will remain at center with Michael Onwenu at right guard and Isaiah Wynn at right tackle. Wynn was on IR in 2018 for this matchup, while the other starting spots were filled by the likes of Joe Thuney, Ted Karras and Marcus Cannon (who is currently on New England’s practice squad).
Defense: The Patriots return five defensive players who all continue to make an impact in 2022.
Along the defensive line, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Lawrence Guy are still with the team. Wise Jr. will be putting pressure on the quarterback, while Guy’s status is uncertain due to a shoulder injury. Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore will be the primary defensive tackles, replacing Malcom Brown, Danny Shelton and Adam Butler. Carl Davis. and Daniel Ekuale will rotate in for reps as well.
Matthew Judon will be on the edge opposite Wise Jr., looking to get sacks. He was not with the team in 2018, with his job being shared by the likes of Trey Flowers, John Simon, Adrian Clayborn and Keionta Davis.
The linebacker room maintains Ja’Whaun Bentley as a primary starter. Mack Wilson Sr., Jahlani Tavai, and Raekwon McMillan will each get reps at linebacker both in the middle and on the outside Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings will also rotate in at outside linebacker but will not see action in the middle — quite the change from 2018 when Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy were the main men at the position.
The secondary returns starters Jonathan Jones and Devin McCourty, who both saw action versus Green Bay in 2018. Jalen Mills, Myles Bryant, and Jack jones will be joining Jonathan Jones in an attempt to slow down the Packers receivers — a job accomplished in 2018 by Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty and J.C. Jackson.
Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, and Jabrill Peppers will be on the field a lot at safety and in rover roles playing in the box with McCourty over the top. They fill the shoes worn by Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon.
Special Teams: The special teams unit has changed a lot over the years as now Nick Folk is doing the kicking instead of Stephen Gostkowski and Jake Bailey has replaced Ryan Allen at punter. Joe Cardona stays as the long snapper and Matthew Slater continues to be a primary player on coverage teams.
Cody Davis, Brenden Schooler, and DaMarcus Mitchell join Slater as the current primary players on the coverage units.
Coaching: A lot of change has happened on the coaching staff since, but Bill Belichick remains as a constant. The new offensive play caller and offensive line coach is Matt Patricia who left that season to coach the Detroit Lions. Joe Judge moves over to the offensive side of things and is now and offensive assistant and quarterback's coach.
Defensively, former coaching assistant DeMarcus Covington is now the defensive line coach with Jerod Mayo coming aboard to coach linebackers instead of Brian Flores. Steve and Brian Belichick are coaching the linebackers and safeties, after working as safeties coach and coaching assistant in 2018, respectively. Cameron Achord’s first year on the staff was 2018 and now he is the full-time special teams coordinator.
The following 11 players were on Green Bay’s 53-man roster in 2018 who are still on the active roster in 2022:
QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Allen Lazard, WR Randall Cobb, TE Robert Tonyan, TE Marcedes Lewis, OT David Bakhtiari, DE Dean Lowry, DT Kenny Clark, CB Jaire Alexander, K Mason Crosby
Offense: Green Bay’s offense is still led by legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He also has some of the same weapons he had in 2018. Aaron Jones continues to play running back for the Packers and will be heavily involved on Sunday. Boston College product A.J. Dillion will also see a hefty number of touches, effectively replacing the spot held by Jamaal Williams in 2018.
Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, and Marcedes Lewis all return as weapons for Rodgers. Lazard is now WR1 in this offense with Davante Adams gone, and Tonyan is the starting tight end opposed to Jimmy Graham. Rookie receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson will also be running a lot of routes in this game.
The offensive line returns All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari who played last week after dealing with serious injuries across the past two seasons. Other than him, the line looks completely different. Gone are the other starters in November 2018, replaced by Jon Runyan Jr. at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Royce Newman at right guard and Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins at right tackle. The tackles are the strong points of this offensive line.
Defense: On defense, just two players return both on the defensive line. Dean Lowrey remains on the edge and Kenny Clark is still the big defensive tackle who is great at stopping the run. Jarran Reed is the other defensive end with Devonte Wyatt rotating in as well. In 2018, the team had Mike Daniels on the roster as a starter.
The linebackers are completely different. Gone are the days of Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Blake Martinez; De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker will see most of the action in the middle of the defense this time around. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary will work as outside linebackers.
The secondary features some very talented players like Jaire Alexander, who is Green Bay’s number one corner. Alexander was already part of the team in 2018, starting alongside Kevin King and Breshaud Breeland. Those two have since been replaced by Eric Stokes with Rasual Douglas manning the nickel corner spot so far this year. The safeties are Adrian Amos, who has been a solid player his whole career, and Darnell Savage who is a young athletic monster. Tramon Williams and Kentrell Brice started for the Packers against the Patriots the last time.
Special Teams: Mason Crosby is the only holdover on the special teams unit as he has been kicking in Green Bay since 2007. The new punter is Pat O’Donnell, with Jack Coco doing the long snapping. Amari Rodgers will return most of the kicks and punts, but you may see Randall Cobb mixed in on punt returns.
Coaching: Green Bay pretty much cleaned house during and after the 2018 season, parting ways with head coach Mike McCarthy one month after the Patriots game. The coaching staff is therefore mostly relatively new. Matt LaFleur was named the 15th head coach of the Packers and is still their coach today. The offensive coordinator is Adam Stenavich now and LaFleur also has a hand in the play calling.
Defensively, Joe Barry is now running the show with Jerry Montgomery and Ryan Downard returning from 2018 as the defensive line coach and the safeties coach. The special teams coordinator is Rich Bisaccia, who gained a ton of respect from fans and players based off his time as the interim head coach with the Las Vegas Raiders in what was a difficult 2021 season off the field in Vegas.