This week, the Baltimore Ravens are heading into the wintry cold Green Bay, to face off against the Packers. The Packers are currently sitting at a 5-4 record, and are led by quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley replaced Packers franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in week 6. Since then, Hundley’s play has been up and down. The Packers lost all three of Hundley’s first three games as a starter. Despite the lackluster start to his career, Hundley was able to lead the Packers to a victory in Chicago against a very formidable defense last week. Hundley and the Packers now return to Lambeau Field, where they will meet a Ravens team hungry to win. Here are the three keys to a Ravens victory in Green Bay.
Pressure Brett Hundley
Brett Hundley is a second-year backup quarterback. He lacks the experience that Aaron Rodgers provided to the Packers offense. The Ravens can take advantage of Hundley’s lack of playing time in the NFL by pressuring him with a heavy pass rush. If Terrell Suggs and company can manage to hit, hurry, and sack Hundley throughout the game, he is going to be forced to make snap decisions with the ball. Hundley as a young and inexperienced quarterback will make bad decisions when under pressure. If the Ravens can give him happy feet, expect Hundley to turn the ball over multiple times.
Shut Down Packers Run Game
If the Baltimore Ravens want to win in Green Bay, they are going to need to rely on the defense. Baltimore needs to take advantage of a damaged Packers run game. Both first and second string running backs Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones will miss this game with injuries. This leaves the rookie Jamaal Williams as the starter and Devante Mays as the backup. The Ravens run defense has been inconsistent all season but has the opportunity to shut down a vulnerable backfield. If Brandon Williams and the defensive line can prevent the Packers from gaining anything substantial on the ground, the Packers will have to rely on Brett Hundley throw the ball more then he should. Through shutting down the run game, the Ravens can effectively neutralize the Green Bay offense. Brett Hundley will be too inaccurate and antsy against a stout Ravens passing defense.
Rejuvenated Ravens Offense
The Baltimore Ravens offense had a full week off to rest and plan for the Packers. Baltimore needs to be laser-focused after the bye, and be ready to tango with Green Bay. This game is an absolute must-win for Baltimore, and the offense cannot be a liability any longer. For Baltimore to win this game, and stay in the playoff hunt, Joe Flacco must take advantage of the return of Danny Woodhead. Woodhead was a major part of Baltimore’s offense on the first drive against Cincinnati in week one. However, Woodhead went down with an injury and is just now returning to the football field. Woodhead is an exceptional pass-catching running back, a position that Baltimore uses more than any other on offense. If Woodhead can get moving today, the Ravens offense will follow suit. On the ground, Alex Collins will need to perform well. Last week in Nashville was flat out disappointing for Collins, as he only gained 43 yards rushing on 13 attempts. Joe Flacco needs a solid run game for him to be able to sell play action passes, which is his strong point. Collins will need to produce in Green Bay for the offense to find success. On a side note, wide receiver Breshad Perriman has been demoted, and will not play in Green Bay today. Perriman had been targeted 26 times this season, but only caught 7 of those passes. This should be a boost for the Ravens passing attack, as he will not be able to hold them back.
I am split on this game. On one hand, I think that the Ravens are the better team. Historically, Baltimore has been very good at winning when coming off the bye. Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 7-2 when coming off of a bye. The Packers, on the other hand, are really, really good at home in Green Bay. It is going to be cold in Green Bay today, somewhere around 30° F or below. This game could go either way, but I believe Baltimore will exit with a needed victory.
- Joe Flacco throws one touchdown, one interception.
- Alex Collins rushes for 70 yards and one touchdown.
- Danny Woodhead catches 6 passes for 60 yards.
- Jimmy Smith intercepts a Brett Hundley pass.
- Clay Matthews sacks Flacco twice.
FINAL SCORE: Ravens 20 – Packers 14