Like a long awaited movie sequel, Aaron Rodgers v.s. Tom Brady II, is coming to your television screen tonight. One of the most anticipated prime-time games on the schedule, the 3-3-1 Green Bay Packers have traveled to face the 6-2 New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Both teams have something to play for, or at least something to prove. The season is now questionably on the line for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, while the Patriots would love another team win by the throwing arm of Tom Brady. Green Bay as a whole needs to be at their very best under the lights for a surefire shootout, and many players have already begun to answer that call. Here are some storylines going into tomorrow night’s matchup.
Davante Adams continues rise to stardom
Many people were shocked when Green Bay let go of Jordy Nelson in the offseason, but Davante Adams has since proven himself as the Packers new primary receiver. This season, Adams has 52 receptions for 690 yards and six touchdowns. He’s Aaron Rodgers new favorite target, which has certainty bolstered his abilities on the field. Earlier this week, Adams even stated “I don’t feel like anyone can guard me right now.” Certainly, this is a top-10 receiver playing with top 10 confidence, and he’ll look to continue his dominance over an unproven Patriots defense.
Jaire Alexander’s rookie premier
Speaking of Davante Adams, he has a new buddy in the Packers locker room. Adams heaps praise on cornerback Jaire Alexander, who has earned every word of it with his impressive start for Green Bay. As a first year starter from Louisville, Alexander has 24 tackles, two assists, a half sack and an interception.
Those might be fairly comparable stats to other rookie defensive backs, but Alexander stands out with his route recognition and tight coverage. Last week against the Los Angeles Rams Alexander had five passes defended between targets to receivers Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods.
He also isn’t shy about getting in the quarterbacks face. Despite only a half sack on the season, he can disrupt opposing quarterbacks with his speed off a corner blitz. Expect to see more of that on Sunday, as Tom Brady hates being rattled in the pocket.
Well, Geronimo Allison is out again. After just returning to the lineup in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Allison did not travel with the Packers to Boston following a groin injury sustained during Tuesday’s practice. It’s tough to say Allison will be missed on Sunday however, as rookie receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling has already proven himself as a more than capable back-up. Last week, Valdez-Scantling had two receptions for 45 yards, as compared to Allison’s one catch for 14 yards.
Lets also not forget Valdez-Scantling’s 103 yard game the week prior, against the San Fransisco 49ers. He’s a young stud, and he’ll be ready for New England’s defensive back group.
All in all, a lot more than Aaron Rodgers is needed to beat the Patriots. Key offensive players will need to continue to make plays in what will be a back and forth game, starting rookies are about to be in for the test of their life keeping up with the brilliant Tom Brady, and no one in this locker room can buy into the hype. It’s about do-or-die time for the Packers, and an onslaught of young and established talent will be necessary for a win this Sunday.