The two greatest quarterbacks of their generation will share a field Sunday night as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers visit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in primetime. Game time is set for 8:20 EST on Sunday, November 4, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The game will be broadcast nationally by NBC.
Oddsmakers list the Patriots as 5.5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 56.5 points. Make sure you check out the Week 9 betting odds and game previews for all of this week’s NFL action.
It’s the midway point of the season and the Patriots are rolling the way they usually do. New England had a tough fight on Monday night in Buffalo, but they eventually managed to win their fifth straight game. They are now 6-2 and hold a two-game lead at the top of the AFC East.
However, the Patriots will play a challenging schedule from here on out. After hosting the Packers on Sunday, the Pats will play four of their next five games away from home. That stretch includes tough games against the Vikings and Steelers. Also, keep in mind that New England will have to catch up to the Chiefs if they want home-field advantage in the playoffs, so they still have a lot of work ahead of them.
The Packers, on the other hand, are still trying to find their footing in 2018. They sit at 3-3-1 and have failed to win back-to-back games all season. On the bright side, they’ve yet to lose back-to-back games this year, a streak that could be in jeopardy this week after Green Bay lost to the Rams last week.
Fortunately for the Packers, they play in a division in which no team has been able to gain separation. Just one game separates first place from last place in the NFC North, meaning the Packers have a great chance to win the division if they can start stringing some wins together. However, with three of their next four games on the road against teams that currently have winning records, Green Bay will have to prove that they can beat quality teams, something they’ve struggled to do this year.
To be honest, I think the Patriots are going to win this game. But there’s no denying that the Packers need this game more. That leads me to believe that Rodgers will be at his best, especially on national TV with Brady on the opposite sideline. I don’t know if Rodgers will do enough to lead Green Bay to a win, but I think he’ll do enough to beat the 5.5-point spread.
Green Bay’s inconsistency aside, Rodgers has been outstanding this season. Lost among performances by Drew Brees and Pat Mahomes is Rodgers throwing 13 touchdown passes to just one interception. Even with his knee at less than 100%, Rodgers is getting the job done regardless of the opponent. With the duo of Rodgers and Davante Adams on the field, the Packers have a puncher’s chance to win every game they play.
The key for Green Bay is getting just enough from the running game to keep teams from getting too many hits on Rodgers. Against the Patriots, running the ball also means keeping Brady on the sidelines. Things have been looking up since Aaron Jones returned from his suspension. However, he’s still not getting enough touches. The Packers may want to establish Jones early so they can shorten the game and put Rodgers in a position to work some late-game magic.
At times this season, the New England defense has been vulnerable against good quarterbacks. Obviously, the Pats had no problem limiting the Bills last week. But even in some of their wins, they gave up a lot of points against the likes of Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and even Mitchell Trubisky.
The ability to create takeaways has saved the New England defense at times. However, that’s not something they can count on happening against Rodgers. If the Packers can generate some semblance of a running game and provide decent protection up front, Rodgers has a chance to have a special game.
Of course, the Packers are also going to need a little help from their defense in this game. If you take away their shutout of the Bills, Green Bay has given up at least 29 points in every game since Week 2. That doesn’t exactly bode well the way the New England offense has lit up the scoreboard over the past month. Even if the Packers can get a handle on the New England running game, they face an uphill battle against Brady and company.
All things considered, this game could end up being a shootout being Rodgers and Brady, as it should be. I won’t deny that the Patriots are the better team. But we’ve seen Rodgers work his magic late in games this season. Against the New England defense, he has a chance to do so again, which is why I’m going to lean toward the Packers to at least keep this game close and beat the spread.