Key matchups for Patriots in week four
Patriots front seven against Packers running backs
After trading away wide receiver Davante Adams in the offseason, the Packers offense has been left with a void at wide receiver. That void has only gotten bigger over the past two weeks as Sammy Watkins has landed on IR and second-round pick Christian Watson was inactive against Tampa Bay. As a result, Rodgers has gotten off to a (by his standards) slow start and it’s been the running game that has carried Green Bay. Through three weeks, the Packers rank ninth in the NFL in rushing yards and 19th in passing yards, very different from what we are used to seeing from them.
With the receiving corps decimated by injury, it becomes even more important for the Patriots defense to stop the two-headed rushing attack of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The Patriots did a good job against the run during the first two weeks before the Ravens racked up 188 yards on the ground in week three. However, they also have to be weary of the running backs in the passing game as well. Rodgers has targeted Dillon and Jones 12 times each through the first three games as they are tied for third on the team in targets. In fact, over 25% of the team’s total targets have gone to the two backs. Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore have got to clog holes up front, and the linebackers have to do a good job stopping the run and in pass coverage.