Packers-Jets matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Oct. 27, 2010 @ 2:12 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into the Week Eight battle between the Packers and Jets.

Packers NT B.J. Raji vs. Jets C Nick Mangold

Certainly one of the centers of attention this Sunday will be the center of both teams' lines when the Jets are on offense, seemingly intent to pound away at a Packers defensive line that again could be missing DEs Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett. If that's the case, the onus up front again will be on Raji. Raji has been an unsung pillar of strength on the nose this season, but he noticeably slowed down in the second half last week against the Vikings — which can be expected when you are only one of three D-linemen healthy enough to be playing — and didn't offer much of an interior push the entire game.

In Mangold, Raji will be taking on the league's best center in many NFL talent evaluators' estimation, certainly when it comes to run blocking. Mangold is dominant at the point of attack, gets to the second level quickly and is as smart as a whip.

What we've got here is a compelling mosh-pit matchup between former first-round picks who each possess tremendous natural strength and athleticism.