Packers-Jets matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Oct. 28, 2010 @ 1:56 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 strong safeties and LB corps vs. Jets TE Dustin Keller

The potent 1-2 punch of RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene is usually the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Jets' offense, but a strong case can be made for Keller being the team's most dangerous offensive weapon so far this season, certainly inside the red zone. A former NFL Scouting Combine superstar with great natural talent, Keller, who runs routes like a wideout, leads the Jets in both receptions (24) and touchdowns (five). Especially dangerous in the middle of the field, Keller had back-to-back two-TD games earlier this season against the Dolphins and Bills.

Green Bay's situation at strong safety is somewhat uncertain, with the possibility that former starter Atari Bigby could re-enter the mix this Sunday after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. It's more likely, though, that Keller will be contending with the SS combination of Charlie Peprah and Anthony Smith on Sunday.

Peprah has provided a physical presence in place of injured rookie Morgan Burnett, who entered the season as the starting strong safety, but he has gotten beaten at least a couple of times per game, including on Vikings WR Percy Harvin's apparent TD catch last week that was nullified because one of Harvin's feet was out of bounds. Peprah had six tackles, including one for loss, and a pass breakup against the Vikings. Smith has been a nonfactor so far.  

As for the Packers' LB corps, which has been further decimated by the loss for the season of starting OLB Brad Jones, look for A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop, who each had huge second-half interceptions vs. Minnesota, and Brandon Chillar, who is considered the unit's best ’backer in coverage when healthy, to run into Keller on more than a few occasions.