Packers-Patriots matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:43 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the Week 15 game between the Packers and Patriots in Foxborough this coming Sunday night.

Packers WR Greg Jennings vs. Patriots CBs Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler

Look for this matchup to be a real chess match. One of the secrets of Jennings’ considerable success before his off game last week against Detroit — he had 43 catches for 761 yards and eight TDs from Weeks 6-13 — was his ability to perform well at any one of the Packers’ WR spots. Look for Jennings to be shifted around frequently, both inside and outside, on Sunday night.

At the same time, the Patriots’ pass defense does a lot of disguising, frequently switching from man to zone coverage, which makes it likely all three of New England's cornerbacks will be defending Jennings at some point. In addition, SS Patrick Chung often moves down to the slot in passing situations.

Jennings finished with four catches (he was targeted eight times) for 52 yards against the Lions and dropped what should have been an easy 73-yard TD pass that was turned into an interception early in the game. After admittedly playing poorly in Detroit, look for him to be very fired up to make amends in front of a national Sunday-night audience.

McCourty, the 27th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has been an excellent addition to the Patriots’ secondary. Opposing receivers have caught a mere 30 percent of the catches thrown his way. He is smart and is a sure tackler, but he still could be feeling the effects of a rib injury suffered in the Pats’ blowout of the Bears last week.

On the right corner, Arrington is a decent run stopper but just ordinary in coverage. Butler, a second-round pick last year who failed to effectively replace the injured Leigh Bodden on the right side earlier this season and was replaced by Arrington, is athletic but erratic in the nickel role.