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PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the fourth of five key matchups this week in advance of the Packers' Week Two game against the Panthers at Carolina Sunday.
Packers SS Morgan Burnett vs. Panthers TEs Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey
Burnett was the Packers' busiest defender in their Week One escape from the Saints, collecting a team-leading 14 tackles. He figures to be right in the thick of things again this Sunday, matched up against Olsen and Shockey, who combined for seven catches (on nine targets) for 129 yards (18.4 yards per catch) from rookie QB Cam Newton in Carolina's Week One loss to the Cardinals.
The Panthers opened the season in a two-TE offense that also heavily involves blocking specialist Ben Hartsock. The Packers' secondary is very familiar with Olsen from his time with the Bears. In three Bears-Packers games last season, including the playoffs, Olsen had a combined 13-123 (9.5 ypc), including five catches for 64 yards and a nine-yard TD in the Bears' Week Three victory. Obtained from the Bears in exchange for a third-round pick, Olsen is more like a big wideout who frequently creates mismatches with his good speed and excellent hands. Shockey is well past his prime but a still good all-around tight end who can make his presence felt.
Burnett appears to have bounced back strong from the torn ACL that ended his rookie campaign in Week Four last season. He convincingly won the starting SS job back from veteran Charlie Peprah and was by far the Green Bay secondary's best player in Week One, making sure tackles and providing more of a physical presence than last season. Peprah is a more-than-capable backup.