PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the first of five key matchups this week in advance of the Packers' Week Nine game this Sunday against the Chargers in San Diego.
Packers CBs Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and Sam Shields vs. Chargers WRs Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Patrick Crayton
The Green Bay cornerbacks' penchant for giving up an inordinate amount of yardage so far this season is a good bet to continue against Jackson, Floyd and Crayton, each of whom has big-play ability. Matched up Monday night against a Kansas City pass defense coming off a spectacular six-interception performance, the San Diego WR trio averaged a whopping 18.8 yards on 11 catches, with Floyd (five catches for 107 yards) leading the way.
Jackson and Floyd have each registered two 100-yard receiving games this season. They have great size (they're both 6-feet-5) and speed to burn and offer a major challenge physically for the Packers' corners. Woodson, Williams and Shields have each had his share of injury problems this season. Williams, in particular, has been at less than full strength due to a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener, but moving forward, he should be more of a threat in man coverage, coming off a badly needed rest during the Packers' bye week. Shields, who has been very inconsistent this year, missed the last game with a concussion but is practicing early this week and expected to suit up Sunday.
Woodson, who has an NFL-leading five interceptions, can be expected to spend a lot of time Sunday covering TE Antonio Gates, who is simply too imposing a presence for the Packers' outside linebackers to handle one-on-one. As a result, the onus could be on Williams and Shields to handle Jackson and Floyd on what figure to be a fair number of downfield plays. Crayton, meanwhile, is a threat to stretch the field from the slot with his excellent speed.