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Scouting the Jets’ opposition: Green Bay Packers

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers have had a rough year which has seen them part ways with head coach Mike McCarthy. They’ve lost six of their last eight, but were able to turn the Falcons aside 34-20 two weeks ago.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers is still regarded as one of the all-time greats but he’s been forced to battle this year as the team crumbled around him. Even so, he set an NFL record by throwing over 400 passes without an interception. Although the Packers lost most of those games, it doesn’t bode well for a Jets team that has been so reliant on defensive turnovers.

For a while, it looked like Rodgers might not play on Sunday, but it’s since been confirmed that he will.

Rodgers is backed up by DeShone Kizer, who the Packers traded for in the offseason. Kizer, who started against the Jets in Cleveland last year, has only thrown seven passes this season.

Offensive Line

The Packers have good experience at the tackle positions with David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga both excellent in pass protection. Bulaga missed the last couple of games and Jason Spriggs (seven penalties in six games) had been struggling in his place, but Spriggs has a concussion now anyway while Bulaga is healthy again.

Corey Linsley provides a veteran anchor at center, but guards Lane Taylor and Lucas Patrick have struggled. Taylor, who signed a three-year extension last season, has given up a team-high eight sacks.

Veteran Bryon Bell had started nine games but is now on injured reserve so the main back-up is now Justin McCray. McCray started the first three games but has only started one since then.

Running Backs

Aaron Jones, the team’s leading rusher with 728 yards and eight touchdowns, is now on injured reserve and the team had already traded Ty Montgomery, so Jamaal Williams is the starter now. He rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Bears last week, but has only averaged 3.7 yards per carry.

The Packers just claimed Kapri Bibbs off waivers to back up Williams. Dan Vitale is the fullback, but doesn’t feature much.

Pass catchers

Randall Cobb has been ruled out for Sunday so Davante Adams is the only veteran wide receiver that will suit up for Green Bay. Adams was the only Packer other than Rodgers to make it to the pro bowl as he has 100 catches, over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.

A quartet of rookies round out this group: Marques Valdez-Scandling, Equanimeous St. Brown, J’Mon Moore and Allen Lazard. Valdez-Scandling has 30 catches and St. Brown has 16, as both have shown some big play potential.

At tight end, Jimmy Graham has 49 catches but just two touchdowns as his Packers tenure has been a let-down overall. Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis provide experience off the bench.

Defensive Line

While the Packers’ defensive line lost Muhammad Wilkerson and Mike Daniels for the season, youngster Kenny Clark has been a revelation. He has six sacks and has been excellent against the run. Unfortunately for the Packers, he can’t play on Sunday, so they’ll trot out an inexperienced group.

Dean Lowry has been starting at the other end position, with undrafted rookie Tyler Lancaster at nose tackle. Youngster Montravius Adams, who has been in a rotational role all year, might get his first start of the year.

Rookie James Looney has only played one snap so far this season, so he might get more reps too.

Linebackers

The Packers’ linebacker corps has also been decimated by injury with Nick Perry and Jake Ryan both on injured reserve.

Clay Matthews is the Packers’ biggest star off the edge, but Kyler Fackrell has been making all the headlines. He’s having a breakout year with a team-high 8.5 sacks, including three of Josh Allen in a September win over the Bills.

At inside linebacker, Blake Martinez leads the team in tackles and has also added four sacks. Antonio Morrison is listed as the other starter but hasn’t been playing much in recent games.

Reggie Gilbert is the only veteran listed as a back-up. He’s been productive in limited action with 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Three rookies, including the promising Oren Burks round out this group.

Defensive Backs

Two rookies start at cornerback for the Packers with Jaire Alexander having more impressive than Josh Jackson so far. Alexander leads the team with 11 passes defensed while Jackson has a team-high seven penalties.

When the Packers traded pro bowler Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at the deadline, they moved veteran cornerback Tramon Williams to starting safety alongside Kentrell Brice. Williams also plays in the slot in nickel packages with last year’s second rounder Josh Jones seeing more and more playing time at safety.

Bashaud Breeland provides veteran depth and is actually the only Packer other than Clinton-Dix with more than one interception. He also has the team’s only pick-six of the year. Rookie Tony Brown also gets plenty of rotational reps.

Special Teams

Mason Crosby somehow managed to hang onto the Packers’ placekicking job after missing five kicks against the Lions earlier in the year. To his credit, he’s only missed another four all season and did make a game-winner the following week against San Francisco.

Punter JK Scott, on whom the Packers spent a fifth round pick in this year’s draft, is having a decent year but does lead the league in touchbacks.

13 different players have returned kicks for the Packers this year, without much success. Cobb and Williams are currently listed as the return men on punts and kickoffs respectively.

In kick coverage, Burks has been Green Bay’s most productive tackler.