GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay Packers are hoping to keep the momentum on their side after winning last week against the Los Angeles Rams.
However, they’ll head to a place they haven’t won in over 50 years, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to take on T.J. Watt and the Steelers.
Before the Green & Gold take the field to play the Black & Gold, Local 5 Sports Director Burke Griffin has five keys to a Sunday afternoon victory for Green Bay.
Second Thoughts in the Secondary?
With Jaire Alexander likely out for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh and possibly much longer, Green Bay’s depth in the defensive backfield will definitely be tested.
Yes, the secondary looked really good against a Rams team that did not have Matthew Stafford playing quarterback, but it was hard not to notice the efforts of Carrington Valentine and the rest of a youthful group.
Right now, it seems like trading Rasul Douglas was a move to bolster the future, but it might affect the present if anyone else gets hurt.
The Steelers have had a long week off since they last played against Tennessee on Thursday night on November 2, and it was a game in which Pittsburgh’s quarterback was clearly a game manager.
Kenny Pickett hasn’t thrown for over 250 yards in a single game all season long, and his six touchdowns over the first eight games are hardly impressive.
However, he’s only been sacked 17 times this season, and their offensive line has played well enough to give him time to throw the football when needed.
If Green Bay can put pressure on the second-year youngster, good things will happen for the Packers defense.
Taking it Away
The turnover ratio is one of the most significant indicators of success in the NFL. The Steelers are tied for 3rd at +8, and right now, Pittsburgh is also third in takeaways with eight interceptions and eight fumble recoveries.
The Green Bay Packers are fifth worst in the league regarding takeaways, but they don’t give up the ball a lot and are tied for first with only two fumbles on the season, both coming last week against the Rams.
Running the Rock
Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and over the first four games of the year, Green Bay averaged less than 75 yards per game on the ground but managed to start the season 2-2 due in large part to that crazy comeback against the Saints.
In the last four games, the Packers offense has averaged 125 yards per contest but went 1-3. Aaron Jones has missed three games with a bad hamstring issue that he’s been dealing with since training camp and had his best performance against the Rams with 20 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Pittsburgh has been the definition of “bend, but don’t break” on defense this year since they are in the bottom half of both rushing and passing yards per game. But the Steelers are 13th in points allowed and eighth in red zone efficiency on defense.
Polish Up on Penalties
This is one statistic that doesn’t lie. Green Bay is the most penalized team in the NFL per game, so it isn’t a shock to anyone that only two teams in the top ten for penalties have a winning record.
By comparison, Pittsburgh is the fifth least penalized team in the NFL, and Mike Tomlin has always had extremely well-disciplined players throughout his entire head coaching career.