Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Panthers Set for Chilly Showdown in Green Bay

Sharon Thorsland
November 09, 2019 - 8:53 pm

It's another huge conference match-up for the Panthers, who head north to the frozen tundra to take on the Packers at storied Lambeau Field.

Kickoff is set for 4:25 on Sunday on WBT. After losing to the still undefeated 49ers two weeks ago, the Panthers bounced back with an impressive win over the Titans to improve to 5-3 on the season.

Now, they get the 7-2 Packers, who are coming off a surprising loss to the Chargers last week but are still sitting atop the NFC North.

Beating the Packers is no easy task. To do it, the Panthers have to slow down quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The two-time MVP has thrown for nearly 2500 yards with 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season.

And he's famous for his ability to improvise, prompting Panthers safety Tre Boston to call him a wizard.

The Panthers have the personnel to get after Rodgers, though, they lead the NFL with 34 sacks.

“Their front is very talented, big and athletic,” said Rodgers. “They're really good in the passing game as well. You really have to stymie their front if you want to get anything going.”

Rodgers has plenty of playmakers, including a pair of 6-3 receivers in Geronimo Allison and second-year player Marquez Valdez-Scantling.

Pro Bowler Davante Adams is back from a toe injury, and former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is a huge red-zone target.

But Rodgers' top weapon is running back Aaron Jones.

He's just 5-9 but he's a LeVeon Bell-type player who's a threat on the ground and at receiver, with 850 combined yards and 11 touchdowns.

“He's a hard runner, he's a good tough player,” says Panther linebacker Bruce Irvin. “If we let him get going, he'll make us pay.”

Getting Christian McCaffrey going is another key to a Panther victory. The running back leads the league in yards from scrimmage and will look to have a big day against a Packers defense that is giving up 128 rushing yards per game.

The Packers have a pair of talented edge rushers in Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, they've combined for 16-1/2 sacks.

Inside linebacker Blake Martinez leads the NFL in tackles. And keep an eye out for Charlotte native Jaire Alexander, who starts at cornerback.

This has the makings of a really good game. Four of the last five match-ups between these teams have been decided by eight points or less, with the Panthers winning the last two games. The Packers are 4-1 at home, while the Panthers are 3-1 on the road this season.

Yes, it's going to be cold - the forecast is calling for temperatures in the 20's at kickoff.

But to keep pace in the loaded NFC, the Panthers need to find a way to win.

“You've got to win these games, especially these tough games on the road at Green Bay that you're not supposed to win,” says quarterback Kyle Allen. “Because the NFC is tough this year. So obviously this game is important.”​

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