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NFC notebook: Green Bay making travel plans

NFC notebook: Green Bay making travel plans

by Steve SteinOctober 7, 2022

Around the NFC North:

Packing for London

Been there, done that. Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur knows what it takes for an NFL team to make the proper adjustments to play a game in London, and that experience will come in handy Sunday when the Green Bay Packers (3-1) face the New York Giants (3-1) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (9:30 a.m. EDT on NFL Network). The Green Bay Packers were 7.5-point favorites at midweek as they prepared for the first overseas game in franchise history.

LaFleur was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 when they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 33-0 in London. He was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans in 2018 when they lost 20-19 to the Los Angeles Chargers in London. So he’s had two trips to London to see what works and what doesn’t work for an NFL team.

With a long plane flight and six-hour time difference in their immediate future, the Green Bay Packers have made several changes to their normal preparation for a game. LaFleur hasn’t said publicly what changes, but they’re probably drastic.

“You try to keep things as normal as possible (preparing for a game in London), but let’s face it, it’s anything but,” LeFleur said in an Associated Press story.

The Green Bay Packers’ passing game showed signs of emerging from the off-season loss of Davante Adams last week in Green Bay’s 27-24 overtime win over the New England Patriots. Allen Lazard caught six passes from Aaron Rodgers for 116 yards and rookie Romeo Doubs caught a TD pass. There’s no reason to believe the improvement will take a step back overseas against the Giants.

The Green Bay Packers have a chance in London to set an NFL record. They’ve won 785 regular-season games in franchise history, tying the Chicago Bears for the top spot in the league. The Bears (2-2) will play Sunday at Minnesota (3-1). The offensively challenged Bears are 7-point underdogs. They’ll have a tough time keeping up with Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook and company in the 1 p.m. EDT game on FOX.

Fields is in denial

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is arguably the worst starting QB in the NFL right now. He threw for a season-best 174 yards last week in the Bears’ 20-12 loss to the New York Giants, was sacked six times, and continued to show a penchant for prematurely running out of the pocket.

A bigger problem appears to be Fields’ denial that the Bears’ passing attack isn’t sufficient to win in the NFL. Asked after the Giants’ game why the Bears’ passing attack isn’t productive, Fields said it’s just fine and statistics aren’t important. Is there a better measure?

Lions won’t stand pat

Take the over. That’s the best betting advice anyone can offer when it comes to the Detroit Lions. The perennial losers are still losing (1-3), but they’re keeping scoreboard operators and statisticians hopping. The 281 points scored in the Lions’ first four games is an NFL record. The Lions lead the league in scoring (140 points) and points allowed (141). They’re averaging 35 points per game.

The over-under total for the Lions’ game Sunday at New England (1 p.m. EDT on FOX) was 45.5 points at midweek. The low total has to be because the Patriots’ quarterback Sunday appears to be the normally ineffective Brian Hoyer or rookie Bailey Zappe. Neither one is capable of helping the Patriots roll up 555 yards in total offense like the Seattle Seahawks did last week in their 48-45 win over Detroit.

The Lions and Patriots are each in last place in their division. But with the Lions’ penchant for scoring and giving up points at a clip that’s never been seen in NFL history and an intriguing coaching matchup between the newbie Dan Campbell (9-23-1 career coaching record) and eternally grouchy veteran Bill Belichick (NFL record six Super Bowl victories), this game could slip between the cracks and be an interesting matchup.

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About The Author
Steve Stein