I guess the leg of place kicker Mason Crosby was all the Green Bay Packers needed to bring in their trip to New York? Well, Crosby’s leg and a punishing defense that kept the Jets scoreless at home for the first time in 4 years and gave the Packers a 9-0 victory. The Jets were heading into the game fresh off a bye week and a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in week 6. Everything seemed perfect for the NFL’s number one ranked team until the game started and they discovered the Packers defense was there for business.
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Green Bay had just finished polishing off the Vikings and Brett Favre in week 7 and was on an emotional high despite numerous injuries. The injuries have forced the Packers to shuffle their depth chart and place many rookies in key roles. Rookies LB Frank Zombo and DE C.J. Wilson each started for a revamped Packer defense that also showcased former first round picks LB A.J. Hawk and Defensive Player of the Year candidate LB Clay Matthews. This young nucleus formed an impenetrable defense that kept the Jets out of the end zone all day long.
The game was a virtual seesaw battle till the very end with the both offenses creating long drives only to fall short of the endzone. Jets QB Mark Sanchez had a decent day with 16 of 36 pass attempts completed for 256-yards and 2 interceptions but his wide receivers were of little help. The Jets wide receivers dropped routine passes on several occasions and failed to fight for 2 passes that Packer defensive backs wrestled for interceptions.
The Packers scored their first field goal with 4:41 remaining in the 1st quarter on a 34-yard kick by K Crosby. Each team was held scoreless from then on till the 4th quarter when Crosby nailed 2 more field goals to give the Packers a 9-0 victory. But the game was about the defenses of the two teams with each side showcasing their talents.
The Jets defensive secondary unit received a boost before the game when it was announced CB Darrelle Rivas would be starting despite a lingering hamstring injury. This season the Jets have given up many yards to the pass but they kept the Packers grounded on Sunday. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw for only 170-yards on 15 of 34 attempts and the Packers merely gained 81-yards on the ground. The defense of the Jets clearly gave the team a chance to win but sloppy play from the offense and a determined Packer defense earned them the loss.
With the win the Packers now sit alone on top of the NFC North with a 5-3 record. It appears they have adjusted to the injury problems that have plagued the team this season and are set to make a strong run the second half. Next they head to Dallas next to play a “lost” Cowboy team on the Sunday night game and the Vikings the following game. So a 7-3 record is a strong possibility after week 11 and that could place them in the top spot for the NFC.
After the loss New York dropped to 2nd in the AFC East with rival New England Patriots taking the top spot. But the good news is they play the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns in the coming weeks. Both teams have been horrendous this season and should prove easy targets for Sanchez and the confused Jet offense. If the Jets can rebound from this tough loss the top spot in the AFC is still within grasp.
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