The Green Bay Packers (2-1) will host the New England Patriots (1-2) on Sunday afternoon. The Packers are coming off a strange 14-12 win over the Buccaneers. The Patriots had a high-scoring 37-26 home loss to the Ravens on Sunday, but they also may have lost quarterback Mac Jones for some time with a leg injury.
The Packers are a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 39.5 points at many of the top-rated sportsbooks. We have a couple of NFL picks and a score prediction for this Week 4 matchup.
New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers
Sunday, October 02, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Lambeau Field
What Is New England’s Offense Without Mac Jones?
Second-year quarterback Mac Jones had arguably the most eventful game of his career against Baltimore on Sunday. Jones passed for a career-high 321 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown in the NFL. Jones looked more mobile than usual and showed off some impressive playmaking ability as he tried to keep pace with Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.
But he also tied his career high for turnovers with three interceptions and did not throw a touchdown in the home loss. Jones was also injured on his final interception with him visibly hobbled and needing assistance to the locker room.
The reports are calling it a “severe” high ankle sprain, which would seemingly make it impossible for him to play on Sunday. This is the type of injury that usually knocks a quarterback out for a few weeks but not a full season.
Brian Hoyer is the backup. He is about to turn 37 years old and has spent multiple stints in New England dating back to his 2009 debut in the league. He has been with the team since 2020 and has 40 career starts (16-24 record). As far as backups go, Hoyer is a solid, unspectacular player. He averages 7.0 yards per attempt and is not a sack or turnover machine.
Patriots' Run Game
He can keep the Patriots competitive if they can run the ball well, as they have the last two weeks.
Running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson have nearly split the carries this season, and they both have around 150 yards with good 4.6-to-5.0 yards per carry averages.
Patriots' Air Attack
DeVante Parker exploded on Sunday with 156 receiving yards after having one 9-yard catch in the first two games combined this season. He rounds out another solid-but-unspectacular receiving corps of:
- Jakobi Meyers
- Nelson Agholor
- Kendrick Bourne
The Patriots spent decent money on tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith in 2021, but they have just 10 combined catches through three games this year.
Still, the Packers just allowed Tom Brady to throw for 271 yards with Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman as his leading receivers. While Hoyer is no Brady, Bill Belichick should be able to get him to throw for over 200 yards and score some points in this matchup.
The Patriots have more weapons than the Bucs did on Sunday, and they are not afraid to throw the ball like the Chicago Bears were in Week 2. The Packers are going to get more of a challenge on defense this week.
Is Green Bay’s Offense Okay?
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had a very interesting 14-12 win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday. Green Bay scored 14 points on its first two drives before failing to score on the final nine drives, including a Rodgers interception and a fumble at the goal line by Aaron Jones.
It is the first time in Rodgers’ career that the Packers won a game by scoring fewer than 21 points and getting shut out in the second half. It sure helped that the Buccaneers were down their top three wide receivers, but Green Bay was not 100% itself on offense.
Can Anyone Catch the Ball?
The problem is there aren’t many reinforcements coming back to this offense like Tampa Bay will get with Mike Evans (suspended in Week 3) and Chris Godwin (hamstring). The Packers will be without Sammy Watkins for some time, but he is often injured in his career. Second-round rookie Christian Watson was inactive on Sunday, but he has not been a big contributor yet.
Rodgers and his usual cast of Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, the running backs, and tight end Robert Tonyan are largely what this cast is going to look like this year as the Packers look to play well without Davante Adams.
One new addition was rookie Romeo Doubs, who shined on Sunday with eight catches on eight targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. But the Packers are not likely going to be as efficient as in past years without Adams. They just have to hope Doubs and Watson continue to develop.
Looking at Player Props
One prop pick that should be good this week is an Aaron Jones touchdown. He can do it from the ground or on a little pass from Rodgers that looks like a run. New England has only allowed one rushing touchdown this season and that was a 9-yard run by Lamar Jackson on Sunday. It is time for the backs to start scoring on this defense, and Jones is still the best option even if he seems to develop fumbilitis when he plays Tampa Bay.
Over/Under Prediction: Will the Game Be High Scoring?
We are going to assume Hoyer will be the quarterback for the Patriots on Sunday. In his only start with the team, he lost 26-10 in Kansas City in 2020. His last start before that was a 16-12 game with the Colts against the Dolphins in 2019. In 40 career starts, Hoyer-led teams have scored at least 20 points in 23 games (57.5%).
As for the Packers, dating back to January’s playoff loss against the 49ers, the last four Green Bay games have gone under 40 points. That has not happened for the Packers since the final three games of 2006 plus the opener of the 2007 season. It is a first for games started by Rodgers.
Few coaches are better prepared to get a backup ready than Bill Belichick, and Hoyer has a lot of familiarity with what the Patriots like to do on offense. That should not be an issue. The Packers also showed some life on offense despite the 14 points in Tampa.
I think this one can, realistically, get to a 27-13 final, so I will take the over.
Score Prediction: Packers 27 - Patriots 16
NFL Pick: Over 39.5 Points (-110) at BetOnline
Patriots-Packers Best Bet
This could be a big trap game for the Packers in the Mike McCarthy era, but Matt LaFleur has usually had the team ready to go as the heavy favorite. When LaFleur is a favorite of at least 6 points, he is 21-0 SU and 14-6-1 ATS. LaFleur is 4-2 ATS as a home favorite of 10-plus points on the NFL odds.
Rodgers always plays much better at home where he almost never throws interceptions, and the offense should have had at least 21 points in Tampa Bay. The Patriots are not as strong on defense as they used to be. I will take the Packers to cover for your NFL picks.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.