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Green Bay Packers

DonaldDriver may be the team leader and a well respected presence in the locker roombut he is no longer the straw that stirs the proverbial drink when it comes tothe Packers receiving corps. Hisproduction has fallen off the last two seasons and if he did not consent to acontract restructuring, he would not be playing this season in Green Bay. However, Aaron Rodgers has plenty of speed athis disposal with Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones and a versatilethreat in Randall Cobb.

Defensivelythe Packers could not stop the pass and that was ultimately their undoing. They had a middling run stop unit but theywill need to create more pressure on the quarterback and shore up a lacklustersecondary. The Packers did draft alldefensive players in the earlier rounds so it will be interesting to see iftheir scouting department has risen to the task.

We know thatthe projected veteran starters, most notably Aaron Rodgers, will probably notbe playing even half the game. Thecoaches want their big money stars to shake off the rust without gettinginjured. Note also that last season’sbackup quarterback Matt Flynn will not be lighting it up for Green Bay whenthey inevitably pull Rodgers from the line of fire against the Bolts. Undrafted quarterback Graham Harrell will belocking and loading and he is a complete wildcard in this game.

San Diego Chargers

And on thisside of the field we have the talented Philip Rivers for your viewingpleasure. Certainly Rivers is not asprolific a passer as Rodgers but then again the only quarterbacks that can bementioned in the same breath would be Tom Brady, Drew Brees and let’s notforget about the old guy who just signed with Denver. San Diego has many sins to atone for anddon’t think head coach Norv Turner doesn’t want a win in a hurry. Vincent Jackson may have taken the money andrun on down to Tampa Bay but the Chargers signed Robert Meacham as a capablereplacement from New Orleans while adding Eddie Royal from the Broncos andRoscoe Parrish from the Bills. Thatchemistry will take time to gel but if Antonio Gates can stay healthy thenRivers will be all set.

The reportson Melvin Ingram are all positive but then again, it’s still very early. Ingram was the Chargers 1st roundpick (18th overall) and the Chargers are hoping he can bolster awoeful pass rush. Jarrett Johnson waslured from the Ravens to stop the run and Kendall Reyes was drafted as anotherpass rusher to complement Ingram.

The Pick:

 

The NFL odds makers had opened the Chargers as -1 favorites, but early betting action has caused teh lines to shift a bit more in the favor of San Diego. As of now, most of the top NFL betting sites are listing the Chargers at -2.5, with the total offered at 37.

The hometeam needs a win here and so does the coach. The Packers offensive line has been tinkered with and that may give thisnew San Diego pass rush the openings they need to establish themselves. The Packers have no running game to speak ofunless Alex Green finally gets healthy and proves he is worthy of the Packers’lofty expectations.

I like theChargers here because they at least have a backup quarterback with NFLexperience under his belt in Kyle Boller. No, he’s not an All-Star and won’t be picked in any Fantasy Footballdrafts but at the very least he is serviceable and that appears to be animprovement over the Packers untested and unproven backup Graham Harrell. Throw a few bucks on the Bolts. SanDiego -2 ½ is the play.