When the Green Bay Packers’ inactive players are revealed 90 minutes before kickoff, it will probably become evident how difficult it will be for Matt LaFleur’s squad to beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and go to 2-0.
The Packers are anticipated to be without receiver Christian Watson and running back Aaron Jones, both of whom are currently rehabbing from hamstring problems. Both players were labeled as doubtful on Friday’s final injury report.
Watson tore his hamstring during a practice before Week 1 while Jones sustained an injury near the conclusion of a receiving touchdown in the third quarter of the Packers’ victory in Week 1. Only two weeks into a lengthy season, the Packers are probably being careful with both players and giving them another week to recover from hamstring injuries. Hamstrings are a muscle that, if not given the time to completely recover, may easily suffer a setback.
At the season opener, LaFleur’s squad defeated the Bears with 38 points without Watson, but it will be difficult for LaFleur and starter quarterback Jordan Love to defeat the Falcons at Atlanta on Sunday without both Watson and Jones.
The Packers will likely start A.J. Dillon in Jones’ absence; he carried 13 times for 19 yards in the season opener. Any chance for him to start and take the burden is significant since he is in a contract year. Patrick Taylor, who was promoted to the practice squad for the second week in a straight, and Emanuel Wilson, a rookie who led the NFL in preseason running yards, will serve as Dillon’s primary backups.
This week at wide receiver, not much has changed. The main target is Romeo Doubs, who caught two touchdown passes in the season’s first game. Jayden Reed, a rookie, and the team’s favorite slot player, is also. A combination of rookie receivers Dontayvion Wicks, Malik Heath, and second-year receiver Samori Toure will line up opposite Doubs. From the practice squad, the Packers did not promote a receiver.
Jones, who caught two catches for 86 yards against the Bears in Week 1, will be missed in the passing game as well. A drive later, on fourth down, he caught the ball for a score of 35 yards after making a reception of 51 yards earlier. Dillon doesn’t possess the same type of explosive talent as a pass-catcher and dropped a pass in the first game.
Can the Packers have a strong enough offense to defeat the Falcons without Jones and Watson? On Sunday, LaFleur and Love will have to come up with exciting plays and be productive on the pitch.