Game Predictions & Player Projections - GB vs. CAR

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: GB 24, CAR 31

(Line: CAR by 2.5, O/U = 45)

UPDATE: Devin Funchess was limited on Wednesday and then held on on Friday because of his shoulder. He is still expected to play.

The 7-6 Packers cling to their playoff hopes and keep bailing water until Aaron Rodgers returns which could be as early as this week. The 9-4 Panthers are 4-2 at home and tied for the lead in the NFC South with no margin for error. The Packers won their last two games but the Buccaneers and Browns combine for only a 4-22 record.

Green Bay Packers

1 SEA 17-9 10 @CHI 23-16
2 @ATL 23-34 11 BAL 0-23
3 CIN 27-24 OT 12 @PIT 28-31
4 CHI 35-14 13 TB 26-20
5 @DAL 35-31 14 @CLE 27-21
6 @MIN 10-23 15 @CAR ---
7 NO 17-26 16 MIN ---
8 BYE xxx 17 @DET ---
9 DET 17-30      
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 270,3
RB Jamaal Williams 40 5-30,1
WR Davante Adams 6-90,1
WR Randall Cobb 3-50
WR Jordy Nelson 6-60,1
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers likely need to win out to get into the playoffs and even that is no certainty with ten teams owning at least the same 7-6 record or better and all vying for six spots. Even a win here still pits them against the Vikings who beat them 23-10 in Week 6 when Aaron Rodgers went down and the Lions who beat them 30-17 in Week 9. Rodgers was cleared to return on Tuesday and appears to be ready to play.

QUARTERBACK: By reports, Aaron Rodgers collarbone is still not fully healed but it is good enough to play. I'll project for him to play but track it closely because there is no unanimous sentiment that he is ready or should return this week. Rodgers has not played for eight weeks. If he waits until next week, he faces the same defense that broke his collarbone.

Brett Hundley comes off his best game of the year when he passed for 265 yards and three scores in Cleveland. He was limited to only 84 yards by the Buccaneers but threw for 245 yards and three scores in Pittsburgh in a trap game that nearly happened.

RUNNING BACK: Jamaal Williams is cementing his role as the primary back. He scored in each of the last three games and topped 100 total yards in each. He also scored in each of the last two road games via receptions and caught a season-best seven passes for 69 yards in Cleveland last week. Aaron Jones only ran four times for a net two-yard loss. Williams has allowed the offense to just pound the ball better than any other time this season.

WIDE RECEIVER: Davante Adams continues to excel with Hundley under center even if no other receivers have. Adams totaled nine touchdowns on the year with five coming from Hundley. He turned in at least 80 yards in four of his last five weeks. Randall Cobb managed one score in Week 12 but has otherwise been a nonfactor. The once-top receiver for the Packers, Jordy Nelson hasn't scored or gained more than 35 yards in any game with Hundley.

TIGHT END: No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Panthers secondary has been burnt in several games but that's after facing the top quarterbacks. The same defense held four opponents to no passing scores and mediocre yardage. How well Rodgers plays - if he even does - is hard to gauge even for the future Hall-of-Famer. The upside is there for three scores and the Packers need this game. Bottom line - if Rodgers plays, he is a fantasy starter regardless.

The Panthers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this year and only twice gave up a rushing touchdown at home. This is where Williams will see his scoring streak end though his role as a receiver means he still merits a fantasy start. He's averaged 46 yards per game as a receiver.

Davante Adams is a must-start after scoring in every road game this year. With Rodgers playing, Jordy Nelson is back in play. This is one of the most intriguing games of the week - can Rodgers play and how well?

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 14 20 7 30 26 11
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 8 5 25 3 9 17

Carolina Panthers

1 @SF 23-3 10 MIA 45-21
2 BUF 9-3 11 BYE xxx
3 NO 13-34 12 @NYJ 35-27
4 @NE 33-30 13 @NO 21-31
5 @DET 27-24 14 MIN 31-24
6 PHI 23-28 15 GB ---
7 @CHI 3-17 16 TB ---
8 @TB 17-3 17 @ATL ---
9 ATL 20-17      
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 60,1 190,2
RB Christian McCaffrey 40 4-40,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 100,1
WR Devin Funchess 5-80,1
WR Russell Shepard 3-30
TE Greg Olsen 2-20
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers need to win out and hope that the Saints lose a game since they are tied at 9-4 but the Saints swept them this year. These next two home games should end up as wins but the season finale in Atlanta will be all-important and could end up being a wild card vs. no playoffs. The Panthers won five of their last six while the offense has generated 132 points over the last four weeks while the Panthers become more accustomed to their lower passing production.

QUARTERBACK: Cam Newton hasn't thrown more than 28 passes in the last three weeks and seems stuck at sub-200 yard production due to the low volume. Newton is rushing for more than 50 yards every week now and scored five times as a runner this year. For the first time, he's willingly allowing the running backs to take care of the short-yardage touchdowns.

RUNNING BACK: Jonathan Stewart scored in each of the last three weeks and comes off a career-best three touchdowns in the win over the Vikings when he ran for 103 yards on 16 carries. His yardage tends to remain very low in road games but he broke 100 yards in his last two home games. Christian McCaffrey comes off his worst game since Week 2. He only gained 35 yards on eight runs and caught three passes for 18 yards last Sunday. He had scor3ed in four of the previous five weeks. His role has been smaller in recent weeks while Stewart is getting more rushing opportunities.

WIDE RECEIVER: The reduced passing stats means that Devin Funchess holds the only fantasy value of any Carolina receiver. He scored in three of the last four games and ended with 108 yards in the only scoreless game of that stretch. He even ended with three receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown versus the Vikings last week. No other active receiver has scored or gained more than 45 yards since Week 2.

TIGHT END: Greg Olsen was back, again, but failed to catch his only pass last week. Olsen is still not 100% healed from his foot injury. His workload will grow but only when his foot permits it. For now, he's not worth starting and only totals four catches all year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Packers rank poorly against all positions other than tight end which doesn't matter here this year. The Packers have allowed at least three scores in each of their last two road games along with healthy yardage. In this new run-heavy offense, Newton should still manage a couple of passing scores with a good chance that he'll run one in as well.

Stewart is on a roll scoring touchdowns and that should continue here. The Packers on the road are very forgiving to running backs as both runners and receivers. This should be a bounce-back spot for McCaffrey.

The only receiver that matters faces the No. 28 defense versus wideouts and at home no less. Expect a healthy game from Funchess again this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 7 8 25 32 14 13
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 23 28 28 2 23 20

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