The first full week of the NFL Preseason gets underway on Thursday night. Tonight we will see the Green Bay Packers travel to the West Coast to take on the San Diego Chargers. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have the the Chargers favored by 1 point for the game, while the total sits at 37.5.
Free Analysis: After having nearly seven months to vent over a shocking early exit from the postseason, the Green Bay Packers begin their quest for redemption with a visit to Qualcomm Stadium for a preseason-opening matchup with the San Diego Chargers. The Green Bay Packers dominated the 2011 NFL regular season finishing 15-1. Their hopes of a Super Bowl repeat were cut short by eventual the Super Bowl 46 Champion New York Giants. Green Bay will be looking to build on a defense that was a liability in 2011. Charles Woodson will be making a hopeful seamless transition to strong safety after playing all of his 15 years in the league at corner back. The addition of first-round draft pick Nick Perry at outside linebacker will make Clay Matthews job a little easier when it comes to rushing the quarterback. Along with fellow rookie Jerel Worthy added on the defensive line, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers will look to recapture the dominance his defense had on their Super Bowl run two years ago. Green Bay has far fewer concerns on an offense directed by reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers, so it's likely that the prolific quarterback sees minimal action in Thursday's game. He'll also be operating without two key members against the Chargers, with Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings and starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse both ruled out after sustaining concussions in a recent scrimmage. San Diego is also well set at the quarterback spot with four-time 4,000-yard passer Philip Rivers at the helm, and he's expected to have limited snaps as well in the opener. Backup Charlie Whitehurst won't play at all due to a strained knee, leaving the majority of Thursday's duties to journeyman Kevin O'Connell and undrafted rookie Jarrett Lee. Slot receivers Eddie Royal and Roscoe Parrish will also sit out for San Diego due to groin injuries, while regular left tackle Jared Gaither is questionable after missing some practice time with a sore back. Defensively, San Diego seems to always have play-makers that come out of nowhere. Look for that next LB to be someone they drafted high to already be that in Melvin Ingram or perhaps NFL journeyman and 9-year veteran Demorrio Williams. Overall the Chargers defense could be once again one of the best in the NFL top to bottom. This clash will also contain a historic first, with Shannon Eastin slated to become the first female official to work an NFL game when she serves as referee. Eastin was among the replacements hired by the league while it remains at an impasse in labor negotiations with the Referees Association.
Free Pick: We will go with the Under in this one. We know that both of these offenses can score a ton of points, but really the first team offenses won't be out there much in this one. SD is even missing backup Charlie Whitehurst, so once Rivers is gone I just don't see SD putting up very many points. Green Bay's offense is one of the best in the league and they have very little question marks on that side of the ball, so expect minimal snaps for their first team offense as well. Defense is where these teams need to concentrate. The Pack was at or near the bottom of many defensive categories and they used their first 6 draft picks on that side of the ball, sio I really expect McCarthy to concentrate on the defense in this one. The Chargers had a down year defensively as well and used their first 3 picks on defense, so I expect Turner to worry more about that side of the ball in this one as well. Very hard to see either team hitting 20 points in this one as this game is played in the lower 30's.
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