The Cleveland Browns begin their final road trip of the first half of the 2013 regular season with a trip to famed Lambeau Field for an inter-conference game against the Green Bay Packers of the NFC North Division on Sunday.
And in addition to playing in front of 80,750 passionate Packer fans, the Browns have to contend with a potent offense, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“They present a big challenge for us on the road,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “I’m confident that we’ll embrace that challenge and our players will be excited about playing. To start with them offensively, outstanding offense, really been playing with good balance recently this season.
“Obviously, they’re still very explosive, make big plays and are able to score a lot of points. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (is) a great player. He has the whole package: decisions, accuracy, his mobility and the production obviously that he is able to have.”
Rodgers has completed 118 of 184 attempts (64.1 percent) for 1,646 yards with 10 touchdowns against four interceptions. In the second half of the Packers’ previous five games, Rodgers has completed 50 passes for 840 yards and five touchdowns, including an 83-yard score, and carried a 105.7 quarterback rating after halftime.
“Out of a quarterback, what you want is making the right decisions and distributing the ball. Sometimes, some guys are going to have big games. Sometimes, other guys are going to have big games. Ultimately, it’s about production and getting your team in the end zone, and that’s what Aaron Rodgers has done great job of over his career.”
Rodgers has distributed the ball to 12 different Packers’ players, most notably, wide receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb has turned 29 receptions into 378 yards and two touchdowns, but will miss significant time because of a serious leg injury suffered in a 19-17 win at the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.
Fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson has gained 484 yards and scored four touchdowns on 27 catches.
In addition to the wide receivers, Rodgers has utilized tight end Jermichael Finley. Finley has accounted for 228 yards and two touchdowns on 20 receptions, and averages better than a first down with each catch.
“Obviously, they’re missing Cobb for this week, but Jordy Nelson, (Packers wide receiver James) Jones and Finley are all guys that can be matchup issues,” Chudzinski said. “You look at them, they can be very versatile, and size-wise make plays, great hands, all of those things that they have.”
When Rodgers is not passing the football, he is handing it off to the running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy leads the team with 270 yards and one touchdown on 61 carries, while Starks is averaging 5.5 yards over 34 rushing attempts.
“Their running backs have been very productive this year,” Chudzinski said. “Lacy has made a big difference for them and Starks is playing well. A number of games, they have had 100-plus rushing games. They have a solid offensive line that blocks very well in their zone schemes.”