Fans of the Green Bay Packers have high expectations Youth Jamaal Williams Jersey , and rightfully so. The team has been a serious contender in the NFC for years, though the defense has often let down the rest of the squad come playoff time. In 2014, the last time the team featured above-average units on both sides of the football, the Packers were in the NFC Championship Game and should have made it to the Super Bowl.This year, expectations were high once again, as the team shuffled the coaching staff and front office along with swaths of the the defensive roster. But though six games, the Packers are 3-2-1 and face their toughest stretch of the season in the coming weeks.That’s what makes this week’s FanPulse surveys so interesting. The results show that although a majority of Packers fans expect the team to make it to the postseason in 2018, confidence in the franchise’s overall direction is still quite low.Overall, a majority of Packers fans voted “Yes” when asked if the team would make the playoffs this year, with the yeas leading by a margin of 55-45 percent. However, only 32 percent of the same survey respondents said that they were confident in the team’s direction. That tells this writer that many people are expecting a disappointing one-and-done postseason for this team, which certainly would fall far short of fans’ hopes for the team. Still, Packers fans’ responses outpace the odds of the team making the playoffs according to Football Outsiders http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-aaron-rodgers-jersey , who put the Packers at just a 43.4% chance.Another interesting note is that fans of 16 other teams have a higher confidence level in their team making the postseason, with Packers fans being the 17th to have a better than 50/50 vote. But even though the Packers sit a half-game ahead of 3-3 Chicago and Detroit in the division and in sixth place in the NFC at present, fans of both of those teams (plus fans of the Vikings) have larger portions of their fanbases that see them making the postseason. 100% of Vikings fans voted Yes, but the Lions had 66% Yes votes and the Bears 57%.As for the overall confidence index, the Packers’ numbers dropped two percent following the comeback victory against the 49ers and the bye week, dropping from 34% to 32%. We’ll see next week if there are any notable changes after the Packers’ game against the 7-0 Rams. We’re back in action this week with all four teams playing in three games across the NFC North. The Lions and Vikings are meeting for the first time this season in Minnesota. We also get the Chicago Bears playing the Bills and the matchup we’re all waiting for: Rodgers vs. Brady.This is the first time since 2014 that the Packers and Patriots have played against one another as the teams play each other only once every four years.That Sunday night tilt will provide us with plenty of fantasy action to look forward to, but first, let’s look at the two noon games.Lions @ VikingsStart: Marvin Jones Jr., WRWith Golden Tate being shipped out to Philadelphia, there’s a healthy amount of passing targets being left on the table. Tate was actually leading the team in targets with 69, while Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay sit at 47 and 44 targets, respectively. Golladay has clearly emerged as the top wide receiver in Detroit given his ability to be more than a deep threat, which is what Jones is. Due to injuries with their defensive backs Randall Cobb Jersey , Minnesota has been struggling with covering WR2s—which is where I would qualify Jones at this point. The Vikings rank 26th in passing DVOA against the number two wide receiver. Jones will look to build off a strong week 8 in which he torched Seattle to the tune of 117 yards and two touchdowns.Sit: Theo Riddick, RBMinnesota is dead last in passing DVOA against running backs so it’s tempting to start the traditional passing down option. It would behoove the Lions to keep getting Kerryon Johnson as many touches as possible, though. Last week, Johnson had six catches for 69 yards against a defense that is significantly better at defending RBs in the passing game. They could default to Riddick, but I’m looking elsewhere to fill the flex spot. Bears @ BillsStart: Jordan HowardIs the Howard train back on the tracks? To quote the great Dollar Bill Stern: “I’m not uncertain.” So, yes, I’m buying stock in Howard having another solid day—if not great day. Howard hasn’t been putting up the yardage totals he has in the past, due to Chicago’s pass heavy approach and getting Tarik Cohen involved, but Howard has found the end zone in each of the past two games. Buffalo is more stingy against the pass than the run, but if Nathan Peterman gets the call to start, that means plenty of offense for the Bears. With Khalil Mack and those boys bearing down (pun intended) on Peterman all Sunday afternoon, there are bound to be turnovers and three-and-outs. If the Bears get up early, they’ll likely grind out some yardage with Howard.Sit: Allen Robinson II Authentic Corey Linsley Jersey , WRWhile there are plenty of reasons to start all possible Bears, I’m shaky on starting Robinson. He’s still coming off a groin injury that forced him to miss Week 8. Tre’Davious White has been really good this season so couple that with an injury and Robinson might not get that many looks. That’s if he plays. Monitor his status closely, but also he’s not higher than a flex player.Packers @ PatriotsStart: Aaron Jones!Look, I’ve been singing his praises all season long and screaming into the void about his usage. But now that Ty Montgomery was traded to Baltimore at the trade deadline, that makes this a two-back committee and not a revolving door of running backs. Mike McCarthy might have been saved from himself with that trade.Jones only carried the ball 12 times against the Rams, but he showed enough to be trusted not just running the ball, but on passing downs as well. Hopefully, the Packers will be able to do enough to keep the game close and run the ball effectively.Sit: Packers DefenseIt’s tough to play any defense against Tom Brady, but I’m more curious to see how this defense operates without Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at safety. They traded away the always-available Packer to Washington and expect to see Tramon Williams spend time at safety. Williams played there a little when DC Mike Pettine was the head coach in Cleveland. It’s still a risky play. If Jaire Alexander continues to show out and Josh Jackson gets more reps, we’ll talk about this defense next week.
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