By DAN ZIELINSKI
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back after missing the last two months, but he isn’t returning for a favorable matchup. The Packers hit the road to face the Carolina Panthers, who have the No. 5-ranked defense.
While the Packers’ offense will be more consistent with Rodgers in the fold, they will have difficulties against a Panthers’ defense that’s allowing the second-fewest passing yards per game.
For the Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton isn’t an elite passer and will miss throws on occasion. But his mobility will cause havoc for Green Bay’s 25th-ranked defense. Newton is averaging 209.2 passing and 45 rushing yards per game this season.
Coach Mike McCarthy’s Packers have won back-to-back games, but their winning streak and playoff hopes will come to a halt against Carolina.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Packers 20