Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is confident the time zone change for Sunday's game against the New York Giants in London will not impact his side's performance.

Packers head coach Matt LeFleur opted to do the bulk of their preparation in Green Bay before flying to London on Thursday evening, with a Friday morning local time arrival.

LaFleur said the game "feels like a Thursday night game" for the coaches in terms of preparation turnaround, but Rodgers laughed that off from a player's perspective.

"Listen, coaches are creatures of habit, even more than players," Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday.

"Anytime there's a minute adjustment to the schedule, it throws them all out of whack, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

"Obviously the time we're leaving might put a little stress on the schedule, but that's way down at the bottom of the concerns… We'll be ready to go."

Rodgers had no complaints about the decision to travel late in the week, although he admitted he would have liked to take in London for a cultural experience.

"We're all excited," he said. "I think the reason I said I wanted to go over early was just to experience a little bit of that culture, to be able to get out and see some sights and interact with fans, go to a pub and have a Guinness or whatever the local brew is.

"That's what we all want to do, those of us that want to go over early."

The four-time NFL MVP said he had his own techniques to deal with jetlag, preferring to keep them secret for a "competitive advantage", but offered some insight into the coming days.

"You knock yourself out," he laughed. "You've got to stay up as late as you can Friday and then it starts to fall into place. But there's no excuses, we'll be trying to sleep on the way out.

"We'll go through the process on Friday, trying to sleep Friday night, hoping for a bit more rest Saturday, have a normal day, get some sleep but both teams are dealing with the same issues."

The Packers have won three straight games to hold a 3-1 record and sit second in the NFC North, while the Giants are also 3-1.

Rodgers has made 89 of 129 attempts with a completion rate of 69 per cent for six touchdowns with three interceptions across four games this season.

This will be the first of the 32 NFL games held in London to feature both teams with winning records.

The Green Bay Packers got the victory but it was far from pretty as Aaron Rodgers had a poor night and the quarterback admitted that "way of winning is not sustainable".

The Packers won 27-24 in over-time against the New England Patriots, who were fielding a third-string rookie quarterback in Bailey Zappe for the majority of the game.

Green Bay trailed 10-7 at the long break after Rodgers had the lowest passer rating (11.2) of any half in any game he has started throughout his career, including a pick-six right on half-time. That was only the fourth pick-six of Rodgers' career and second at Lambeau Field.

Eventually, Rodgers got the Packers off the hook, driving them down the field in over-time to set up Mason Crosby's 31-yard game-winning field goal.

Rodgers finished the game with a completion rate of 60 per cent on 21-of-35 passing for 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"This way of winning, I don't think is sustainable because it puts too much pressure on our defense," Rodgers told reporters. "Obviously, I've got to play better and will play better.

"I think we're going to have to play a little bit better against starting quarterbacks and if our defense isn't playing as well as they can."

On his poor first-half, Rodgers added: "I settled in and usually don't have two terrible halves, so I kind of returned to the form I expect from myself, and we started moving the football."

The win means the Packers improve to a 3-1 record, with running back Aaron Jones playing a key role with 110 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Green Bay may have wrapped up the win in regulation time when Rodgers found Romeo Doubs with a 40-yard pass in the endzone with 2:02 remaining, but the rookie wide receiver clearly did not secure the catch.

Despite that, Packers head coach Matt LeFleur threw the red flag to challenge what he thought was a touchdown, costing his side a timeout that would have helped his side win in regulation time.

"I'm not too proud of that moment," LaFleur said. "That was an emotional decision, and I think it's a great learning lesson that you can never make those emotional decisions in the heat of battle.

"You know better. You've got to survive the ground. [Packers assistant quarterbacks coach] Connor Lewis was in my ear, he's up in the box and he's in my ear, and he said, 'I don't think so.' And he said that we shouldn't challenge it.

"Just made an emotional decision, and it was almost like throwing a Hail Mary. That could have came back and bit us in the butt."

The Packers next face the New York Giants (3-1) in London on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Raiders rode a massive game from running back Josh Jacobs to a 32-23 home win against the Denver Broncos, marking their first win of the season.

Desperate for a result after an 0-3 start, the Raiders largely played a risk-averse style as they trusted Jacobs to carry the ball 28 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Derek Carr posted 188 yards and no touchdowns.

The Raiders led 19-16 at halftime after Russell Wilson completed first-half touchdown passes to both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, but when starting running back Javonte Williams was forced to leave the game with an injury, the offense began to stall.

A pair of field goals gave the Raiders a 25-16 lead, which was trimmed to 25-23 when Wilson was able to scamper in for a three-yard rushing touchdown.

But the Raiders would not be denied, marching down the field one more time and punctuating it with Jacobs' second touchdown

The Broncos were yet to concede 100 rushing yards to any player in a single game this season, which was broken by Jacobs, and also had not faced a 100-yard receiver, which was broken by Davante Adams as he collected nine catches for 101 yards.

K.J. Hamler led the Broncos in receiving yards, and all 55 of his yards came on one catch as Wilson completed 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards and two scores.

Dynamic duo deliver for the Packers in overtime

Arguably the best running back duo in the league, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon were both strong in the Green Bay Packers' 27-24 overtime win against the New England Patriots.

After backup Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered an injury in the first quarter, it was up to rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe to lead New England the rest of the way, and he was more than respectable. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, leading two touchdown drives in the second half to force overtime.

Rookie Packers receiver Romeo Doubs was the man to tie the game at 24-24 with his 13-yard touchdown catch, giving him touchdowns in back-to-back games as he tries to establish himself as Rodgers' top target.

In overtime, the Packers mounted a 13-play, 77-yard game-winning drive that featured seven runs, with Jones reaching 110 yards on 16 carries while Dillon had 73 yards on 17 carries.

Rodgers finished with a solid line of 21 completions from 35 attempts with 251 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Tom Brady acknowledges there have been problems with "execution" right throughout the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense this season.

The Bucs ranked second in both total touchdowns (63), yards (6,901) and points (511) in 2021, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys in each category.

But after losing 14-12 to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 this year, Tampa Bay rank joint-27th in total TDs (four), 25th in yards (892) and joint-21st in points (51).

Never has Brady thrown fewer TD passes through his first three starts of a season (three), while only in four seasons has he had fewer passing yards at this stage (673).

"We've just got to do a better job," said Brady, who insisted a finger injury had "zero" impact on the Packers result.

"I wish it was one thing; we're not running as good as we're capable, the passing game hasn't been very good, our screen game. There are a lot of things."

He added: "Our job is to go out there and score points, so we're just not doing it. We're not going to score points if we don't execute well.

"They [the Packers] did a better job than us – good defense, good, physical defense, I give them a lot of credit.

"They forced us to make a lot of good plays, and we just didn't do a great job in execution."

Still, Brady is not panicking, saying: "We're 2-1. There's a lot of football left. We'll keep working at it.

"It doesn't get any easier next week, going up against the Chiefs, but no one feels sorry for us, nor should we. We've just got to go back to work."

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers emerged 14-12 victors against Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's battle between the legendary quarterbacks.

Despite the presence of arguably the two greatest quarterbacks of this generation, it was the defenses who reigned supreme as the Bucs were only able to score three points in the first half, before holding the Packers scoreless in the second half.

Both teams were missing a number of receiving weapons, and taking advantage of his expanded role was Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs, catching three passes including a touchdown on Green Bay's very first drive.

The Packers' second drive ended in a touchdown as well, with Rodgers finding Allen Lazard for a 12-yard score with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, and it would be their last points of the night as their next nine drives resulted in seven punts, one fumble and one interception.

Rodgers finished 27 of 35 for 255 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Brady struggled to find any connection with his makeshift receiving core, except with Russell Gage, who caught 12 of his 13 targets for 87 yards and the Bucs' only touchdown to cut the margin to 14-12 with 14 seconds remaining.

But Brady was not able to complete the two-point conversion, and the Buccaneers could not recover the onside kick, ending the game. Brady finished 31 of 42 for 271 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

Trevor Lawrence announces his arrival with emphatic blowout

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was called a generational prospect when he was selected first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he began to fulfill that promise as he pounded the Los Angeles Chargers 38-10.

Lawrence completed 28 of 39 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers – completing touchdown passes to Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones Jr.

As well as getting arguably Lawrence's best showing as a professional, the Jaguars continued to get production from running back James Robinson, posting 100 rushing yards and a touchdown from 17 carries, while also catching three passes for 16 yards.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert came into the game nursing fractured rib cartilage and he struggled throughout, although some late garbage-time action padded his stats to a respectable 25 of 45 for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Green Bay Packers' trip to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday will be a tale of two veteran quarterbacks, though each has different form in previous fixtures heading into the latest encounter.

Tom Brady has thrown 11 touchdowns with zero interceptions in his last five games against the Packers, while Aaron Rodgers has eight touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his five career games against the Buccaneers – the only NFL team he has thrown more interceptions against than touchdowns.

In 2022, both quarterbacks have two touchdown passes from their opening two games of the season with neither team excelling in the air, the Buccaneers having 402 receiving yards, putting them 26th in the rankings, while the Packers are 19th with 494 yards.

The Packers have been far more effective with the ball on the ground, accumulating 314 rushing yards and ranking sixth in the NFL, while the Buccaneers are 14th with 224 yards – 192 of which have come from Leonard Fournette.

Defensively is where Tampa Bay have shone, allowing the fewest points in the NFL this season (13); a tally which stands third in their best-ever starts to the season behind 1992 (10 points) and 2003 (12 points).

The Packers are no pushovers though, allowing their opponents a total of 33 points in the opening two matches and ranking seventh in that regard. Second-half defence has been integral to that, giving up just nine points.

With the teams looking well-matched on both sides of the field, it may come down to individual mistakes in possession and the Buccaneers have the edge in that aspect, fumbling just once this season compared to the Packers four.

Is two games enough of a sample size to glean pertinent information about an NFL team's prospects? Probably not.

Has that ever stopped anyone from making definitive statements about teams and the potential outcome of their season? You already know the answer to that one.

But one thing nobody -- not even the loudest talking head -- can say for certain is that they know who the frontrunner is in the NFC.

In the AFC, plenty are already falling over themselves to crown the Buffalo Bills. An extremely compelling case can be made for the Chiefs and maybe even the Los Angeles Chargers if they can keep Justin Herbert from further injury.

The NFC, though? That's an extremely tough conference to decipher at this early stage.

That is not to say there aren't standout teams. To the contrary, there are six that look to have an excellent shot of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl as they all reside in the top 10 of Stats Perform's power rankings.

Two of them will face off at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Green Bay Packers in what could be the final meeting between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, who met in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago. The Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams will visit the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of last year's title game in Week 4.

But which of that group has the best shot? Stats Perform has used its advanced data to examine the case for each of the six.
 

Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 2-0

Power ranking: 1

The Eagles have firmly lived up to their offseason hype so far, with Jalen Hurts piloting an efficient offense that is the most explosive in the NFL through two weeks.

Indeed, the Eagles are fourth in yards per play on offense while, prior to Thursday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, no team in the NFL had produced more plays of 10 yards or more than Philadelphia's 39.

A.J. Brown, their blockbuster draft-day trade acquisition, has quickly built a superb rapport with Hurts. The former Tennessee Titans wide receiver has registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 14 of his 21 targets and is averaging 8.2 burn yards per route (the league average is 3.6).

The threat Hurts provides in the run game has helped Philadelphia rack up 189.5 yards per game on the ground, second only to the Browns. While a small sample size, the Eagles' early success on the ground is illustrative of just how difficult they are to stop with the diversity of their attack.

There's more reason for doubt on defense, with a three-interception effort against the Minnesota Vikings in which the Eagles allowed only seven points following a 38-35 shootout with the Detroit Lions. Yet a very favourable schedule may not see any defensive failings properly tested until Week 12 against the Packers and allow Philadelphia to move into prime position to compete for the NFC's top seed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 2-0

Power ranking: 4

Tampa Bay's average margin of victory across two games is 13 points. The Bucs eased past the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 and eventually emerged from a fist fight with the New Orleans Saints as 20-10 victors.

Yet it's tough to declare their start to the season as overly impressive, at least by Brady's lofty standards.

The Bucs have scored only two offensive touchdowns as they have battled injuries at the wide receiver position and struggles on the much-changed interior of the offensive line.

Rather than Brady making a hot start to the season he initially decided against playing, it is the Bucs' defense that has led the way.

There were 182 seconds left in their game with the Saints by the time they surrendered a touchdown for the first time this season, with the Bucs conceding only 4.25 yards per play, the third-fewest in the NFL.

Rodgers and Green Bay will provide an early and stern test of their credentials, but there is evidence to suggest the Bucs will eventually have a recipe for a potential second championship run in three seasons.

For all the protection issues in front of him, Brady has delivered a well-thrown ball on 81.7 per cent of his pass attempts and has thrown just one pickable pass in 60 throws. Given the defense's level of play and the weapons the Bucs still have to return, it stands to reason they will soon be delivering much more complete performances that will greatly enhance their reputation as contenders.

Los Angeles Rams

Record 1-1

Power ranking: 3

Thrashed by Buffalo on the night they raised their Super Bowl banner before having to survive a remarkable late scare against the lowly Atlanta Falcons, the Rams do not look like a team ready to repeat.

They still sit third in the power rankings, but there are plenty of red flags surrounding the Rams in this embryonic season.

It is the pass protection that stands as the most pressing concern, Matthew Stafford was under constant duress in the opener and injuries up front have hurt the Rams' cause further, hindering Stafford to the point where he is averaging almost half a yard under expectation in expected passing situations.

With 58 total points allowed, there are clearly vast improvements to be made on defense, too.

However, Aaron Donald already has a league-leading 17 pressures and Jalen Ramsey came up with the game-clinching interception in the endzone against Atlanta, and that often decisive star power makes the Rams a tough team to count out, especially with a game against an Arizona Cardinals team they have consistently dominated on the horizon in Week 3.

San Francisco 49ers

Record 1-1

Power ranking: 5

The greatest threat to the Rams from inside their own division comes from the team who suffered an injury that would have ended the hopes of most teams in the league.

San Francisco lost quarterback Trey Lance in just his second game of his first season as starter in the 49ers' 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Yet, by keeping Jimmy Garoppolo around on a restructured contract, the 49ers gave themselves an insurance policy, one that can keep them firmly in the mix even without Lance.

Garoppolo has helped the 49ers to the brink of Super Bowl glory in the 2019 season and the NFC Championship Game last term and, while the Niners' ceiling without Lance is perhaps lowered, the floor of Super Bowl-calibre roster has been raised by the former New England Patriot's return to the line-up.

Though they suffered an upset at the hands of a Chicago Bears in Week 1, the 49ers have one of the most complete rosters in the league and their defense is off to a magnificent start, allowing the second-fewest yards per play (4.08) in the NFL.

It was anticipated the safety position may be a weakness. Instead, it has so far been an unexpected strength, as has an inexperienced and remodelled offensive line that has won 81.6 per cent of its pass-blocking matchups. It will be tough to identify an obvious flaw on this team if the pass protection continues to excel, with the play in the trenches made even more critical because of Garoppolo's long injury history.

Minnesota Vikings

Record: 1-1

Power ranking: 8

Hopes the Vikings could become one of the most dynamic offensive teams in football under Kevin O'Connell were damaged by Monday's 24-7 defeat to the Eagles.

Despite another vintage primetime meltdown from Kirk Cousins, the Vikings have the makeup of a team that could contend to go deep in the NFC playoffs if things break right.

They demonstrated how dangerous O'Connell's offense can be in their opening win over the Packers, with Justin Jefferson weaponised by the former Rams assistant's complex attack.

Even though he was kept in check by Philadelphia, Jefferson's 8.5 burn yards per target are the fifth-most among receivers with at least 10 targets in the first two games.

The offensive line remains a problem, but the early signs are that the Vikings' defensive front will be one that tilts games in their favour, having already registered six sacks for negative yardage.

Cousins is delivering the ball accurately, posting a well-thrown rate of 86.5 per cent and, though there are questions about his ability to perform under the brightest spotlight, a schedule that features 10 games against 2021 non-playoff teams could give the Vikings the edge of their division rivals in the fight to get to the NFL's postseason pressure cooker.

Green Bay Packers

Record: 1-1

Power ranking: 9

The Packers got the poor start out of the way in a Week 1 loss in Minnesota that left Aaron Rodgers visibly exasperated. Normal service was resumed, however, in the routine Week 2 win over the Bears.

Green Bay's problem is that the Packers have a roster in which several holes can be picked. The offensive line has struggled amid left tackle David Bakhtiari's prolonged absence, while the Packers' hopes of fixing their continually porous run defense have not come to pass as yet. They have surrendered 5.56 yards per play on the ground, the fourth-most in the NFL.

Rodgers has yet to build a rapport with a young receiver corps as the Packers look to put the Davante Adams saga and eventual trade to the Las Vegas Raiders behind them. Though the lack of a connection may be more down to a paucity of faith in his inexperienced wideouts' ability to catch the ball, rather than any worries about their success in creating separation.

Second-round pick Christian Watson has recorded an impressive 14.4 burn yards per target on the small sample size of seven targets. With Rodgers delivering a well-thrown ball on 89.3 per cent of his attempts, it might not be too long before Watson becomes a more integral part of the passing game, though the diversity the Packers gain through having running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on the field at the same time can keep the offense performing efficiently regardless of how the wideouts progress.

Jones, unquestionably one of the most complete backs in the NFL, has produced a big play on three of his eight targets this season, with defenses forced to respect both the run and the pass when he and Dillon line up in two-running back personnel groupings.

The Packers' secondary, despite being shredded by Jefferson in Week 1, is in the top 12 in open percentage allowed while the strength of their defensive line has Green Bay in the top 12 in pass rush win percentage.

Both the front and the back of the Green Bay defense have the talent to rise much higher on those lists and, if such strides are accompanied by Rodgers developing an understanding with his new weapons, the Packers will likely soon have a compelling case for being the conference's elite.

Tom Brady has brushed off concerns about an injury to the ring finger of his throwing hand despite the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback appearing in discomfort at practice on Thursday.

The 45-year-old has had a slow start in the first two games of the season, throwing for fewer than 225 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since Week 14 and 15 of the 2019 season.

Brady has thrown two touchdown passes for 402 yards with a 59 per cent completion rate, but despite that the Bucs have a winning record at 2-0, largely due to their defense.

The seven-time Super Bowl winner revealed earlier this week he had injured his right ring finger in Sunday's 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Brady appeared in discomfort at practice on Thursday, too, but downplayed any issue ahead of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

"Great. I feel great," Brady told reporters with a hint of sarcasm. "It's football season."

Brady was not named on the Buccaneers' injury report earlier this week.

He had told the 'Let's Go!' Podcast on Monday: "I banged it up pretty good, but it didn't affect me at all in the game. It's just going to be sore throughout the week. But it's one of those bumps and bruises that comes along with playing.

"Different things – you get hit and you get kicked and you get kneed – all these things that come up. It's demolition derby out there.

"It's who can recover fast enough in order to put yourself in position to practice, prepare and then go play the next week, so lots of bumps and bruises to take care of over the season."

Aaron Rodgers showed that he still owns the Chicago Bears after leading the Green Bay Packers with two touchdown passes in a 27-10 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Running back Aaron Jones was outstanding with two touchdowns for the Packers, who bounced back from their 23-7 Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay have now won their home opener in 10 consecutive years.

Rodgers was the center of attention, given his history against NFC North rivals Chicago, improving his all-time record against the Bears to 24-5. On Sunday, he had two touchdown passes, completing 19-of-25 for 234 yards, meaning in his past four games against the Bears he has 14 touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Packers QB brought up his 450th career passing touchdown for Jones' first as Green Bay piled on three second-quarter touchdowns after Justin Fields had run into the endzone to give the Bears an early lead.

In the second half, Rodgers also tied a career-high 14 consecutive completions, matching a mark he set back in 2014 against the New York Jets.

Beyond Rodgers' contribution, Green Bay had almost 200 rushing yards from Jones (15 carries for 132 yards) and AJ Dillon (18 carries for 61 yards) adding variety to their offense. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins had three receptions for 93 yards including a fourth-quarter 55-yard gain to flip the field.

Jones got the first 'Lambeau Leap' of the season after weaving his way into the endzone, before he also ran around the edge from Rodgers' pass to open up a 17-7 lead. Rodgers found Randall Cobb to pick up 20, before sending a laser to Allen Lazard for their third TD before half-time.

Fields, who twice fell short of a running touchdown on the goal-line in the fourth quarter, completed seven-of-11 attempts for 70 yards with one interception, with David Montgomery running 122 yards from 15 carries. Jaire Alexander's late interception sealed the win for the Packers.

George Kittle will be absent for the San Francisco 49ers for the second week in a row, having been ruled out of Sunday's division match-up against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Pro Bowl tight end missed the 49ers' shock Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears with a groin injury but returned to practice on Friday, though he carried a questionable status.

Kittle has now been officially ruled as inactive for Week 2, marking the fourth consecutive season where he has missed multiple games.

After last week's loss to the Bears, the 49ers are 6-9 in games without Kittle during his career, including losses in six of their last seven without him.

San Francisco have lost four in a row to the Seahawks, who begun their season with a surprising victory against the Denver Broncos in Russell Wilson's return to Seattle.

George Kittle's status for the San Francisco 49ers' Week 2 clash with the Seattle Seahawks is up in the air, with conflicting reports over whether he will play.

Pro Bowl tight end Kittle missed the 49ers' shock Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears with a groin injury.

Kittle returned to practice on Friday, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported he is not expected to play as the 49ers look to avoid an 0-2 start in Trey Lance's first season as the starting quarterback.

However, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport labelled Kittle as a "game-time decision". According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Kittle is pushing to play despite the 49ers preparing to once again be without him.

The highlight of the early window of games is the NFC South clash between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay will be without one wide receiver as Chris Godwin misses out because of a hamstring injury, but Mike Evans (calf) is expected to play. Veteran Julio Jones (knee) is questionable and the Bucs reportedly do not expect to know if he will be available until pre-game warm-ups.

Running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is set to play, but left tackle Donovan Smith is doubtful with an elbow injury.

For the Saints, running back Alvin Kamara is likely to miss out due to a rib injury, but his backup Mark Ingram (ankle) is expected to play, as is quarterback Jameis Winston (back).

In the Sunday night game, the Green Bay Packers are set to welcome back wide receiver Allen Lazard (ankle) for their encounter with the Bears at Lambeau Field.

Aaron Rodgers believes a little tough love will help Packers rookie wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs make "the jump" into fully-fledged NFL performers.

The Green Bay quarterback saw Watson's early drop of a would-be touchdown prove costly against the Minnesota Vikings as the Packers began with a 23-7 loss on Sunday.

That Week 1 blow could prove a bellwether of the Packers' season, following the trade of All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rodgers appeared frustrated when second-round pick Watson beat veteran Patrick Peterson but let a perfectly placed deep ball slip through his fingers, scuppering the prospect of bringing the Packers back to level terms at 7-7 early in the game.

Speaking after the game, Rodgers said that Watson knew there would be "growing pains" as he looks to become established at the top level.

With time to think since the game, Rodgers said on Wednesday the Packers have "got to be patient", 

"The most important thing we're going to be harping on is the preparation and the fundamentals and the little things," he said.

"The jump happens when you don't become a robot anymore. You understand the 'why' and the 'what' – why are we doing what we're doing and what are we trying to accomplish? And it takes a while for anybody."

Rodgers does not believe there should be too much leeway, though, and says any player should be given it straight, in an appropriate way, if they fail to come up with the goods.

"There's going to be mistakes. So, hold them accountable and prepare and communicate as well as we can, but it's not throwing to older guys out there," Rodgers said.

"It's young guys who are very talented, who are going to make some great plays by not actually knowing what they're doing sometimes, and there's going to be times when they don't make the right reaction and just having patience with that because, I think, by the end of the year, they'll have it figured out."

That bodes well for the future, if Rodgers' vision plays out, and Packers coach Matt LaFleur is trusting his QB to nurture the relationship with 23-year-old Watson and 22-year-old Doubs.

The Packers tackle the Chicago Bears in Week 2.

LaFleur said Rodgers would likely want to try again with some of the plays he attempted on Sunday.

"That happens every game, right?" said the Packers coach. "But I think he's done a great job of demanding the urgency from those young guys, yet putting an arm around them as well at the same time."

Aaron Rodgers urged patience with the Green Bay Packers' young wide receiver group after rookie Christian Watson's early drop of a would-be touchdown proved costly against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers, playing their first regular-season game since trading All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, averaged just 5.3 yards per pass in a listless 23-7 defeat to the Vikings in Week 1.

Green Bay would have put up more points if not for a loss of concentration from second-round pick Watson, who beat veteran Patrick Peterson on a downfield route but let a perfectly placed deep ball from Rodgers slip through his fingers on the Packers' first offensive play of the game.

That would have tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, and the Packers did not find the endzone until the third, by which point they were in a 20-0 hole.

Rodgers looked visibly exasperated after the Watson drop and cut a frustrated figure during the loss. 

However, he accepts that such moments are going to be part of the process of replacing Adams in part with two rookies in Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs.

"He [Watson] knew there was gonna be growing pains, this is the real football, it counts, it's different, there's nerves," Rodgers said. 

"I thought Christian ran a great route to start the game. We talked about it during the week, 'Do you really want to start off with a bomb shot?'

"I said, 'Yeah what the hell? Why not? This kid can really fly, let's give him a chance', we've got to make those plays.

"We've got to have patience with those guys, they're young, they haven't been in the fire.

"That patience will be thinner as the season goes on but the expectation will be high, so we'll keep them accountable but it's gonna happen, there's gonna be drops, hate to see it on the first play but there's gonna be drops throughout the season.

"We had a lot of chances today. Not taking anything away from [the Vikings'] defense, but we hurt ourselves many times, myself included. I had a lot of opportunities to score a lot more than seven.

"[We] made a lot of mistakes in the perimeter, missed some throws, so there's a lot to clean up all the way around."

The Packers will look to bounce back in Week 2 when they have a second straight divisional game, this time at home to the Chicago Bears.

The Minnesota Vikings earned an important divisional win at home in Week 1, defeating the Green Bay Packers 23-7 after a massive game from star receiver Justin Jefferson on Sunday.

Jefferson was named second-team All-Pro last year in his second season in the league, and he showed against the Packers why many feel he could be the top wide receiver in the entire league.

He had three catches for 47 yards and a touchdown on the first drive alone, before going on to finish with gaudy figures of nine catches for 184 yards and two scores.

While Jefferson was the offensive star, the Vikings' defense was the reason they won the game, holding the Packers scoreless in the first half to head into the long break leading 17-0.

With Aaron Rodgers' former top target Davante Adams traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason, he struggled to move the ball downfield. While Adams racked up 10 catches and 141 yards from 17 targets in his Raiders debut, no Green Bay receiver finished with more than Romeo Doubs' four catches for 37 yards from five targets, although running back A.J. Dillon did reach 46 receiving yards after some garbage-time action.

Coming off back-to-back league MVP awards, Rodgers finished a disappointing 22-of-34 for 195 yards, throwing one interception and no touchdowns. He was also sacked four times by the impressive Vikings pass rush, including one by former Packers edge rusher Za'Darius Smith.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins enjoyed a clean start to the season, going 23-of-32 for 277 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, while top running back Dalvin Cook was strong with 20 carries for 90 yards.

Barkley announces return to form in Giants win

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley had not scored a touchdown since Week 4 of last season, but he found form again in style as he carried his side to a 21-20 win on the road against the Tennessee Titans.

Barkley, the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, had been questioned about if he would ever return to his best, but he looked like the old Barkley against the Titans as he piled up 164 yards and a touchdown from 18 carries, while adding six catches for 30 yards through the air.

As well as dominating through the middle stages of the contest, he also delivered in a big spot to decide the game, converting a two-point conversion after Daniel Jones threw what ended up being the game-winning touchdown with one minute to play.

The Titans got the ball back and worked their way into field goal range, but with a chance to hit a walk-off game winner, Randy Bullock pulled the 47-yard kick left to gift the win to the Giants.

Matt LaFleur can join a select NFL club if the Green Bay Packers prevail in what should be an enthralling NFC North clash with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.

LaFleur has enjoyed a stunning start to his head coaching career in Green Bay, guiding the Packers to two NFC Championship Game appearances in the past three seasons.

He has compiled a 39-10 regular-season record, and no head coach has won more games in his first three seasons, with LaFleur surpassing George Seifert, who won 38 after taking over from the great Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers.

Should he guide the Packers to triumph in Minnesota, LaFleur will become the third head coach in NFL history with 40 wins through 50 career games, joining Paul Brown (41) and Chuck Knox (40).

The Packers lost a 34-31 thriller on the road against the Vikings last year and, while the outcome is far from guaranteed, there is a strong chance this game will also be high scoring.

Indeed, in their 22 road games against the Vikings this century, Green Bay have scored 30 or more points in 10 of them. That is tied for the most 30-point games by an NFL team at a single opponent in that time with the New England Patriots at the Buffalo Bills. 

The Packers will not have Davante Adams after his blockbuster offseason trade to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Yet history says Aaron Rodgers will have no problem putting up points despite the departure of his former favourite target.

Since becoming Green Bay’s starter in 2008, Rodgers has thrown 169 touchdowns against division opponents compared to 25 interceptions.

By comparison, the Vikings have 121 passing touchdowns and 73 interceptions against the NFC North in that span.

A trip to Minnesota represents an early test of the Packers' Super Bowl credentials, but the numbers point to them passing it and LaFleur bringing up win 40.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.