The Green Bay Packers head into a critical two-game road swing with an important ingredient added to their offense.
Balance, in the form of the emergence of running back Aaron Jones. The 'other Aaron' rushed for 145 yards in Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. Aaron Rodgers passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns to Devante Adams as Green Bay finished with 28 passes and 25 runs.
Forcing defenses to fear the run will be key as the Packers (4-4-1) prepare for road games at Seattle (Thursday night) and Minnesota on Nov. 25.
"They've got to figure out, 'Hey, are we going to commit to stopping No. 17 over the top or No. 33 inside?'" Adams told ESPN, referring to himself and Jones. "It puts guys and the coaching staff, I guess, in a tough spot and the defense's eyes are all over the place. 'It's third-and-1, are they going to run it here? They've been running it well. Or are they going to dump it off?' We've got a little bit of all that."
Rodgers' 28 attempts on Sunday were his fewest this season and his 112.1 passer rating was his second highest of the campaign.
Jones carried a season-high 15 times on Sunday, one week after his fumble killed a potential rally at New England. Packer watchers have been wondering when coach Mike McCarthy would increase Jones workload and with every loss a potential season killer at this point, the time has come.
However, the question then become whether Jones' body will hold up. Listed at 208 pounds, he has said he's closer to 198. Todd Gurley of the Rams, for example, weighs 224 pounds.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans talked to the Green Bay Press Gazette about Jones' quickness helping him avoid big hits but acknowledged that increasing his workload to 20 or carries a week obviously means more hits.
Jones said he came out of Sunday's game feeling fine.
"I haven't woken up sore or anything (all season)," he told the Press-Gazette. "I've been productive, I've been explosive, and I feel like I can continue to do that. Every time I take a hit I get right up."
--S Raven Green, an undrafted rookie, played 30 snaps against the Dolphins. He made one big play when he sacked Osweiler on a blitz late in the third quarter and missed one when he dropped an interception in the second quarter.
--S Kentrell Brice (ankle) was injured against the Dolphins. He was wearing a boot on his left foot Monday, making it unlikely he'll be ready for Thursday.
--LB Nick Perry injured his knee against the Dolphins and did not return.
--CB Jaire Alexander suffered a head injury against the Dolphins but cleared the concussion protocol and could have returned.
--CB Bashaud Breeland suffered a groin injury against the Dolphins.