Packers-Patriots: Key matchups

Moll vs. Seymour; Rayner vs. Gostkowski; Samuel vs. Driver

Packers RT Tony Moll vs. Patriots DE Richard Seymour
New England moved Seymour to the left side last week, so the All-Pro is a good bet to stay there now that Mark Tauscher is out Sunday because of a groin injury. It could be a baptism by fire for Moll in his first start at right tackle. However, the headstrong rookie, who started the first four games at right guard, has proved to be up to stern challenges in the past, as evidenced by holding his own against San Diego's Shawne Merriman in the preseason.

Plus, Moll won't be placed on an island with Seymour because the Packers will routinely have an extra blocker on that side in their multiple-tight-end formations.

Packers PK Dave Rayner vs. Patriots PK Stephen Gostkowski
The late November conditions aren't expected to be too frigid or harsh Sunday at Lambeau Field, but the kicking game could factor heavily in the outcome. Rayner's leg strength is just the weapon to keep rookie Laurence Maroney, who ranks second in the league with a kickoff-return average of 29.7 yards, from running wild. The Packers have benefited greatly from Rayner's 10 touchbacks to often control the battle of field position, but they have been susceptible to big returns in recent weeks.

Gostkowski, who has nine touchbacks, is out-kicking Rayner by nearly a yard, but the Patriots' coverage unit is second worst in the league in allowing an average of 26.5 return yards. Gostkowski hasn't had many opportunities to kick field goals, so the rookie could have a rude indoctrination at Lambeau if the swirling winds kick up at the wrong time.

Patriots CB Asante Samuel vs. Packers WR Donald Driver
Driver has been on fire of late. He's coming off a 191-yard performance against the Vikings and is on pace to have his best season as a pro. Samuel struggled against Reggie Wayne two weeks ago but he's the Patriots' top cornerback and will be counted on to slow down Driver. If Green Bay's top receiver has a big game, the Patriots defense could be in for a long afternoon.

Patriots NT Vince Wilfork vs. Packers G Daryn Colledge
While he's having a tremendous season so far, Wilfork is coming off his worst game of the year. Rookie Nick Mangold manhandled the big nose tackle last week and that allowed the Jets to find running lanes inside. That doesn't happen very often. This week, Wilfork will face his second straight rookie as Colledge and center Scott Wells try to keep him out of the Packers backfield. Look for Wilfork to have a big game after getting abused by Mangold.

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