Packers XLV

Pack Will Pick a Peck of Ponder Passes and Send Vikes Packin'

Posted December 28th, 2012 @ 03:12am

It's such a big game that it demands a name. Vikings fans would like to refer to it as "Round One," hoping against hope that there will be a rematch at Lambeau the following weekend. Packer fans would prefer to call it "Swatting a Gnat," seeing it as a minor annoyance that must be dealt with before the postseason begins.

In reality, it's the biggest game in the rivalry since the old gun-slingin' texter was wearing purple. The Vikes' impressive road wins in St. Louis and Houston the past two weeks have given them control over their playoff destiny and Vikings fans couldn't be any giddier if Ragnar let them ride shotgun on a road trip to Bemidji.

From their perspective, they have the Packers right where they want them. In their precious teflon-coated play land where the grass is fake and the beer is as weak as Christian Ponder's arm. They've spent the week dreaming about the ultimate three hours: the Vikings spring the upset to set up the rematch and Adrian Peterson runs wild, leaving Eric Dickerson in his dust.

Time for a reality check: the Vikings do own one intangible in this matchup. This is a playoff game for them and they will be playing with their season on the line. The Packers know they have earned no worse than the #3 seed and need to match the urgency of the Vikes.

Both teams will have players back who missed the first matchup. For the Vikes, cornerback Chris Cook returns and strengthens the secondary, lessening the reliance on rookies. For the Pack, the return of Clay Matthews changes everything. If CJ Wilson can play Green Bay gets two key run stoppers back to make things a little more difficult for #28.

As I write this, I have no idea whether Randall Cobb will be active. The team plans to test his ankle and knee on Saturday, but you get the feeling Cobb may sit this one out. It does look like Jordy Nelson will return from his hamstring injury, giving Aaron Rodgers his favorite big play receiver back. Alex Green will also return, having passed the concussion protocols and returning to practice.

The key to this game will be the play of the Pack's offensive line. This will be the first Metrodome start for Don Barclay and Evan Dietrich-Smith. They will be challenged to remain disciplined and avoid pre-snap penalties. Then they need to keep Rodgers vertical. Jared Allen is always dangerous at home and Eversen Griffin has emerged as a playmaker of late. Defensive end Brian Robison's status is up in the air--he missed last week and has been limited in practice this week.

The Pack rushed for 152 yards in the first meeting and will look for similar success on Sunday. With Alex Green back, Mike McCarthy said he will go with the hot hand. The guess here is Green gets the bulk of the carries, but I see the Packers offense doing most of their damage through the air this time around.

It comes down to Rodgers' incredible track record in domes. That's where the Packers have the vital edge. He's put up 64 points in his last two games in Minneapolis and likes nothing more than moments like this to silence the fans (the ones not wearing green and gold, that is).

Ponder will have to make some plays through the air to win this game and I don't see it happening. The secondary is playing at an elite level right now: Sam Shields has been terrific since returning, giving the team three terrific cover guys. They will have no trouble with the Vikes' pedestrian receiving corps.

The disappointing part about taking care of business at Metrodome is the unfortunate side effect: a Bears win would put them in the playoffs as the #6 seed. Imagine how difficult it will be for Bears fans to chant, "Go Pack Go" while they watch the game. Papa Bear Halas will be spinning in his grave.

It probably won't be easy. Our hearts may be in our throats for a while. But the Packers will make it six straight wins over the Vikes and will sweep the division for a second straight season. Who knows, in this crazy, what will happen next season, it may even be a Mason Crosby field goal that wins it.

Or not.

Packers 24  Vikings 20

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Comments (12):

The Vikings just don't have enough to overcome their shortcomings, specifically the passing game, even with AP running rampant. I'm certain the trolls will disagree, but that's their right I suppose. Dave, you hit the high points and I can't add too much more to it, although listening to KFAN this week, especially to PA, has really been nauseating. Too bad you gotta work with the guy. :-) Packers 31, Vikings 20. WHITE HOUSE ON 3!!!

on December 27th, 2012 at 09:56pm

You really have no doubt in the world that your packers could lose this Sunday.. The vikings play way better in the dome and are coming off of two road wins.. AP will run all over that packer defense. I think it's about time the packers lose to an ncf north opponent.

on December 27th, 2012 at 10:02pm

Case in point. :-)

on December 27th, 2012 at 10:24pm

Nice alliteration with the P's Dave! I agree with Bill, the voice of reason (what a great blog name Bill!) in the fact you hit most of the high points. All the Packers have to do to stop AP from breaking Dickerson's record & the Vikings from winning is of course, finish with more points but also dominate the scoreboard & time of possession. Another crushing Viking defeat at the hands of the Packers should shut the trolls up including head troll P.A. Go Pack!

on December 27th, 2012 at 11:24pm

THC--you're good for 2 things these days: 1) Making horrible homer football takes AND 2) Taking football to the face. My guy Deakon apparently hit his mark today at BWW's. You got off easy, Rodgers won't--when Everson Griffin collapses his rib cage Sunday. It's officially Shoot on Sinykin Day!

on December 28th, 2012 at 01:05pm

Thank you Rob. You, along with Larry (may you have a fine birthday indeed), OSSG, Trashman, LDF and some others that frequent here, are the ones that get it. Ceeray points out just how ridiculous it's been around the KFAN listening area rendering the station to be unlistenable this week (that is, unless you've been guzzling the purple kool-aid). Yes, the rubes have come to roost. Well, so be it. You can say that if you don't like what's being prepared in this kitchen, find another one. But it's true that can be applied both ways - something that our friendly THT (the Head Troll) hasn't figured out yet. Next week, just to apease those who'd rather stir the pot with their Helga horns than seek a more objective view of their squad, we should offer an assesment of where the purple stand going forward. And for you Helga Trolls out there, you'll be surprised that my personal take isn't as harsh as you may think. Stay tuned...

on December 28th, 2012 at 02:19pm

Just heard the podcast and heard that a classy Queen fan threw a football and hit Siny in the face. I guess that's what you'd expect from Queen fans. The only class there was Siny sticking it out and not letting them douse the Packer Pride.

on December 28th, 2012 at 04:40pm

Davy, Bill the Voice of Reason, Rob, Larry, Trashman, my buddies from the radio Dave from Shakopee and Dave from Maple Grove and other regulars who get it. Don't you like the feeling, karma, trends, whatever you may want to call it. This year is peaking right compared to last year....last year 15-1.....resting regulars...all offense and the porous defense...no running game....more Pro Bowlers. This year more defensive momentum....only 3 Pro Bowlers ( really only 2) and kind of under the National radar. I like our position. This was a week I purposefully stayed away from KFAN and the Four Norsemen....PA, SID, Berchich, and Charts. They have more purple smush in their heads than Kane. Would like to have Cobb for Sunday's game but understand if they keep him out. Will have to win this game with 350-400 yards passing from Rodgers....which means Jones adds to his house totals and Nelson...Finley...et all between the posts. Kane....get set to burn your mask or at least put it away . GO PACK GO !!!

on December 28th, 2012 at 07:37pm

I'm guessing this one stays close through 2 quarters but Packers get the ball after halftime, go up by a couple TDs, Viks have to throw, Ponder makes a bad decision or two in his first real "big game," and Pack cruise to an easy victory. Just no way the Viks can pass against our healthy secondary. Our D has to protect their gaps and prevent the cutbacks to AP. GO Pack! And I will leave you with a great moment in Packer history when once before, the Packers faced an MVP-type running back in a huge game against a division rival: Dec 31, 1994. Packers versus Lions. Barry Sanders. 13 carries for minus 1 yard! Now I am not predicting a repeat of that magnificent defensive performance but maybe Capers can dial up a game plan like Fritz Shumer did that afternoon. As Merle Haggard would say, "Wouldn't that be something?"

on December 28th, 2012 at 08:24am

nice pick voice, I am sure shields will be on simpson, tramon will take jenkins, house on wright, and the most important play is hayward on rudolph. I hope they don't use a lb on him or he will kill us again. the one man, that may come out this week, is Mr. Driver. I think even if cobb, plays he won't be right, and he needs his quickness to be great and he won't have it. rest him for the playoffs and 80 will have 60 yds, and a td. I said last week grant may score and he had 2. I really feel we will blow them out, or they will win a close one. but like I said last week 38-10 still seems right. I told Davey, it's not round 1 for the vikings, the better name to call it, is the vikings final fallout, since the world didn't end yet as they predicted. GO PACKERS, and give me my birthday present that day.

on December 28th, 2012 at 09:56am

The Packers have closed out their regular season against the Viqueens four previous times and these games have favored Green Bay, which is 3-1 in them, despite 3 of the 4 being played at the Metrodome. The Pack won 38-14 in 1984, 27-7 in 1991 and 38-10, at Lambeau Field, in 1996. The lone Minisota win came in 1992 in a bit of de javu with role reversal to this week's game. Then it was Minnesota who had wrapped up the division title and the Packers coming in at 9-6, on a 6-game win streak, with a shot at a wild card berth with a win. Then a certain quarterback wearing #4 was in his first season starting for Green Bay and flashed the form in a big game that would mark him in later years. He would throw 3 picks and the Pack would lose 27-7 and miss the playoffs with a 9-7 record for the year. The reality here is that the Queens are a 6-10 team that padded their record playing a soft schedule this year, who got a couple of unexpected wins over San Fran. & Houston teams caught on an off day, and by the default of several other, better teams blowing some games late this season to fall behind or out of contention. The games that tell the tale of what's most likely ahead for Minisota are their 19 point loss at home to Tampa Bay in a Thursday night game when they were 5-2 and all the games they've lost against dynamic quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Jay Cutler at Chicago, and Aaron Rodgers.) ARod is no Matt Schaub or Alex Smith and he won't be a Jay Cutler on Mall of America Field. The Metrodome is no longer a house of horror for the Pack. During Mike McCarthy's tenure they are 4-2 at the Hump and just a missed field goal and 1 point from being 5-0 in games without the Viqueens not being quarterbacked by an ex-Packer. Sure the place will be loud but up to 40% of the crowd there on Sunday will be Packer-backers despite the effort of the Vikings to suppress Wisconsin ticket sales. This game will come down to the difference between Aaron Rodgers and Christian Flounder. If ARod has one of his hot games this may not be especially close. At least 290 yds. and 3 td passes by Rodgers. And the Pack manages at least 100 team rushing yards for ball control. Minus a Packer traitor playing for them, Minnesota has broken 20 points in a game on the Packers only twice in the last dozen meetings and still lost one of those. The stage is set for another big game failure for a franchise whose history is already full of those.

on December 28th, 2012 at 10:52pm

Great article Dave. I think the Pack wins this one more easily than people think. Other than Peterson the queenies have no offense. They have the worst receiving corps in the league. The first half may be close but the Pack will pull away in the second half and win 34-17. Also Paul Allen is the most delusional queens fan on the planet. He makes Sid look objective. I can't wait to hear his woes when the queenies lose.

on December 28th, 2012 at 12:14pm

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