Packers XLV

Vikings Will Serve as a Pre-Thanksgiving Snack

Posted November 22nd, 2013 @ 03:11pm

It's come to this. The 2-8 Vikings limp into Lambeau Field--led by a quarterback who's playing by default--and enter the game as just four point underdogs. Four. How the mighty have fallen.

The Packers return home playing a November game that is an absolute must win. It's sounding more and more like we need to get comfortable with the idea of Scott Tolzien playing quarterback. I don't see Aaron Rodgers suddenly healed in time to play on Thanksgiving Day (I'm not even certain they'll suit him up ten days later against Atlanta).

If the Packers want to show any 'wait till we get to the post-season swagger,' it has to show itself on Sunday. Splitting the next two games would necessitate a 4-0 December just to get to 10-6. But if that isn't good enough to win the North, the Pack will miss the playoffs. That record won't get you a wildcard berth in the NFC this year.

Let's face it, the Lions look poised to end their five game losing streak (and 15 out of 16) to the Pack. Even with Rodgers, this was going to be a tough game to win. The Lions have not been that great at home, losing to the Bengals and needing last second heroics to beat the Cowboys), but the Pack's defense of late has given us no confidence that it will slow Megatron on the national stage this time around.

Back to the Vikings. This is a team that has ended the debate about whether 2012 was the real thing or the exception to the rule. They've been lousy three of the last four seasons and are in store for a massive retooling. That said, this is the one game left on their schedule that will have them focused. As Jared Allen said, if we're not going anywhere we may as well try to make sure they aren't either.

But the Vikings have plenty of issues they're dealing with. The offensive line has regressed big time, and will likely be without center John Sullivan on Sunday. The biggest story on that side of the ball is Adrian Peterson's sore groin, which has removed the burst from his lethal arsenal. On a day where the temperature will barely leak into the 20s, it's hard to believe he will be a major factor.

That means the Packers need to prevent Ponder from making any big plays. Looks like the Pack will be short-handed at corner, with Shields not having practiced this week and Hyde resting a groin on Thursday (we already know Hayward is out). Greg Jennings will play with his sore achilles--it will be interesting to see how he handles his emotions. He hasn't handled them well off the field--you can bet the fans will let him have it all day long. More importantly, the Pack needs to tackle like they did last Sunday. Their biggest weapon will likely be Cordarelle Patterson, both as a receiver and a return guy. Gotta wrap him up.

They also must get a better pass rush on Ponder than they got on Eli. That will lead to stupid decisions and interceptions. Tramon Williams needs to play like he did last Sunday and lead his banged up corners and win these matchups.

Offensively, I expect the Pack to soar. The Vikings were terrible at corner before injuries and now they'll be trotting out Chris Cook and rookie Xavier Rhodes to start, with Marcus Sherels at the nickel. Look for McCarthy and Scott Tolzien to exploit these guys early, then look for Eddie Lacy and James Starks to get a lot of work as the Packers offense looks like it did about a month ago when the team was winning four straight.

It's simple. This is a game the Packers need to dominate. This is a game that needs to provide some momentum for a giant division game four games later. Lose this one somehow and the playoffs start on Thursday.

Packers 31  Vikings 21

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Comments (6):

I can't recall a quieter Vikings/Packers week than this one. Neither fan base is worked up much about this one, and who can blame them? OK, that's not entirely true, but both squads are banged up and the QB situation is a mess for both teams for completely different reasons, but the stakes are a little higher for the Packers...alright, a lot higher. Packers win and they remain one game back in the division race; Vikings win, and they put a significant dent in those plans. At least the Vikings can come out ahead with a loss by moving closer to a higher draft pick that they can mess up. :-) I see it aq little closer than Dave does - Pack 28, Vikes 20.

on November 22nd, 2013 at 03:50pm

Logic should tell us that with cold weather outdoor football Pack should dominate this indoor Arena league team from our West. But...this is the no logic NFL So only two stats should matter...win the third downs on both sides of the ball and win the turnovers. The team that does that will emerge victorious Go Pack Go!!

on November 23rd, 2013 at 01:41pm

This is it for the Packers' playoff hopes for this season. Lose this one and it won't matter when Rodgers or any one else gets back in December; it'll be too late. It would be a huge salve to the Queens' season to come into Lambeau and take one from the Pack. Even though they're not playing "the real Packers." We saw what happened at the Metrodome last month when Minisota played the real Pack. Of course job one will be containing Adrian Peterson. The Green Bay D must get back to playing run defense and keep AP to around 90 yds. max. Ponder's running capability could be a problem. Dom Capers & Co. had better be prepared for that on third downs, especially later in the game or there could be some long possession drives by the opposition again to keep the ball out of the Packer offense's hands. The Packer offense has moved the ball with some semblance of the normal unit but only 3 offensive td's in the last 3 games is where the injury issues show most. That 1 to 5 td to int. ratio on Tolzein has to be reversed Sunday. Oh, and let's not let Patterson burn us on another couple of long kick returns. Right now the Packers are a wounded, struggling team similar to the Steelers and Washington clubs the Vikes have beaten this year. They could come in and win and move further away from Teddy Bridgewater in the draft next spring. But if the Packers offense stops its red zone faltering and the defense can stop the bleeding of explosive plays Green Bay should sweep the poiple for the fifth time in 8 seasons.

on November 23rd, 2013 at 05:54am

this may be the ugliest game of the day, I'm looking at cold,wind, and not much scoring, 17-14 pack, a lot of men out again though. we will miss shields more then cobb or anyone else that's hurt, except for 12 of course. throw early, run late, like THC says and protect the ball. did I hear a voice. or did someone write in on here that 12 would be out until after detroit game when 12 was 1st hurt 4 weeks ago. I wonder who that was? go packers

on November 23rd, 2013 at 06:32pm

I agree, Dave. Start with a heavy dose of passing then go to the run this week. Last week's run to setup the play action worked in some long play action gains but after a couple 3-and-outs, Packers were playing from behind and never felt comfortable out there. I say pass, pass, pass until they drop a defender out of the box. Our O-line just isn't good enough to open holes against a stacked box. I put the Pack on 1 TD and 3FGs (continued redzone problems) for 16. Vikings : 10. Can't see bringing Rodgers back in 4days if he isn't healthy enough for Vikings game. As much as I would love to see it happen, beating Det in Det on Thanksgiving without Rodgers is a longshot at best (so you're saying there's a chance.) But likely Packer record after Thanksgiving game is 6-6. Rodgers comes back after additional 10 days rest, Pack run the season and end 10-6. Lions likely 8-4 after Thanksgiving so they will need to lose at least 2 of their last 4 for Pack to stand a chance in the North. I can see them losing at Philly and either vs Balt or vs NYG so Pack and Det end tied 10-6. They will have split the reg season head-to-head. 1st tie breaker? Division record. Lions would be 5-1 with only loss being to the Packers. Packers would be 4-2 with loss to Bears that already happened and loss to Lions on Thanksgiving. No good. So we need the Lions to get 1 more divion loss and the only other game (besides packers on Tday) they play in the divison this year is at Viks last game of the year. Dec 29th, every Packer fan may be cheering for Freeman to Jennings to get a Viks upset win over Det so Pack can win division. I don't know, might be a better chance of Pack winning in Det with Tolzien! GO PACK!

on November 23rd, 2013 at 10:08am

even with Rodgers I don't think I want to see this Packer team in the playoffs. I don't think this team has what it takes in all phases to win in the playoffs. hopefully cut the injuries and better luck next year.

on November 24th, 2013 at 07:58pm

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