Packers XLV

You Can Cut the Tension With a Knife.

Posted October 31st, 2020 @ 07:10pm

It's kind of amazing to consider the two disparate directions the Packers and Vikings have taken in the last eight weeks. Entering the season, they were both considered division favorites. Many believed the Vikings would take the division, with the Pack due for a regression after all the close wins last year and their good luck with injuries.

Well here we are. It's week 8 and I can't recall when there's been less buzz for a Border Battle in the 25+ years I've lived here. At 1-5, Minnesota's post-season dreams are toast and there's the very real chance that they will unload one or two veterans before Tuesday's trade deadline.

That said, Zimmer is a proud dude and you know he's fuming about the state of his team. I expect he reminded Gary Kubiak that the starting QB has already thrown ten picks, and while he put up good fantasy numbers in the season opener, most came in garbage time. Add in the gusting 25-30 MPH winds expected on a day in the mid-30s, and the offensive game plan will and should revolve around Dalvin Cook, who's expected back from his groin injury. Long, extended drives on a cold, windy day and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field as much as possible is the blueprint to stay in the game.

The Pack has been better than expected against the run so far, and the emergence of Kamal Martin, along with improvement across the line, provides hope that the Pack can keep Cook in check. He's usually good for at least one explosive play per game. The Pack has to own first down, to put Cousins in spots where he takes chances and makes mistakes on passing plays.

It seems that Jaire Alexander usually shadows Adam Thielen. I wonder if the Pack switches that up and puts the shutdown corner on emerging rookie Justin Jefferson. He's the more likely target considering the weather conditions, as he runs a lot of shorter routes, while Thielen goes downfield. With Kevin King out again, Josh Jackson has a chance to take another big step to being a part of this team's future. He played his best game last week in a tough spot and will need to be just as good in this one.

Things are far less fuzzy when the Pack has the ball. With three of their top four cornerbacks out, there should be mismatches all over the field.  The Vikes' top three corners have a played a total of six games. In their careers. Does first round pick Jeff Gladney get Davante Adams? Does it matter? Zimmer's defense will no doubt double team him whenever possible and try to force Rodgers to look elsewhere.

If MVS and ESB can't make big plays in this game, even with the wind, they don't have futures with this team. Robert Tonyan is healthier than he's been in the past week or two and Jamaal Williams should also be featured prominently in the passing game. The Vikes are liable to gamble with the blitz a lot, knowing that their corners are over-matched. Williams will be a valuable safety net for Rodgers.

With Aaron Jones out again, Williams will be the work horse. I do expect AJ Dillon to get more touches than last week, but Williams was a beast last week and the whole team seems to feed off his energy. There should be plenty of opportunities for production in the run game: the injury and COVID bug have hit the linebacker group. As for Jones, I have a feeling if the Pack's next game was next Sunday, he would have played in this one. With the quick turn-around of a Thursday night road game, against the 49ers, I think asking him and his calf to be ready to play back to back would be a lot to ask. Just a hunch.

As I write this on Saturday afternoon, the Packers did not add a kicker to the roster, so it looks like Mason Crosby and his calf injury will be good to go. The other two injuries to keep an eye are David Bakhtiari and Tyler Ervin. Yes, Billy Turner was more than adequate as a fill in at left tackle last week, I'll always feel a whole lot better when Bakhtiari is out there.

As for Ervin, with the windy conditions, coupled with the fact that I expect the Vikings to punt a lot, I worry about a backup punt returner dealing with the wind. Turnovers are the only way I see the Vikes having a chance to spring the upset, and I don't expect the offense to give up the ball. It would be nice to have the reliable, sure-handed Ervin back in there to handle returns, and be the gadget player on offense.

All that said, I don't see a path to victory for the Purple if Rodgers finishes the game. The Vikings are a proud team and have had two weeks to lick their wounds from the Falcons debacle and put some wrinkles into their offense that the Packers haven't seen. It may be close for a half and into the third quarter. But LaFleur's first NFC North loss will not be coming on this day. The Pack controls their own NFC playoff destiny as the current top seed with ten weeks to go. Yes, that's an eternity and a lot of things can happen between now and then. Losing to this Purple roster is not one of those things.

Packers 34  Vikings 21

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Comments (12):

Way too put the jinx on it Davey,over confident just like the packers defense,couldn’t stop one guy,no pressure on Cousins at all,Defense needs some work!!

on November 1st, 2020 at 03:17pm

Is there one sentence in that whole blog that came true. LMAO

on November 1st, 2020 at 03:18pm

Larry & I were on the same page, and unfortunately that came to fruition. Despite a historic effort from Cook, we still had the ball with a chance to go ahead at the end. We're in a position to absorb this loss and move forward, while the Vikings take their moral victory and move one step further from tanking for Trevor. Maybe we'll see some trolls return to the comments section, YAY!

on November 1st, 2020 at 03:20pm

Y’all ain’t ballers, y’all are fakes and phonies just like your QB Discount double suck who could not carry Brady’s water bottle. Minnesota exposes you just like the 49ers. Tampa kicked Rodgers booty so badly he looked like a sub par rookie. Enjoy an early exit from the playoffs. Peace loosers I’ll be watching the GOAT go for number 7 (you know more than 2 times the amount Favre and Rogers brought cha).

on November 1st, 2020 at 08:53pm

Losing to a practice squad secondary....lol

on November 1st, 2020 at 09:41pm

Th Majicman stole my line today, I have been telling everyone this week, its the vikings super bowl. Zimmer will double team 17 all day, he will not let him have a day. So MVS better step up. I think Malik Taylor will have a big day for some reason out of nowhere. Tonyan needs to play well again with 17 being doubled and 12 needs to not force it to 17, that is what Zimmer wants him to do. Even though I dropped him in Fantasy yesterday for Goedert . lol. The Key to the whole game is stopping cook we all know that. If we do, we win. If NOT, it will be close. Cook Gets 120 and 2 tds. I see it 27-24 Packers, BUT the wind will be a big factor also. GO Packers

on November 1st, 2020 at 10:34am

" The Pack has been better than expected against the run so far, and the emergence of Kamal Martin, along with improvement across the line, provides hope that the Pack can keep Cook in check." This comment is hilarious Dave! You really screwed the pooch and jinxed your team. Congrates!!!

on November 2nd, 2020 at 04:40pm

Disappointing to say the least. My fantasy dream is for the Vikes to fire Zimmer and the Packers hire him as Defensive Coordinator. How Josh Jackson is still on this team is a mystery and I believe Pettine is on his way out.

on November 2nd, 2020 at 05:45am

Yikes!

on November 2nd, 2020 at 05:48am

And yet.....🤣

on November 2nd, 2020 at 09:41am

How true about the lack of local buzz for Border Battle! The Viking bandwagon is all but vacant, and even an optimistic "wait till next season" doesn't exist mainly due to their mediocre QB's oppressive contract. But as kick-@$$ offense guy Brad Childress once stated, "a wounded lion is a more dangerous lion." Obviously he was referring to what was then an overmatched Lions club, but still applies to what is now an overmatched Vikings club. Plus, no matter what their records are, the Vikings always approach Border Battle as their Super Bowl because that's what they've continued to be resigned to since 1977. Operating vicariously through the Packers are as close to greatness as they are likely to ever achieve. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings play this game like the little engine that could and manage to avoid being daggered until Rodgers can engineer a late four-minutes offense. But something 41-doughnut like would be DELICIOUS! GO PACK GO!

on October 31st, 2020 at 10:35pm

Nice thing about this year's schedule: We can be done with the pests to the west by midseason and can get on with the Packers' contention for a Championship. The wheels have already come off the Queens' Klown Kar but the Pack better not get caught looking over or past this one. We don't know which Vikes team will show up Sunday: the one that got blown out at home vs previously winless Atlanta or the one that threw a scare into playoff-bound Tennessee & Seattle in down-to-the-wire single point decisions. Injuries continue to be a drag on the Packers but Minny's appear to be a wash on that issue. Their offense can still make "splash plays" and the Packer D is prone to giving those up. Though they weren't strategically bad in the opener they did allow over 380 yds and 34 pts. Pettine must get a big rush on Cousins and generate some turnovers for a change. The offense should still have a good day on their defense. They no longer have a rush or a secondary that can cover. But there is a pattern since Zimmer has been there. When the Queens lose to the Packers in the first game they usually play better and closer in the second one. No doubt they will have some special arrangements to try to stop the Rodgers to Adams combination. Especially with Aaron Jones out of the picture. If they succeed the other receivers and tight ends are going to have to make catches to compensate and draw the double off Davante. A Rod should have a nice passing day with this opportunity but the visitors put up a fight. A 37-27 type score is what I would expect. Just get to 6-1, baby.

on October 31st, 2020 at 10:57pm

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