Green Bay (7-4) was most certainly not able to eke out the upset win last week in New York, getting embarrassed by the Giants, 38-10 – the Packers’ worst loss in five years.
The Giants had a superior game plan in place. Largely ignoring the Packers’ running game, they keyed in on stopping quarterback, Aaron Rodgers with great success. It resulted in five sacks, a forced fumble and pressure that led to an interception.
Meanwhile a balanced offense showed that Green Bay still has trouble getting off the field when defending. Several quick scores put the Packers into too deep a hole and the game was over by halftime.
Both of these factors will have serious implications for this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (6-5).
All-pro defensive end, Jared Allen seems to have found a fellow pass-rusher in Brian Robison that can help keep him from being consistently double-teamed. The duo has combined for 12.5 sacks between them so far this year. How Green Bay plans to stop them is perhaps the deciding factor in what could be a close divisional encounter.
The Packers are 8-9 point favourites at home and Minnesota has lost the good form it had at the start of the season. But the Vikings have a solid defence that could cause Green Bay’s shaky offensive line some problems.
Without an established threat at running back, it is likely that Minnesota will take a similar strategy to the Giants and focus on getting to Rodgers. If the Packers can get the ball out, either by keeping extra blockers in to help the linemen or by using quick passes, Rodgers will be able to take advantage of a secondary that is the weakest part of the Vikings’ defence and banged up to boot.
When the Vikings have the ball, it is likely the Packers will adopt an opposite strategy to their NFC North counterpart. Instead of stopping the pass, the Packers will focus on stopping current league rushing leader, Adrian Peterson. They will bring eight men into the box and daring Minnesota quarterback, Christian Ponder to beat them with his arm.
The Vikings are currently a team built to win close games. They can play steady defence and run the ball. However, they cannot win a shootout nor can they come back from a large deficit. If Green Bay can devise a gameplan that protects Rodgers, either by keeping extra blockers in to help out the offensive line or by utilising quicker passing routes, they stand a good chance of winning the game.
But all it would take is a couple series with bad Packers' offensive line play and one or two good runs from Peterson to set the Vikings up for an upset. Look for the Packers to get the win but the game may be closer than the 8-9 point spread being given.
The game can be seen on FOX at 1 PM EST. It will be shown in the north of the US, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Appalachia. For those outside of the USA, the games can be seen on NFL’s Gamepass as well as several streaming sites.