Total Packers takes a look at tonight’s Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings game and offers their predictions.
Monty: The real question is how much emotion will play into this contest. The first team, or perhaps even the first player, who lets emotion dictate their actions is going to be in trouble. Still, how can emotion not factor into this game? I’m emotional just making this prediction. So, let’s try to look at things objectively.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is 5-1 against his Vikings counterpart, Brad Childress. McCarthy’s only loss came last season, when the Packers fell 28-27 at the Metrodome. Mason Crosby missed a field goal that would have won that game. Further, the Packers have won four of the last six contests at the Metrodome. Childress, however, hasn’t had a quarterback the caliber of Brett Favre in his six meetings with McCarthy. If you factor out emotion, this game is about matchups and there two key matchups where the Vikings have a clear advantage.
Adrian Peterson vs. the Packers linebackers. Peterson is the best running back in the league. After Sunday’s action, Peterson is fifth in the league with 357 yards rushing. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry. The Packers defense is 23rd in the league against the run, allowing 128.7 yards per game. That mediocrity is due in large part to the Packers’ mediocrity at inside linebacker. In the 3-4 defense, defensive linemen occupy blockers, outside linebackers rush the passer and inside linebackers stop the run. A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett haven’t stopped the run on any consistent basis, allowing both Steven Jackson and Cedric Benson to run for more than 100 yards in each of the past two games. When the Vikings are on offense, look for Peterson to punish the Packers defense and control the clock. This will take Brett Favre’s emotion out of the equation because he’ll be handing the ball off for most of the game.
Packers offensive line vs. Vikings defensive line. The Packers’ struggles along the offensive line this season are well documented. Starting left tackle Chad Clifton hasn’t practiced this week, and it would be a surprise to see him play tonight. Meanwhile, the Vikings have one of the best run-stopping defenses in the league, anchored by Pat and Kevin Williams. But who really expects the Packers to run? Not me, not you, not the Vikings. The real question is whether the line can keep Aaron Rodgers upright. The matchup inside the matchup is Daryn Colledge, who will be filling in for Clifton at left tackle, against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Allen only has two sacks this season, but has totaled 30 over the past two seasons. The first three games of the season tell me the Packers’ line is going to have a hard time keeping Allen away from Rodgers, which will disrupt Green Bay’s downfield passing game. For those two reasons, my prediction is…
Vikings 24, Packers 13
Steffen: As much as I’d like to think that Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers have dialed up an aggressive gameplan for tonight – as much as I hope Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the team will play out of their minds and blow out the hated Minnesota Vikings – as much as I recognize that tonight’s matchup is truly a battle of good vs. evil… I can’t escape the bad feeling I have about tonight.
Here’s the worse case scenario.
Convinced that he cannot take any risks in such a big game, McCarthy plays it safe and calls the game conservatively. The Packers run halfback draws on every third and long. The game will stay close early on because a jacked-up Brett Favre will be overthrowing recievers left and right. After not so much as getting a whiff of Brett for much of the first half, someone on defense will ring Favre’s bell. After looking dazed for a few moments, Brett will go back in and start throwing lasers prompting Jon Gruden to say, “sometimes Brett just needs to get hit hard once, which makes him angry and then magically makes him play well!”
Adrian Peterson will run wild. No matter the scenario, I just don’t see how the Packers will stop him.
The Packers are playing in the Metrodome, so that means there will be all sorts of crazy, wacky blunders on their part – wacky fumbles, bouncing, bumbling interceptions and bizarre calls from the refs. All the while the idiots at that “stadium” will be playing that ridiculous horn triumphantly, as if they had something to do with it.
Percy Harvin, who I am still not convinced is as good as everyone says he is, will prove me wrong and return a punt for a TD.
Jared Allen, who I also think is overrated and a worthless hillbilly (not saying that all hillbillies are worthless, just the ones that
think wearing #69 is still funny), will humiliate Daryn Colledge with a multi-sack performance.
Aaron Rodgers, who has performed admirably on and off the field during the two-year Favre ordeal, will finally crack and cough up his first turnover of the year.
That said, Minnesota is perfectly capable of losing this game. They were not impressive during the first three weeks of the season. The Super Bowl hype that was heaped upon them after Bizarro Brett‘s miracle play last week is preposterous. Were it not for Dre Bly’s drop of a sure interception, that game would have been over.
Still, I just don’t see it happening tonight. Even if all the above situations come true, a couple big plays by the Packers defense will keep them in the game. But on Tuesday morning, you’ll be reading about another former Packers’ late game heroics, as Ryan Longwell’s field goal in the last minute lifts the Vikings to victory.
Vikings 27, Packers 24
Sarah: This will be a close game, but I believe the Packers defense will step up tonight and keep Favre and Adrian Peterson from stomping up and down the field at will. Turnovers will be key, and Favre will have at least one pick due to nerves, so look for a defensive touchdown to buoy the Packers offense.
The Vikings defense will be swarming Aaron Rodgers all night, but Rodgers will continue his streak of 148 pass attempts without a pick and toss a near perfect game, taking advantage of the Vikings’ blitz schemes to throw long balls to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings for scores.
Packers 28, Vikings 24
Mad Packer: The Packers offensive line is downright offensive, and the defensive can’t stop a dominant runner even when they build an entire scheme to do it. Those are ominous signs coming into a game against the best running back in the league and one of the game’s best defensive lines.
But I look for Aaron Rodgers to roll out and torch ‘The Barn’ with long bombs. You’ll see the core Packers play with an incredible fire. Brent Loretta Favre has put this team through a ton of bullshit – and for that he and the Vikings are gonna pay. Favre’s not wearing a red shirt any more, and the Packers DBs will eat him for breakfast. Adrian Peterson will play well, but will not do enough. This time the old man comes up well short.
Packers 31, Vikings 23
Deanna: There is a lot on the line for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tonight, most notably first place in the NFC North. There’s no doubt this is going to be an emotional game for Brett Favre. For the Packers, it is going to be just like any other game – must-win.
We know Favre is a very emotional player, which doesn’t bode well for him on the field. That emotion will translate into a couple of interceptions, increasing his all-time mark to 290. Aaron Rodgers will be calm and demonstrate to Packers fans that he refuses to play in the shadow of Brett Favre anymore.
Packers 26, Vikings 23