Sarah: The key to this game will be defense. For both teams. Whether Minnesota and Douche Bag of the Century Jared Allen can knock Aaron Rodgers down as many times as they did last season, and whether the Packers can slow down Brett Favre in his second return to Lambeau Field as a Viking.
Because let’s face it. Favre has the number of Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Favre is a perfect 8-0 against teams or defenses directed by Capers. His average numbers against Capers are 21 of 34 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 107.1.
Even worse, the Packers hardly bothered Favre in their two matchups last season. He was knocked down just seven times in 59 attempts, hurried twice and had one ball batted down.
The Packers have had a year to reflect on those drummings. I’m hoping they learned a thing or two, namely how to stop No. 69.
The good news is Clay Matthews, Brandon Chillar and Ryan Pickett are expected to return to the Packers’ lineup this weekend. Al Harris and Atari Bigby could see playing time too.
The Packers will need all the help they can get in this emotionally-charged contest, but I think the Favre-Rodgers hype has died down enough to calm the nerves of this somewhat older and (hopefully) wiser Green Bay team.
Packers 34, Vikings 31
Steffen: My friends often make fun of me because I am perpetually negative about the Packers. However, I feel that I am misunderstood. I’ve been negative for so long because this team gives me nothing to be hopeful for.
As the Mike McCarthy era lumbers along, I see a team that is at worst regressing and at best stagnant. They seem to be stuck in a multi-year malaise, unable or unwilling to address problems that even the most casual of observers can point out. It’s hard to muster excitement and hope for a team that just keeps ignoring it’s deficiencies and repeated mistakes.
The Packers have a half over the hill, half untalented offensive line that fails to protect the quarterback the team staked their careers and future on.
Penalties, penalties, penalties. Unfocused play, lack of discipline and execution, especially in big games.
Inconsistent kicking. The Packers still don’t have a real punter, do they?
Tenuous kick coverage that always seems to breakdown at the worst possible moment.
Unreliable running game.
These aren’t new problems. These are problems that have plagued a team that features big-time talent for years. The Packers have won some games under McCarthy, but those wins have come in spite of all of these issues. Those wins were the product of special performances by a select few players on this team. Favre led the way in ’07 and the ’09 Packers were successful primarily because of Aaron Rodgers and especially Charles Woodson.
So here’s the deal with the Vikings game. Where some people see an opportunity for the Packers to bounce back in a big way, I see nothing but black. I see Lambeau Field soaked in the blood of our preseason hopes and dreams. I said it last week. If the Packers lost against the Dolphins, you might as well put a fork in ’em.
Who will be to blame? Same guy as last year. No, Colin Cowherd, not Aaron Rodgers. Dom Capers. Normally, a Dom Capers-led defense is an advantage. Not so when you’re playing againtst Brett Favre. Capers’ squads are 0-8 all time against Favre.
It’s pretty simple, Dom, pressure Favre up the middle and knock him down. A lot. Then he’ll start to make mistakes. Sweet, sweet, end of the game bonehead interception types of mistakes.
But Dom prefers to get too clever for his own good. Last year he barely tried to apply pressure and in the first game Favre was untouched. He did dial up more blitzes in the second game, but they were slow to develop and often came from the outside, allowing Favre to remain in the pocket. Because the Packers don’t learn from their mistakes, expect the same — a no pressure, soft zone scheme that Favre will pick apart at will.
A couple more doom and gloom predictions. Rodgers has been running for his life again, similar to how bad things looked at the beginning of last season. Don’t be surprised if this held together with duct tape and bubble gum offensive line finally gets our franchise QB hurt.
Also, don’t be surprised if the Packers are one of the first teams to lose a player to suspension for an illegal hit. Generally, if a new rule is announced, McCarthy is completely oblivious.
The only game changing talent we have on the team currently is Clay Matthews. Our only hope is if he goes off and creates some turnovers. However, he’s still nursing a sore hammy so don’t count on it.
Go Pack! Please prove me wrong.
Vikings 38, Packers 13