Monday Night Football is great because every one gets to watch their team play, no matter where they live. But this Monday night for Vikings fans may or may not be the national showcase game they were hoping for. Minnesota faces the daunting task of traveling to Lambeau Field, where the 8-0 Packers have also won 10 straight at home, a streak dating back to last season. As if all of that weren’t enough, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is playing like some freakish combination of Superman and the Incredible Hulk this season – – you wouldn’t want to see him when he’s angry. In all seriousness, Rodgers and the Packers have been pretty amazing this season, and it doesn’t seem like the Vikings have much of a chance in this one.
But then again, when you look at the Packers, you have to look at the ENTIRE team, and that includes this veritable sieve of a defense that is giving up a boatload of points and yards on a weekly basis. The 8-0 Packers are also 30th in the NFL in total defense, and 31st against the pass, giving up almost 300 yards per game. In other words, if you can keep Aaron Rodgers off of the field, you might have a chance to stop the Packers.
Remember that in Week 9, this same Green Bay defense managed to score twice off of interception returns, shocking Philip Rivers and the Chargers in the first quarter of their game and jumping out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter. But after that quarter ended, the Packers’ D gave up 31 points in 3 quarters to the QB that leads the NFL in turnovers (go look it up). Indeed, the Packers defense leaves much to be desired.
Meanwhile, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has found recent success at Lambeau Field, rushing for 110 yards and a score per game in his last 3 outings there. What that means is that if AP can stay his productive self, and also if Christian Ponder can manage the game and avoid turnovers, the Packers will likely oblige in giving up yardage. If Minnesota holds any hope of winning, this is exactly the formula that they must use.
No one has beaten the Packers yet because no one has been able to take the air out of the ball when Rodgers drops back to pass. Granted, the Vikings have a lackluster secondary, but a reasonable pass rush can cover up weak spots at times, and so it is incumbent on the Minnesota D-Line to get back there early and often, to keep Rodgers uncomfortable, because an upright and patient Rodgers will shred up the secondary in no time.
I don’t think that the Vikings could beat the Packers more than once or twice every ten tries at Lambeau if these units met up repeatedly in some simulation world. However, I do think that the Vikings could and may take the air out of the ball for one game against the Packers, so I’m going to go ahead an make my bold prediction of the season:
Vikings 24, Packers 20
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