The Green Bay Packers had an opportunity to do three things against the Minnesota Vikings with a victory. They could have clinched the number two seed in the playoffs and get a much needed bye, they could have held their division rival Vikings out of the playoffs, and they could have kept Adrian Peterson from breaking the all-time single season rushing record. Unfortunately for the Packers, the only thing they were able to do is keep Peterson out of the record books.
The Vikings have been a surprise team for the entire season, and held the last spot in the playoffs heading into the game with the Packers. However, with a win by the Chicago Bears earlier in the day, the Vikings had to beat Green Bay to reach the playoffs. What was even a bigger story heading into the game was the fact that Peterson was 208 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record. Peterson fell nine yards short, but the Packers inability to stop him is why they lost the game.
Peterson ended the game with 199 yards on 34 carries for an average of 5.8 games a carry. The Packers were stacking the box with eight defenders throughout the game, but were still out-played by the more physical Peterson. Even when there were no openings at the line, the Packers failed to finish the job. Now there has to be credit given to Peterson and his ability to make something out of nothing, but there were multiple times throughout the game where the Packers defenders, especially the secondary, seemed scared to even touch him.
The Packers also loss the battle at the line as they were only able to sack quarterback Christian Ponder one time. The fact that Green Bay had to respect the running game from Minnesota obviously slowed down the pass rush, but there was almost no pressure for the entire game. This allowed Ponder to go 16 for 28, while throwing three touchdown passes.
The lack of physicality should be a cause for concern for the Packers. With this loss, they will now have to play the Vikings again. The game will be played at Lambeau Field, where the Packers beat the Vikings earlier in the season, but the game was close throughout and with this win the Vikings will have the momentum on their side. With the weather being colder, the playoff game will be more of a ground and pound style that will require the Packers to toughen up on defense to stop the run.
The Packers will be hosting the Vikings next Saturday on NBC at 8 p.m.
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