Neither the Minnesota Vikings nor the Green Bay Packers will be expecting any surprises during this week’s wildcard round. The NFC North rivals will be facing off for the third time this season, with both teams coming into Saturday’s contest splitting the regular-season series.
It was only last week that the Vikings defeated the Packers in the final seconds, earning the last spot for the postseason in the NFC.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has rushed for 409 yards and two touchdowns in the two games versus the Pack. I don’t expect Green Bay to totally shut down the potential league MVP, however, I don’t expect Peterson to rip off another 200 yards against the Packers either.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had similar success against the Vikings this season. Rodgers totaled 651 passing yards and five touchdowns against Minnesota in the regular season. If the hand injury to Antoine Winfield, the Vikings’ best cornerback, limits his play, look for Rodgers to have another field day against a secondary that was ranked 24th in the league in pass defense.
Green Bay will definitely key in on Peterson throughout the entire game. This only means that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder will have to step up and make plays in the passing game. This will be easier said than done, considering the fact that Green Bay will have safety Charles Woodson back in the lineup for the first time since injuring his collarbone in Week 7 of the regular season.
As mentioned before, both teams shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary from their opponent this weekend. The Packers will get a healthy dose of Peterson to the right, to the left, and up the middle. The Vikings will have a good chance of getting air sick from Rodgers and his aerial attack.
The two key factors in this game will be the return of Woodson and Green Bay’s home-field advantage. Woodson’s coverage in the secondary will make things even more difficult for Ponder and the Vikings’ pass offense that ranked 31st during the regular season. In addition, Woodson’s blitzing ability will come in handy in putting a stop toMinnesota’s running game.
To further help Green Bay, the frigid cold that is expected to sweep through Lambeau Field will definitely work to the advantage of the Packers.
Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 17
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