Well, here we go boys and girls. Monday Night Football. Packers-Vikings. NFC North Showdown. Lambeau Field. Last time the Pack and the Vikes threw down, Minnesota nearly pulled off the improbable upset of the undefeated Packers, falling 33-27 in Christian Ponder's first NFL start. Since that week seven matchup, Green Bay has gone on to win every game that they've played, compiling an 8-0 record, while the old purple and gold have done the same, beating the Panthers in week eight before taking last week off. While the Vikes almost shocked the world last time, I have reason to believe the results will greatly differentiate, but also to believe that we have a shot at this thing.
The Best Running Back in the NFL: So, there's this running back. He wears number 28. I guess you could say he's fairly talented. Last time he lined up opposite of Clay Matthews and company, he torched them for 175 yards. If we can establish Adrian Peterson (the afore mentioned running back, in case you didn't figure it out) and because of that, set up the play action pass, I think we can work out some long, methodical drives that hopefully end in touchdowns, not field goals. If Green Bay's defense shuts down 28, we have no chance at winning. Christian Ponder is a solid quarterback, but he's not ready to completely carry a team like a Brady or Brees.
Secondary: I know I seem to be dwelling in the past, but Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of 30 passes for 335 yards and a trio of touchdowns in week seven. I remember questioning whether or not he would even throw an incompletion at one point early in the game. Our defensive backs need to do a better job of trying to contain Green Bay's passing attack. The problem is, if you focus on, say, Greg Jennings, Rodgers will throw to Jermichael Finley. If you cover Finley, he'll find Jordy Nelson, and so on and so forth. The back four need to focus on locking up their zones and not letting anything get deep. They're going to need some help as well, as I segway to my next point.
Defensive Pressure: We are blessed to have the league's leading sacker, Jared Allen, wearing the purple and gold. Perhaps the biggest key to this game is Jared, along with Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, and the Henderson-Henderson-Greenway law-firm, getting pressure on Rodgers. A majority of Rodgers' big play completions come when Rodgers gets time to throw, perhaps scrambles out of the pocket, and hits a receiver who ditched their route in order to get open downfield. If we can apply enough pressure so that he only has time to throw the quick routes, we can be somewhat successful. We also need to bring Winfield on some corner blitzes to shake things up.
Joe Webb: I seriously don't understand why we refuse to give arguably the best athlete on our team the ball. I don't care if it's the Blazer or subbing him in at receiver, just get him the freaking ball. It's a waste just having him sit on the sidelines with a headset on for 60 minutes every weekend.
Prediction: Packers-31 Vikings-17. I don't think we will get any closer than 14 points in this one. I think Peterson will go for 130 or so and 2 scores, and Ponder will throw for somewhere in between 180 and 220 yards. I hope we get the win, don't get me wrong, but I just don't see it happening. Have fun in your endeavors this evening and Skol Vikes!