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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-1) GAME #8 GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-2)

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Date: 1 November 2009 Location: Green Bay, WI
Time: 3:15 PM CST Stadium: The House that Favre (Re)Built
TV: FOX
DirecTV Ch. 709
Know Thy Enemy: Acme Packing Company
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 27, Packers 24
Final Score:

Hey, so there's a game this afternoon, I hear.

You know, I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but I'm not nearly as amped up for this game as I was for the clash at the Dome a few weeks ago. Am I more confident? Not necessarily, even though (as you can see) I think the Vikings win this afternoon. Is it having to wait until 3:15 to see the game? Maybe a bit. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for kickoff and everything, but I'm not crazy or nervous like I was before the Week 4 matchup.

So, what are the keys this afternoon?

1) Keep Favre upright - In the first meeting between these two teams, Brett Favre saw very little in the way of a pass rush from the Packer defense. Part of this likely stems from Green Bay's boneheaded decision to take one of the best pass rushing defensive linemen in football, Aaron Kampman, and make him drop back into coverage a lot. Kampman is, allegedly, playing more on the line of scrimmage since the Packers' bye, but we'll see how well that works against a quality team like Minnesota as opposed to teams like Cleveland and Detroit. Favre is 6-0 in his career against teams that have either been coached by or had their defenses coordinated by current Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers, so the next time that guy fools #4 will be the first. If the Vikings can keep Favre's jersey clean, it should be a very good day for the ol' gunslinger.

2) Get to Aaron Rodgers - The Packers keep moving people around on the offensive line, and the net result is a unit that still isn't very good. Jared Allen will likely be matched up against rookie T.J. Lang, who #69 had his way with as an injury replacement in the first game. The Packers' starting center, Jason Spitz, also appears likely to miss today's game, which is good for the Williams Wall. The Packers are down to three healthy wide receivers, and TE Jermichael Finley (who put on a show against the Vikings a few weeks ago) is a "long shot" to play today, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy. That could limit some of the package the Packers like to run, such as their five-wide set. That might mean they leave more guys in to block, but the Vikings showed in the first matchup that they can get to Rodgers regardless. They need to keep that trend going today.

3) Let the Packers pick their poison - Green Bay has a choice to make. They can either focus on stopping Adrian Peterson and let Favre go nuts (like they did in Week 4), or they can devote more guys to the pass and let #28 go crazy (like they did in the 2008 matchup at the Dome where AP got 192 yards on them). They've shown that they're not good enough to do both. The Vikings need to figure out what the Packers' plan is and keep attacking it.

This game can pretty much put the NFC North division on ice for the Beloved Purple if they can pull out a victory today. It would give them a season sweep of the Packers and, essentially, a three-game lead over Green Bay going into the Vikings' bye week. With a three-game homestand coming out of the chute after the bye against three teams that aren't particularly good (Detroit, Seattle, and Chicago), the Vikings could find themselves in very, VERY good shape if they win this afternoon.

It's about ninety minutes before kickoff, ladies and gentlemen. . .and, in a sign that the football gods are smiling down on us, the Vikings are the featured game today on Fox, and we won't have to listen to one second of whining douchebaggery from Joe Buck, as he's busy with that whole World Series thing going on in Philadelphia tonight. In the words of latter-day American philosopher Ice Cube. . ."Today. . .is a good day."

Oh, and since I haven't mentioned it already. . .our intrepid co-blogger Eric is actually going to be in Green Bay today. He'll be part of an interview session with Bart Starr, Jan Stenerud, and Paul Krause before heading to Brett Favre Field to take in the game. Hopefully he'll be checking in with some live reports as the game goes along. Have a good time, Eric!

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!