|MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-2)
|GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-2)
|2 October 2014
|Green Bay, WI
|7:25 PM Central
| Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 225
Sirius Ch 92
|Know Thy Foe:
|Acme Packing Company
|60 degrees, winds 6 MPH from SE, 75% chance of thunderstorms
|Packers -9, Over/Under 48.5 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds Page)
|Packers 27, Vikings 20
|Packers 42, Vikings 10 (oops)
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For the second time in five days, the Minnesota Vikings will be taking the field. Yes, I'm picking the Packers in a close game. . .you have no idea how much that hurts. I just don't like the way this is all setting up, quite frankly. As always, in these cases, I will be more than happy to be proven wrong.
So, what can the Vikings do in order to pull off what would be considered. . .at least in the eyes of many. . .a significant upset?
1) Run the ball until Green Bay stops it - The Green Bay Packers have the worst run defense in the National Football League through four weeks of this season, a distinction they hold by nearly 20 yards/game over the next worst team. This past Sunday, the Chicago Bears ran the ball for 235 yards and averaged nearly six yards per carry against the Green Bay defense, while the Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon combined for 213 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. The running game is a place where the arrow clearly points to the Vikings, and with what looks to be a wet track at Lambeau Field, the Vikings would be wise to use that advantage.
2) Get off the field on third down - The Minnesota defense is much improved over what we saw last season, to be sure. However, the past two weeks they've been awful in third down situations, and that's a trend that has to come to a stop of the Vikings want a chance to win tonight. The last time the Vikings faced Aaron Rodgers, the Packers didn't have to punt the ball once, largely because Rodgers killed them on third downs. The Vikings need to "rush smart," as Mike Zimmer has been preaching over the past few days, and keep Rodgers contained as best they can. If he can escape the pocket, he's going to kill the Vikings on third downs again.
3) Take care of the football - In three of the Vikings' four games this year, they have not turned the ball over. (The one exception was the Matt Cassel interception-fest in Week 2 against New England.) In their other three games, they are +4 in the turnover department, including +2 in both of their victories. That's a trend that's going to have to continue this evening against a team that the Vikings can't afford to be giving extra opportunities to. Rodgers has struggled a bit against Mike Zimmer defenses in the past, and if the Vikings can steal an interception or a fumble somewhere without giving the ball up themselves, it could go a long way towards walking out of Lambeau Field with a victory.
Christian Ponder is going to get the start at quarterback tonight for the Vikings, as the team has elected to play it safe with Teddy Bridgewater. That just makes defense and running the football even more key in this one. Hopefully we'll get a pleasant surprise this evening.