Key Battles for Packers vs Vikings

The Vikings defense was a terrible mess last week. Which version shows up against the Packers in Week 16 and does it matter?

The key to this game is really very simple, in a broad sense.

Which Vikings defense shows up to Lambeau?

Will it be the defense which played so well for much of the season and helped Minnesota beat the Packers in their first meeting? Or will it be the defense which collapsed against Indianapolis last week in a must-win game at home?

Last week this Vikings defense couldn’t sack Andrew Luck behind an offensive line almost as bad as the one Minnesota features. That’s bad. No, that’s worse than bad: it’s inexcusable.

In either event, you have to feel good about Aaron Rodgers and the offense this week. Rodgers might have a sore calf and a banged up knee but you can add measles, a cold and leprosy and he should be successful against this defense.

Especially as the rushing attack is working the way it is. The team has finally embraced Ty Montgomery as their main back last week and was rewarded with a 162-yard-two touchdown performance. Christine Michael finally got going as well, adding a long touchdown of his own.

The Vikings allow an average of 106.3 yards per game on the ground, though they are stingy in the red zone, allowing just eight touchdowns this season.  That’s fine because the Packers throw a lot in the red zone. Jared Cook, Davante Adams, and Jordy Nelson all have received a lot of targets in the red zone over the last few weeks, even with Montgomery and fullback Aaron Ripkowski getting carries as well.

As long as the offense does its job, it’s hard to imagine the defense having an issue with the offensive line/dink and dunk offense the Vikings feature. Sam Bradford has been a mess the latter half of this season, often looking as bad in the fourth quarter of games as he ever looked with the Rams.

His limitations—coupled with a lack of run game—makes the Vikings fairly predictable and easy to counter.

No, the truly critical point is in how the Packers handle the Vikings defense and which version shows up.

The way the Packers and Rodgers are playing right now, even a top-shelf Vikings defense may not be enough to stop it this week. 

0 points

Comments (16)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
sheppercheeser's picture

December 23, 2016 at 05:37 am

Boy, another one of those scary games coming up on Saturday. Sure, GB should handle the Vikes easily, especially at home, but how they dismantled the Seahawks and barely squeaked by the Bears makes me nervous about the game on Saturday.

0 points
0
0
Jean Mitchell's picture

December 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

Detroit barely squeaked by the Bears the week before so I figured the Pack would have a battle on their hands with Chicago (didn't expect that 17 point lead to vanish though...). Still some nervousness about the Christmas Eve game. Weather shouldn't be a huge factor but playing smart and playing the full 4 quarters will be.

0 points
0
0
Allan Murphy's picture

December 23, 2016 at 11:06 pm

More beer hope they win 31-17

0 points
0
0
Donster's picture

December 23, 2016 at 06:02 am

I would imagine the Vikings, having been embarrassed last week, will come out to make up for last weeks performance. That said, I believe the Pack can handle the Vikes at Lambeau. The Packers pass rush must finally emerge this week and next week. If so, and the Pack is in the playoffs, that must continue. It will make it easier for the secondary. Play 4 quarters guys on both sides of the ball.

0 points
0
0
Ibleedgreenmore's picture

December 23, 2016 at 06:08 am

They should handle them but to me the Visqueens are a scary team. The D is something but if they can score as they have the last two weeks maybe we can have our D hold them off.

0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

December 23, 2016 at 06:42 am

This time of the year, these games are typically won in the trenches. Who wins in the trenches wins the games.

Packers offense needs its OL to control the Vikings DL. They need to give Rodgers time, especially since he is still hobble from his leg injuries.

0 points
0
0
Savage57's picture

December 23, 2016 at 07:38 am

One team with everything to gain from a win, playing another team with far less to gain from one. Except schadenfreude.

The Vikings will come with everything they have, sparing no nastiness, which they have in abundance.

Should the Pack jump out to and hold a considerable lead late, I'm all for pulling AR lest the Purple Pukes resort to putting QB1 out of commission as their season's salvation.

0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

December 23, 2016 at 09:05 am

I expect the Vikings to come out and play as hard as they can. They got embarrassed against the Colts. I don't expect that type of performance again.

If the Packers can get out to an early lead, I think that would be huge for them.

If they do get out to a huge lead I would be ok if they pulled Rodgers out.

0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

December 23, 2016 at 08:07 am

Vikings can be very dangerous with their passing attack. I think most remember their first game! They aren't the same team without their oline regulars, and the Packers are playing better. Because of the rivalry....expect a tight game.

0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

December 23, 2016 at 08:21 am

I expect the Vikings to throw the kitchen sink at us. Gadget plays, flea flickers, jet sweeps, fake punts/FGs, weird formations, it's all on the table. They're in desperation mode.

Mike Zimmer called out LB Anthony Barr for his lackluster play. Not just him though -- he's trying to light a fire under his entire team, especially the defense since he still manages the calls for that side of the ball.

Keys to victory:

1. Get an early lead on these guys. Get them demoralized quickly much like the Colts did last week.

2. Demarious Randall. He played horrible vs. Stefan Diggs last time and is coming off of a benching in Chicago. Will the Packers give him help?

3. Kyle Rudolph has been a target monster as of late. The Packers will need to account for him.

4. Maintain discipline. This is going to be an emotional game -- for both teams. Don't get sucked into trash talk and then get flagged for a stupid 15 yard, drive-killing penalty. I expect it to be as chippy as the Seattle game.

Packers win 24-16.

0 points
0
0
Jean Mitchell's picture

December 23, 2016 at 09:21 am

I fully agree on looking for Minnesota to throw the kitchen sink at us. The Pack needs to be on the look out for anything and everything out of the ordinary. We need to play a smart 4 quarters, playing to full out win this game vs playing to not lose.

0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

December 23, 2016 at 09:44 am

Totally agree on your point about 4 quarters. It's one of the things that frustrates me about McCarthy -- we don't put teams away. We let Seattle creep back into the 2014 NFC championship game, we let the Bears creep back into the game last week. We need to put teams away.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

December 23, 2016 at 08:45 am

Pack OL is the key to victory this week. Get an early lead and then keep the Viqueens O off the field. Quick passing game could work here with some strong runs by Monty and RIP. Wear down the Queens defense and pull away in the second half. Also, we need a consistent pass rush on Bradford to help our CBs. We can't let Diggs run all over the place again. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

December 23, 2016 at 09:16 am

Let's not forget that last year the Vikings did a fake punt successfully, throwing to Adam Thielen. I expect more tricks up Mike Zimmer's sleeve since the Vikings are desperate.

0 points
0
0
Norm's picture

December 23, 2016 at 09:57 am

C'mon Andrew: "Rodgers might have a sore calf and a banged up knee but you can add measles, a cold and leprosy and he should be successful against this defense."

Measles and a cold, maybe. But leprosy? No way! Gives a whole new meaning to 'hand off in the backfield'.

0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

December 24, 2016 at 05:42 am

Too bad both teams aren't at full strength, I wished APeterson would be playing. Might be the last we see of him, eh? Hated his handling of his abuse, and diminished his career, but for straight football, only a handful of running backs would you watch a full 60 minutes just because of him.
But I worry more about the backup. Too often the opponents backup does more damage against the pack, and seems MM so often under-estimates...and they have breakout games out of obscurity. Then return to obscurity after the packer game. I had this chalked up as a loss since pre-season...and am sticking to it. Hope I'm wrong, but so goes my confidence in MM.

0 points
0
0