The Green Bay Packers will look to bounce back from their humbling defeat as they take on division rival, the Minnesota Vikings.
As seems to be the theme this season, the Packers are faced with more bad injury news. It looks like defensive end C.J. Wilson will miss this game with a knee injury he suffered last week. Clay Matthews is also still an unknown. This is bad news because both of these players are great at stopping the run and with the NFL leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, coming into town, the Packers could really use these guys.
The Vikings have injury news of their own, as star wide receiver, Percy Harvin, has been battling injury issues and may not play Sunday. This will help the Packers defense because second year quarterback, Christian Ponder, has struggled this season and not having his best receiver on the field will only hurt him.
With the injuries to both sides, look for the Vikings to run the ball as much as they can. Peterson is having a fantastic season and without the Packers two best run stoppers, he should have a great game running the ball. The Packers defense will have to do all they can to slow him down.
Green Bay should be able to handle the Vikings passing attack. Ponder has 13 touchdowns to nine interceptions and only averages about 186 yards passing per game. The Vikings coaching staff will rely mostly on Peterson and only ask on Ponder to make a couple of big plays this game.
The Packers offense will get a boost with the return of Greg Jennings, which will also mean the return of the quick slant pass, a staple in the Packers offense that has been missing all season. This will also have a positive effect on the offensive line, which has really struggled since the loss Bryan Bulaga. The Packers will most likely focus on short passes to give the line a break and to make sure Rodgers doesn’t end up getting knocked to the ground every other play.
The Packers running game will be run of the mill, just like it has been all season. The Vikings are in the middle of the league in their run defense and because of the injuries to the offensive line and Cedric Benson, the Packers running game has never really taken off. Don’t expect that to happen this game either.
If the Packers were at full strength, this would be a one sided game, but the Packers injuries play right into the Vikings strengths. The loss of C.J. Wilson and Clay Matthews, if he does sit out this game, will play right into the Vikings strength of a strong running game. The injuries on the offensive line have left Rodgers’ pass protection to be subpar, which will play right into Jared Allen’s hands.
This is a game the Packers will still win. They have been good at bouncing back from bad losses and playing well. The Packers have a four game winning streak at home this season and have won five of their last six at home against Minnesota. Even with all the injuries, the Packers are still the better team. The injuries will make the game closer than it should have been, but the Packers will prevail 30-20.
Three Keys to Victory
- Throw everything you have at stopping AP – The Packers injuries on defense have greatly affected their run defense. This is bad news as league leading rusher Adrian Peterson comes into town. While there is no way they will stop him, they have to at least slow him down and make the Vikings put more pressure on Christian Ponder to move the football.
- Run the quick slant till it’s out of style – The Packers won’t be able to fix their offensive line issues overnight, but the return of Greg Jennings will bring back the quick slant pass, which will give the line a rest as Rodgers won’t have to drop back deep and scan the field as often.
- Maintain the anger – The Packers, Vikings rivalry is a very heated one and the Packers continuing success can’t sit well with the Vikings players. With the Packers just coming off a crushing loss and the Vikings still fighting for a playoff spot, this game carries high importance. The Packers will have to make sure they keep their heads and don’t let the rivalry get the best of them.