For the second time in two weeks, the Green Bay Packers will face the Minnesota Vikings, only this time the loser’s season is finished.
Because the Packers weren’t able to beat the Vikings last week in Minneapolis, the Vikings will now travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in the first round of the playoffs.
The name of the game for the Packers defense is the same as it always when they face the Vikings. Stop Adrian Peterson.
Peterson has rushed for 210 and 199 yards in both games against the Packers this season, so the Packers have yet to figure out a way to stop him. But it appears that the Packers will get Charles Woodson back from injury for this game, which will help the Packers pass and rush defense.
Since stopping Peterson will most likely not happen, the Packers will have to make sure that quarterback Christian Ponder doesn’t do any damage against them. In the game last week, Ponder threw for three touchdowns and 234 yards. The Packers can give Peterson his big yards, but if they slow down Ponder, the Vikings will be at a big disadvantage because the Packers can stack the box and hope to hit Peterson at the line of scrimmage.
Green Bay’s offense will get a boost from the returns Randall Cobb. Rodgers performed real well last week, and the return his new favorite receiver will mean he should only do better this week.
The Vikings haven’t been able to slow down Rodgers this year, so the offensive game plan should be to let Rodgers air it out and move the ball up and down the field. The Packers should try to jump out to a quick lead and then try to establish the run to slow down the game and keep Adrian Peterson off the field.
While the Packers are getting healthier, the Vikings are facing injury problems. Adrian Peterson is still dealing with some minor injuries that haven’t really slowed him down, but he is still not 100 percent. The bigger issue could be from the news that Christian Ponder has some issues with his elbow and has been limited in practice this week.
The Packers have history on their side, as they have won five out of six meetings against the Vikings when they have Peterson on their roster and the Vikings are 0-3 against the Packers in Lambeau when Peterson tops 100 yards. But the Packers have also lost four out of the last six home playoff games.
Last week the Packers had almost everything going against them and the Vikings used their momentum and their home field advantage to beat the Packers. This time both teams are on even ground and the Packers have home field advantage. The return of Cobb will boost an offense that has already dominated the Vikings defense and the return of Woodson will help the Packers defense slow down both Peterson and Ponder.
The Vikings may have gotten the better of the Packers last week but this time the Packers are at home and will get the better of the Vikings.
Packers win 31-23.
The Keys to Victory
- Stop Adrian Peterson – Seriously. Do it.
- Don’t let Christian Ponder beat you – These are the same first two as I had last week but the proof is in the film. The Packers let both Peterson and Ponder get the better of them and they still only lost by a field goal. If the Packers stop just one, Ponder is the easier of the two, they will win the game.
- Buck the trend – The Packers were unbeatable at home in the playoffs for the longest time but have lost four out of the last six playoff games at home. Also the last time these teams faced each other, the Vikings beat the Packers in Lambeau. It’s time the Packers start another home playoff winning streak.