Minnesota heads to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. This is the second match-up of the season between these two teams, and it is a story of two teams going in opposite directions.
Green Bay is basically toying with the opposition right now. Aaron Rodgers is on fire and the Green Bay offense has scored 40 or more points in 3 games this season and have often been the highest scoring team in the NFL each week. Rodgers lit it up last week throwing for 247 yards and 4 TD passes last week against the Chargers. He only threw 5 in-completions in the entire game.
On defense, look for Allpro Charles Woodson to shut down the opposition in the secondary while Clay Mattews and B.J Raji keep things locked down in the front seven. Woodson has 1 sack to go along with 5 interceptions, which places him near the top of the league in that stat. Raji and Matthews have combined for 5 sacks this season, but they have opened up lanes for other players on the Packers defense to shine.
Guys like Desmond Bishop, who has 4 sacks to go along with 76 tackles has proven that his breakout year last year was no fluke. A.J Hawk has also been a pleasant surprise with 41 tackles and 2 sacks this season. Combined with Rodgers domination on offense, it is no wonder why the Pack is 8-0 these season.
For the Vikings, they are going to have to rely on their playmakers to keep the game close. This means a steady does of running back Adrian Peterson. Fortunately for the Vikings, they have rookie quarterback Christian Ponder keeping them in games since stepping in for Donovan McNabb.
While Ponder is only completing 51 percent of his passes this season, a large majority of that can be contributed to having to take shots down field, and throwing more passes than the Vikings would like. That is what happens when your team is behind a lot of the time. However, Ponder has shown poise and moxie for a rookie first round pick playing in what will be only his 4th game of the season, and his 3rd start.
Defensively for the Vikings, they will need Jared Allen to produce and rush the passer. His 13 sacks are among the league leaders and he is the one bright spot on an otherwise poor defense. Allen recorded 2 of those sacks against the Packers in Minnesota earlier this season.
This will be one of those games where the Vikings will have to pull out some tricks, and run the ball to keep it out of the hands of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offense showed how potent it could be by scoring touchdowns in less than a minute, including a roughly 80 yard touchdown pass to open the second half against Minnesota in their previous match-up.
However, if the Vikings can get some bounces to go their way, and the defense can get a few stops, it could be a competitive game. The fact that it will be in Green Bay will make it tougher though, as the crowd will be noisy and make it tough for the Vikings young quarterback. The Packers should expect the 2-6 Vikings to give it their best shot and play with a nothing to lose mentality.
The opening NFL odds do not indicate a close fought game though. The Packers are favored by 13.5 points for the Monday night clash.
|NFL OFFENSIVE RANKINGS||TOTAL||Passing||Rushing|
|GREEN BAY PACKERS||4||416.4||3||312.0||20||104.4|
|NFL DEFENSIVE RANKINGS||TOTAL||Passing||Rushing|
|GREEN BAY PACKERS||30||399.6||31||299.6||8||100.0|