AJ Hawk

Technically I think I am wrong.  I believe that there are certainly scenarios in which the Packers could lose the game on Sunday and still make the playoffs at 10-6 provided that they win out.  I don’t think that is going to happen.  I really think that Green Bay needs to handle business on Sunday or the season is over.  I understand that Aaron Rodgers could play on thanksgiving and waved at people with his left arm or something dumb like at a concert last night, but this was not a perfect football team even before AR’s injury.  Yes, the team was well on it’s way to a 6-2 start and a run through a cake part of the schedule that would have had them fighting for a first round bye, but they certainly weren’t unbeatable.

If the Packers can pick themselves  up and beat the Vikings on Sunday, it keeps the possibility of 11-5 alive, and more importantly, it means that 10-6 doesn’t require perfection.  I’m not even sure that with Rodgers Green Bay, as beat up as it is, would be favored in all of it’s games coming in especially not necessarily in Detroit.  I still believe in this team, but there’s a very thin line between winning and losing in the NFL, and Aaron Rodgers has been blurring that line for the Packers for the last 5+ seasons.

Why the Packers Will Win: Green Bay still maintains a wide margin in talent over Minnesota, even without Rodgers.  I honestly don’t think there is that big of a drop off between Scott Tolzien and Christian Ponder, in fact, skills wise I know there isn’t.  Without Harrison Smith and Kyle Rudolph, the only two players on the Vikings that still scare me are Cordarelle Patterson and Adrian Peterson.  Jared Allen isn’t really a problem for David Bakhtiari and the rest of Minnesota’s players are either marginal or old.  Desperation is another reason why the Green and Gold will get a victory on Sunday.  They know that this will be a wasted season if they don’t get a win, and Minnesota has absolutely nothing to play for.

Why the Vikings Will Win: Aaron Charles Rodgers is not playing.

Fantasy Packer to Start: Scott Tolzien- I’m actually using Tolzien in one of my leagues where Aaron Rodgers is my starter and was backed up by Nick Foles (bye week).  He has been putting  up big yardage totals, and the Vikings have one of the least talented pass defenses in football after the loss of  Harrison Smith.  If you’re in a bind and missing your QB this week, think about Tolzien.

Fantasy Packer to Sit: James Jones- it seems like the one weapon (healthy weapon) that Tolzien doesn’t have a real connection with is James Jones.  Outisde of one long pass against the Giants, it really appears that Tolzien prefers Jordy Nelson and Jarret Boykin.

Bottom Line: Here’s the bottom line deal for me.  The Minnesota Vikings are the worst team in the NFC.  They are.  They’re not as good as Tampa.  They can’t hang with New Orleans like Atlanta just did.  If the Packers these Packers can’t get past these Vikings, they aren’t going to win the Super Bowl when Rodgers comes back.  Like it or not, that’s how success is defined when you have the best QB in football.  The question isn’t about are you making the playoffs? It’s about are you winning titles.  I have to believe that the Vikings have quit on this season and the Packers haven’t.  Talent alone paces Green Bay ahead of Minnesota, but I’m hoping that effort does too.   Packers 24 Vikings 17


Ross Uglem is a writer at You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem