Early Bird Breakdown Week 16 – Vikings @ Packers

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week sixteen of the regular season for the Packers. Before diving into the game, let’s look at the recap from last week.

The Recap:

Last week Green Bay narrowly escaped Chicago winning 30-27. It looked like a snoozer going into the fourth quarter, with Green Bay scoring 17 points in the third quarter to take a 27-10 lead. However, conservative play calling and a leaky defense gave the Bears a comeback that almost won the game, but the Packers’ playoff hopes remained alive as they came out with the win.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Vikings’ Defense:

Last time these two teams faced the Packers struggled to move the ball. While Minnesota’s defense is still stingy giving up yards and points the Packers offense is playing much better right now. Aaron Rogers has been on fire on this four game winning streak, completing over 70% of his passes and doing so vertically with a very good 8.29 yards per attempt. With star Vikings safety Harrison Smith questionable, if he cannot go then the Packers will move the ball much more effectively this time around.

While Minnesota has been effective at stopping the run, the new tandem of Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery may give the Packers the balance needed to keep the chains moving and put this game away. If this combination can get over 100 yards combined, it is difficult to imagine the Packers losing, especially with how Minnesota struggles to score.

Packers’ Defense vs Vikings’ Offense:

Green Bay should fare much better this time around on defense despite the injuries. Minnesota is the second-worst offense in the NFL due to how the offensive line has imploded and Packer fans remember the last time they faced an offensive line this bad with the Seahawks and how that turned out. The Packers now have tape on quarterback Sam Bradford and can focus all week on him because the Vikings are the worst rushing team in the NFL. Adrian Peterson who managed to come back last week and play is hurt once again and ruled out, but he is not the biggest potential offensive injury.

The player that killed Green Bay in the last meeting was wide receiver Steffon Diggs is listed as questionable for the game. Most likely he will give it a go this week, but his hip injury should limit his explosiveness. Combine that with the fact Bradford will not have any time in the pocket, Green Bay’s defense should look really good this week.

The Weather:

The weather is nicer this week at a cool 28 degrees, virtually no wind, and no projected snow.

The Breakdown:

While the Vikings defense will limit the Packers offense, the Vikings themselves will have a lot of difficulty scoring. Since the 5-0 start, they have only scored over twenty points twice and have gone 2-7 in that span. Rivalry games tend to bring out the best in both sides, and I think the Packers win this one 24-13. Next week Green Bay goes to Detroit in a winner-take-all match for the division unless the Packers lose and the Lions win this weekend.

As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University