We have reached another divisional rival game in the schedule, and after a momentum-shifting come from behind victory, the Green Bay Packers are ready to face their much-hated rivals from Minnesota. The Packers eyes are set on making a return trip to Minnesota this February for the Super Bowl and a win against another hostile road crowd in Minnesota would certainly be a step in the right direction.
The Packers were fortunate to make it out of Dallas with a win due to the heroics of their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If the Packers hope to continue their winning ways they will have to have a good week of practice and correct some of their lapses in fundamental parts of the game.
Here are some of my keys ???? ???? to coming out of Minnesota with a win this Sunday.
Keys to Victory:
1. The front seven needs to be more aggressive at the point of attack:
Last Sunday’s performance on defense was not one of the better ones of the season, as the Cowboys offense was able to move the ball down the field at will. The early dominance in the time of possession battle caused the Packers defense to wear down late, causing Ezekiel Elliot to run free in the fourth quarter.
Dak Prescott was able to find his receivers on third down to continue to move the chains and make big plays down the field. This week, The Packer defense must get third down stops. The lack of ability this season, to get third-down stops has caused the defense to wear down late in games because they cannot seem to get off of the field earlier in the game. The front seven must do a better job rushing the passer, securing sacks, and penetrating Minnesota’s offensive line.
2. Keep giving the ball to Aaron Jones:
Aaron Jones had a career day against the Cowboys rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries averaging a whopping 6.57 yards per carry. His breakout performance came with the Packers offensive line being less than one-hundred percent. Look for Aaron Jones to continue to see carries this week and help keep Minnesota’s front seven in check with some tough runs.
Jones also showed his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, catching a bullet pass from Rodgers on the sidelines for a first down. This pass-catching ability will allow the Packers to open up the screen game a bit more and allow Jones to use his blockers to create lanes up the field. Jones’s successful deployment in the screen game will be another way for McCarthy to neutralize Zimmer’s front seven and exotic blitz packages and provide Aaron Rodgers with more time to throw the ball throughout the game.
3. Contain Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs:
Both Diggs and Thielen have had success against the Green Bay secondary in recent memory. It is important that Thielen and Diggs are jammed and bumped at the line of scrimmage in order to cause the timing of their routes to be off.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix cannot continue to give receivers space to operate. Instead, he must engage the receivers and pursue the ball aggressively looking to make impact hits and interceptions. Damarious Randall must prove that his second half in Dallas was more than just a fluke interception return for a touchdown and key pass defense on a free play. He must realize that his benching was a signal to him that he is playing on borrowed time and must make the most of his opportunities because the sand in his hourglass is rapidly dissipating.
In recent years Mike Zimmer has had the advantage over the Packers offense by consistently being able to both apply pressure to Aaron Rodgers and jam his receivers at the line of scrimmage. As a result of his blitzes and coverage schemes, the Packers offense has, for the most part, not been able to find a consistent rhythm.
With the Vikings working with two starting quarterbacks, their superior defensive scheme looks to at least be neutralized due to the lack of continuity on offense.
I see Mike Zimmer’s defense with the help of the Vikings faithful, holding the Packers to 20 points. I also see the Packer defense capitalizing on the lack of stability at the Vikings quarterback position. I believe that the lack of continuity, coupled with an embarrassing performance in Dallas will be all the fuel that the Packers defense will need to correct its mistakes and have a dazzling performance in Minnesota.
I predict the Packers win 20-17.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave