Just one day remains before the Packers play their second consecutive NFC North opponent to start the 2018 season, and this one is going to be their biggest test. In the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers face a team that matches up with them talent-wise at almost every position except quarterback and kicker, making this game as entertaining as it could be terrifying for fans.
With the game just on the horizon, it’s time for some bold predictions for the game from the Packers perspective, as well as a prediction for the result as well. So let’s get to work.
Kirk Cousins will throw 2 Interceptions
The biggest addition that either team made during the offseason was the Vikings signing Cousins to a fully guaranteed mega-contract, and he looked solid in Week 1. He ran the offense well and didn’t make any major mistakes. However, that was against a San Francisco team that is still young and learning their own identity on defense.
In an opponent like the Packers, it’ll be up to the offensive line to protect a pocket passer like Cousins. In his past, he’s been known to make mistakes when moved off his spot and throw wildly. It showed in the playoff game in 2014 when he was in Washington. With Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, and Muhammad Wilkerson taking on a mediocre interior offensive line, Cousins will be forced to move around, and interceptions will be the result. Look for Jaire Alexander and Tramon Williams to take the football away in the game.
Two Packers Receivers will have over 100 Yards
Randall Cobb had over 140 yards against the Bears and both Davante Adams and Geromino Allison weren’t far behind. With the Packers likely to go to more of the quick-tempo, short passing offense behind a hobbled Aaron Rodgers, the Packers could end up with a lot of guys getting touches and yards. Even against a strong Vikings secondary led by Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith, yards are to be had.
Rhodes will be matched up one on one with Adams for most of the game, but look for Cobb to take advantage of either Trae Waynes or Mike Hughes for another big game, and for either Geronimo Allison or Jimmy Graham to take advantage of the attention paid to Adams.
The Packers will score on defense or Special Teams
Tying in to the first prediction, if Cousins is moved out of the pocket and his accuracy wanes, it’s a prime opportunity for someone like Jaire Alexander to jump an route and take it back to the house. Or it could be a strip sack by Kenny Clark that is taken back by Nick Perry.
And don’t forget special teams either. Without Trevor Davis, it’s up to Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery to take the return duties, and each has the explosiveness to take one back. Cobb has shown it in the NFL, going back to his first game as a pro, and Montgomery was an All-American returner at Stanford. Somehow, someway the Packers will score in a way beyond their offense.
This will be an incredible game between two of the best teams in the NFC and it’ll come down to the wire. But the Lambeau Field effect will definitely have an impact, and if Aaron Rodgers plays like he did in the second half against Chicago, the Packers will win 27-21.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.