Early Bird Breakdown Week 11 – Packers @ Vikings

Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown. It’s week 12 of the season, last week the Packers traveled to Seattle. Before going into this week’s match up we will take a look back at the recap.

The Recap:

Once again, the Packers failed to win on the road (now 0-5 on the road) traveling to Seattle. The game was close until McCarthy inexplicably punted the football on fourth and two with four minutes to go but after squandering nearly all of their timeouts Seattle was able to run out the clock and the Packers never gave Rodgers another score. The final score was 24-27 Seattle.

The Breakdown:

Packers’ Offense vs Vikings’ Defense:

Despite Minnesota’s poor record, overall their defense has held up to the fifth total defense in the NFL. The last game these two teams played the defense bent but did not break allowing 29 points in a tie. Rodgers was efficent but not spectaular and if McCarthy does not make adjustments (which is not his strong suit) the Vikings under Zimmer will adjust.

Enter Aaron Jones, who is having a breakout season despite still inexplicably only been given 15 carries in a single game this season. If he is properly utilized, he will help balance the offense. However, unlike previous times I have harped on the utilization of Jones, Minnesota is ranked 6th overall against the run. The defense is balanced, also allowing the fifth fewest passing yards as well. Green Bay (and McCarthy’s play calling) will need their A-Game against the Vikings’ defense.

Packers’ Defense vs Vikings’ Offense:

The Packers defense will have its hands full this week against the potent Vikings’ offense. Jaire Alexander has been steller but unfortunately for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine the Vikings have two true number one options to have Alexander assigned to in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Both will be problematic for the season but Thielen is on a potential record pace for receptions and yards. Will Diggs is more of the speedster, Thielen’s sure catches are what need to be limited to slow the Vikings’ offense.

The Weather:

Minnesota plays in a dome so weather is not a factor.

The Prediction:

This is a close game of two teams with higher aspirations when the season started than their records would indicate. The Vikings do boast a slightly more talented roster top to bottom than the Packers, with the Packers having the edge at the most important position quarterback. It then comes down to coaches, and while McCarthy may have a Super Bowl under his belt, his offensive schemes are more dated than Mike Zimmer’s defensive ones. Couple that with the Packers road struggles, I think the Vikings win 31-27.

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