The Green Bay Packers open their season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. After sweeping the Vikings in 2019, the Packers are looking to repeat as NFC North champions. But, the Vikings will not go down without a fight. These are the Packers keys to victory in week one:
Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark are poised to continue their 2019 dominance into week one of 2020.
Cousins has proved to be less than mobile in the pocket, and Minnesota’s starting OL is still up for debate. Look for Mike Pettine to give Rashan Gary some major opportunities to provide the production that was lacking from his rookie campaign.
Block for Rodgers
Whoever wins the the starting spots on the right side of the Packers OL will have to prove themselves worthy in week one. Minnesota’s acquisition of Yannick Ngakoue has revealed their defense strategy: attack the quarterback early and often. Everson Griffen’s injury will cause him to miss Sunday’s matchup, making Minnesota’s pass rush slightly less dangerous. Even with the Griffen injury, the Vikings will attempt to get to Rodgers as often as possible. The Packers will slow down the pass rush by utilizing RBs and TEs in the pass blocking schemes and a steady diet of the run game.
Establish the run
The Packers best offensive weapon in 2019 was Aaron Jones. Playing under the final year of his contact, Jones will have the rock more often than not in 2020. If the Packers OL can get Jones to the secondary, expect the inexperienced corners to miss come angles. Jones dominated the Vikings in 2019, amassing 270 yards and 3 TDs in the two meetings between the divisional rivals.
Abuse the Vikings young secondary
Speaking of the inexperienced secondary, Rodgers will have a chance in week one to prove he is still an elite QB. Rodgers’ work before the snap and scrambling ability after a play breaks down will certainly be something the new Vikings secondary did not experience in camp. Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown will need to dominate early in their routes so Rodgers can get the ball out before the rush gets to him.
Win the turnover battle
Rodgers is the best in the business at keeping the ball away from defenders, but he is also susceptible to mistakes against this relentless Vikings D. Rodgers had an interception in the week 16 matchup and Jones had a costly fumble early in the game. With the goods outweighing the bads, the turnovers got overlooked and the Packers went on to celebrate the North title. This is one area the Packers will have to improve upon in week one if they want to leave Minnesota 1-0.——————
Kirien is a big fan of the Packers, Beer, and Battlestar Galactica. You can follow him on twitter at @KirienSprecher.