Packers cornerback Charles Woodson has feasted off rookie NFL quarterbacks this season, posting multiple interception games against the Panthers' Cam Newton and the Vikings' Christian Ponder.
With that in mind, perhaps it wasn't a surprise that in advance of the upcoming Monday Night Football game featuring a rematch between Woodson and Ponder, the leader of the Packers defense was intercepting passes left and right during Thursday's Packers practice.
"Charles Woodson has veteran, savvy moves every day," said head coach Mike McCarthy during his press conference. "I think he had three or four picks today in practice."
Woodson is tied for the league lead in interceptions this season with five. Including two each off Ponder and Newton, Woodson also stole one from Kyle Orton of the Denver Broncos, which he returned for a touchdown.
Monday's game will be the second meeting between the Vikings and Packers in their past three games. It may also be a gauge for how much Ponder has improved since their last meeting, the first start of his NFL career.
Though Woodson robbed the first-year player for two tide-turning plays, Ponder gave a gritty performance that gave the then one-win Vikings a chance to win against arguably the best team in the NFL. The end result was a 33-27 loss to the Packers in Week 7, but Ponder was good enough to throw two touchdowns in addition to his to interceptions to keep the game close.
Ponder also showed considerable improvement in his next game against the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton in Week 8, a win in which he completed 18 of 28 passes (64.3%) for 236 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, good for the first 100-plus passer rating game of his career (102.7).
The Vikings are coming off the bye week, and as such, have had an extra week to prepare to face Green Bay. But will it be enough against the undefeated Packers?
Green Bay is ranked 30th in the NFL giving up an average of 399.6 total yards per game, and they've been particularly susceptible through the air ranking 31st by giving up an average of 299.6 passing yards per contest.
But in terms of scoring, which is what matters on the scoreboard, the Packers rank a middling 17th in the NFL, giving up 22.6 points per game. While that figure may not be dominant, it has allowed the Packers to be more than competitive.
Another prominent statistic, and one that Ponder is sure to have at least some knowledge of, is that the Packers rank first in the NFL with 16 interceptions.
And that's where Woodson's veteran experience comes into play.
"He has an excellent understanding of the concepts that the offense is trying to run, does a very good job of pre-snap formation recognition," said McCarthy. "And his instincts and his ball skills are extraordinary.
"He legitimately has big time hand-eye coordination as far as someone you're looking to play on offense. Very instinctive football player and there's a reason why he gets all those interceptions, very consistent with jumping routes and recognizing individual routes and concepts."
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