The Packers have been sacked with injuries, and the Packers are approaching Sunday night’s game in Minnesota presumably without three key offensive weapons; no game is an easy win. But the upcoming game against the Vikings comes close; the Packers should win easily.
Despite having the best running back in the game and talented wide receivers, the Vikings offense barely registers a pulse.
The Vikings rode Adrian Peterson into the playoffs last season and had every reason to believe the 2013 would be no different. But in the last two weeks, the Vikings have barely run the ball at all.
In their week 6 match up against the Panthers, Adrian Peterson only ran the ball ten times. The Panthers have the 4th best running defense, so an offensive game plan not relying on the run makes sense. However, against the Giants last Monday night, Peterson rushed for only 28 yards on 13 carries. The Giants have the 21st ranked rush defense, allowing an average of 110 yards on 29 carries a game.
While the Vikings won’t be testing out a new quarterback this weekend, they will be facing the third best rushing defense in the league, the Packers.
The Packers have allowed a league low of 474 yards on the ground this season, averaging 79 yards a game on 23 attempts. Running against this defense won’t be easy and the Vikings have shown a recent tendency to abandon the run early.
That leaves the Vikings offense to rest of the arm of whoever starts at quarterback for the Vikings.
Josh Freeman had one of the worst quarterback showings in recent years on Monday night, completing only 20 of the 53 passes he attempted. ProFootballFocus graded Ponder at -10.8, which is the lowest single game grade for a quarterback they have ever given out. 15 of Freeman’s 33 incompletions were underthrown, with 4 more either behind the target or underthrown.
The Vikings signed Freeman to be their savoir at quarterback for this season, and potentially into the future. His debut did not impress. While Freeman would presumably improve some given more practice time with the team and more time to learn the plays, he is doing neither this week. At some point Monday night, Freeman suffered a concussion and a day after being named the starter for Sunday’s upcoming game; the reigns were tossed back to Christian Ponder.
Ponder hasn’t played since week three, and is coming off a broken rib. In the first three games this season Ponder threw two touchdowns and five interceptions. Matt Cassel stepped in for Ponder, but both were replaced by Freeman as the Vikings appeared to lack confidence in both Ponder and Cassel.
In a nutshell, the Vikings quarterback position is a mess of subpar play and three people who have yet to prove they can play the position.
The Packers pass defense is not as strong as its rush defense, but with the return of Morgan Burnett and strong play from Sam Shields and Davon House the Packers have been able to shut down some receivers. If the Vikings had a stronger passing attack that they could resort to when either Adrian Peterson gets shut down or the Vikings simply decide to stop running to him, the Vikings might stand a chance. But they don’t.
The Packers offense will be hampered more than it was last weekend against the Browns with Jermichael Finley most likely out, but the combination of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy and the cast of backups that will surround them will definitely tip the scales in the Packers favor.
Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.