Cory's Corner: It's Simple, Stop The Run

 
The moment you heard that Dalvin Cook wasn't playing on Monday, you probably let out a sigh of relief. 
 
Minnesota's featured back has an injured shoulder and last year's third rounder, Alexander Mattison is still recovering from a bad ankle. Which of course sets the stage for Mike Boone, an undrafted free agent in 2018. 
 
"We got to be prepared for whoever they put out there," said Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. "(Boone's) got some skills."
 
Now everyone is probably asking the same question, "Who the heck is Mike Boone?" He burst onto scene last week when the Vikings throttled the Chargers 39-10 in San Diego. He was brought in during the second quarter and in the second half he proved that he could run between the tackles and he could also kick it outside. 
 
"They're going to run their system," said Pettine. "They don't change. They are going to run the football, set up their play-pass."
 
Those aren't exactly words of encouragement because the Packers are ranked 24th against the run by giving up 121 rushing yards a game. However, there is a bright spot. Green Bay is only giving up 106 yards on the ground in the last four games. That pales in comparison to the first four games when the Packers were hemorrhaging 142 yards. 
 
"We've been communicating, we had been overcommunicating," Pettine said.
The Packers don't have a choice, the only way to win their first NFC North title since 2016 is to stop the run. Because even without one of the NFC's best running backs, the Vikings are going to attack the Packers' running defense like a virus. The defensive line must get a push and the linebackers must be ready to make plays. 
 
Because if those things don't happen, Kirk Cousins will be ready to take advantage. He has used play-action on 32 percent of his dropbacks per Pro Football Focus. The only quarterback with a higher percentage with at least 400 dropbacks is Lamar Jackson. 
 
The Packers are on the cusp of getting a first round bye. The only way that happens is if they earn their first win at U.S. Bank Stadium. And the only way that happens is if Green Bay can stop the running game. 
It sounds so simple, but yet, it's much more complicated. 
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (71)

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Bearmeat's picture

December 21, 2019 at 06:36 am

Cook is a risk to take it to the house on every play. He has that game-breaking speed. Mattison and Boone are more power backs. I'm far less concerned about their offense without Cook, especially with Theilen not in top gear still. Jaire on Diggs is a fine matchup for us.

Smith and Rudolph are still concerning, but I think we have a chance to keep the lid on their offense, at least marginally.

If our OL can keep them off ARod and we play with some tempo, we've got a shot.

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Cheesey51's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:36 am

Stop the vikes from running,is key.
Packers need to stay with their mantra "all gas no brake". Stay with it and keep their foot on the gas for 4QUARTERS.

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porupack's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:49 am

Stopping the pass is the key on defense. Any one of Rudolf and Smith, Thielen and Diggs can hit 120+ yards, or combine for 300+ yards in the air and kill GB moral, and the defense wears out:
No wide open receivers.
Minimal yards after the catch.
No WRs running wide open in short middle of field.
No bite on play action (err on letting them have the ground yards, than give up big play action pass.
Not leave cousins with 4-6 seconds to find receivers.
With Boone untested as a receiver, GB defense should focus on defending the pass.

Even more important; score touchdowns by GB offense. No better defense than to see Thielen, Diggs, Smith, Rudolf... and this Boone kid on the bench.

Time to open the playbook and open up that offense. that is the key.

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Stroh's picture

December 22, 2019 at 05:20 pm

You do realize megatron had a couple or few 200 yd recieving games against the Pack and list them all. Run Defense every down wears out the defense much more the playing pass D. Time consuming drives of 8 - 12 plays are non-exist when teams pass alot. Run D if far more fatiguing than pass D.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:56 am

Stopping the run would be big and help slow down the nay sayers. Most important is to win the turnover battle by 2 and the game is ours....score 28-24 Packers.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:59 am

I'm concerned about the run defense obviously. But I am more concerned about the Packers ability to stay on the field. Especially due to Rodgers decision making. He absolutely needs to start hitting the open man and stop taking needless sacks and hits.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:08 am

Not many open men this season.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:22 am

This is not true, Pete.

We’re throwing about 34 times a game and completing 22. So can we agree that somebody was open on the completions?

So that leaves about 12 incompletions a game. Subtract the drops, subtract the off target throws, subtract when Rodgers doesn’t see an open guy. How many pass plays are there with nobody open? Only a couple times each game.

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ironman3169's picture

December 21, 2019 at 03:26 pm

Have you been watching the games?
There have been open men on almost EVERY play! 12 either doesn’t see them, or chooses to wait for the big play, which has failed miserably this year.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2019 at 04:25 pm

24 TDs-- 2INTs and second best percentage on long passes. I'll concede that he hasn't been vintage Rogers, but to use the word miserable when describing Rogers is just......you need a large can of WD-40.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 21, 2019 at 05:17 pm

That's just not true.

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Handsback's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:00 am

Now if I were the Vikings coach....I would throw, throw, throw until the Pack proved they could stop them. Rin to keep them honest, but come out passing.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

I hope he listens to this.

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albert999's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:12 am

Just win baby

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Boneman's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:16 am

I feel like the Packers are soooo close! Close to putting a complete 4 quarter performance together and getting the signature 2019 win. Both the offense and the defense looks good and bad each game. Up 21-3 against the Bears we were a couple of plays away from ripping their hearts out but couldn't get it done. But we still won and we were close to that complete game. This team is moving forward and I for one am excited to see them take the next step. Watch how fast the band wagon fills up if they put it together this week! All the nay sayers will fade into the woodwork.This game sets up like a classic Vikings gag and Packers statement. Packers 31-13!

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pacman's picture

December 21, 2019 at 05:34 pm

Of course we will shut up (somewhat!) if the Packers put it all together for a big game. That's what we have been saying all along. This slump of offense is mostly on AR. OL lapses too but mostly on AR. And MLF for not making him see that.

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Chevy572rat's picture

December 23, 2019 at 12:19 am

My hope is MLF has been holding back some plays on offense to show for the first time in this game. I hope we haven't seen the whole offensive playbook yet. I agree, a full 4 quarters on both sides of the ball AND a PEDAL TO THE METAL mentality can get the job done. I would think that every Packer player and fan would love to ruin Christmas for the Vikes with a early LUMP OF COAL for their stocking !!!!! We can get it done. Go Pack.

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TarynsEyes's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:22 am

Nothing is simple until it actually is, and nothing for GB is simple.

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Lphill's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:23 am

Kenny Clark is back , this is big , the Smiths have settled in as cornerstones of the defense , Martinez has actually been showing up the past two games , and I think we see a little more Gary who was pretty quick on a slippery field last week now let’s see him on turf getting after Cousins.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:05 am

Yes, pressuring Cousins will be key because it will be a fast track for their talented receivers.

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PackfanNY's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:28 am

I think the Packers have been better and seem more committed to stopping the run the last few games. Of course, the opposition most certainly contributed. The loss of Dalvin Cook hurts the Viking tremendously because he clearly has the ability to break on at any minute. That is now gone. The other backs are good but the home run guy is out.

I am really looking forward to seeing if on the other side of the ball the Packers can get Aaron Jones going. I think the artificial surface helps his speed and he should have a big game. Looking forward to see if he can really get it going and it would also set up some play action.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:55 am

The goal is to win the division. It is not necessary to beat Minnesota to do that. It’s just fun to beat them.

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The_Justicar's picture

December 21, 2019 at 09:05 am

But...beating the Vikings helps towards a first round bye which would be helpful

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splitpea1's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:05 am

We're probably going to need that first round bye if we expect to go far in the playoffs. And who knows--we might have to play the Vikings a third time, hopefully at home.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:27 am

Is it?

We had the bye in 2011 and lost. We lost at home in 2013. We lost after the bye this year.

My friend Newton says that teams in motion remain in motion, and that a rolling stone gathers no moss.

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CAG123's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:56 am

I mean if we're digging through history here the Packers lost as a wild card in 2009 and 2015. You could make an argument for any case but if you're leaning toward the first round bye not being as important then why win the division at all? lets just drop the last two games and play on the road 2010 style.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 21, 2019 at 02:34 pm

My Point, Cag, is that sometimes it’s better to keep playing rather than taking your foot off the gas. I can think of several instances in recent Packer history ....during the Rodgers era... where we’ve played poorly in a big game following a bye week.

Winning the division? Hugely important. Moving up from the three seed two the second? Not nearly as important.

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CAG123's picture

December 21, 2019 at 04:05 pm

Packers won the division in 2011,2012,2013, and 2014 in both seasons they had a bye they went one and done (2011) and went 1-1 (2014) the seasons they went as a 3rd and 4th seed (2012,2013) they went one and done (2013) and 1-1(2012) foot off the gas or not the Packers still went 1-2 in the playoffs during each scenario. In the years they went as a wildcard they went one and done in 2009, 4-0 and a SB win in 2010, and 1-1 in 2015. Then in 2016 as a 4th they went 2-1
Top 2 seeds:1-2
3rd and 4th seeds: 3-3
Wildcard: 5-2

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Bure9620's picture

December 22, 2019 at 06:53 am

Totally disagree, 3 seed means we play NO in the Superdome and 2 likely means we play a southern dome team at Lambeau. I would like to see Drew Brees in Lambeau in January.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm

That’s all true leatherhead but the SB contestants have come from the #1 or 2 seed something like 8 out of 10 years. Didn’t look up the stat but it’s proving getting the bye increases your odds substantially. And, it would be huge if somehow we got the number one seed and all games are played at Lambeau. We need to win out and have San Fran and Seattle both lose one. We are big LA Rams fans tonight.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:11 pm

The goal is to win the Super Bowl.
The Vikings goal is always to win the division.

We hang NFL Championship banners.
They hang divisional banners.

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Chevy572rat's picture

December 23, 2019 at 12:30 am

True, but beating the Vikings definitely puts us in control of our destiny and can get this team to turn the corner and springboard into the playoffs. Now is the time to start playing your best ball, not just sliding into the playoffs for a one and done game. PLAY LIKE CHAMPIONS !!!! Go Pack !!!!

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mrtundra's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:56 am

Our pass rush has to get to Cousins. Pressuring him gets him to make bad decisions throwing the ball. Boone will be the key RB. Use the plan for Cook to stop Boone and they will be forced to pass. Our offense has to get on track so we can beat these wannabes, handily.

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Sol's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:17 am

I seems that both teams are very evenly matched. If I had to pick the areas of the game that could help secure a victory. I think it would be two battles Field Position and Turn Overs. J. K. Scott needs to have a booming day, putting our Defense in a position to pin their ears back.

I read a piece years ago, I think it was written by the old Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, in it he explained that the better you win the field position game, that tends to be directly proportional to winning the turn over battle. If you win the turnover battle you almost always win the contest. He also said a professional football game is 100 of the best athletes in the world surrounded by 50,000 screaming spectators , that are in dire need of exercise. He likened it to modern day gladiators competing in modern day coliseums.

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wildbill's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:08 am

I think our “bend but don’t break” defense will play well and give us an opportunity to win this game. My concern is our offense and will our receivers step it up. I hate to say it but it’s time for Allison and MVS to take a seat as we can’t afford their mistakes against this good of a defense.

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PeteK's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:43 am

This is a very tough D, more sacks and many more tkls for loss than us. I think sprint outs and roll outs by Rogers should be incorporated. However, Jones ran all over this D to a tune of 116-5.0. and 34 more yds on 4 receptions.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:05 am

This just in!!!

The Chargers have moved to LA!!!

Corey: "...Vikings throttled the Chargers 39-10 in San Diego. "

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:33 am

not be just a jerk but what was remotely accurate in that article?
It was all 25 year old + ideas

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stockholder's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:12 am

I'm optimistic! This is going to be a aerial shootout. Captain Kirk will throw the ball. HOW WE PLAY DEFENSE WILL DETERMINE THE GAME! Stopping the TEs has been are Achilles heel. Simple won't work this time. Expecting the unexpected is always the best defense.

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NickPerry's picture

December 21, 2019 at 06:34 pm

NO lining up 10 yards off. Get up in the grill of Thielin and Diggs and don't give Cousins what he loves to do most...Throw a 2 yard pass and let his WR's do all the work.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:23 am

The queens have athletic LB that can run sideline to sideline. I dont think the RB passing game will reappear this week. The way to exploit this defense is to run AT IT consistently. Put a hat on a hat, take a shoulder and turn your man and let the RB slide by. This will keep the chains moving and eat up clock while keeping nephew or uncle or cousin or whatever off the field.

Establishing the running game early will lead to a big day by AR. If MLF comes out and places the game in ARs hands from Q1 the pack will lose. The queens D is good enough to stop a 1 dimensional Pack attack. The run MUST be established at all costs. This means that even if the queens bottle it up in the first half to keep pounding the rock and dont default to the duck and chuck at the first sign of less than totl domination on the ground. Just keep chopping wood. At their outside rush guys and at their LB. Put an OL hat on those guys play after play and wear them down, it doesnt matter if the TD's dont come in bunches in the first half. Wear them down and then move to play action looks.

By late Q3 and Q4 a healthy mix of run and pass willresult in a pull away victory or at least lay the groundwork for a come from behind squeaker, either way GB wins if they pound the rock at least marginally effectively through all of the first half and the beginning of Q3.

Bench Graham and start Lewis, mix in Tonyan and then unleash Sternberger in Q3 and 4, this could be his breakout game.

Use the size and blocking abilities of Lazard and Kumerow and BENCH Gmo and MVS. Just do it for crying out loud, hasn't this coaching staff seen enough of failure at positions that have ready players waiting for an opportunity?

The handling of the GB WR this season reminds me of the handling of the RB under MM. FAIL. Lets wake up, smell the coffee, realize the past will repeat itself if no changes are made and get our best players on the field before the playoffs start.

I don't sweat the queen run game. They will get some yards, lets keep the long scores from happening, Theilen is dinged up, lets bracket Diggs giving Jaire some help there and NOT try to zone cover their TE, put an athletic safety on the TE and keep the ball out of their hands with under coverage.

Clark and the Smiths will do what they do which is all good, Lowry and Lancaster and the invisible man M.Adams must hold their ground and work the run game so the rest of the defense can play their gaps and contain. Contain the run and double Diggs will limit the explosive plays and get the Pack off the field enough times to allow the offense to employ the run heavy early gameplan I outlined above.

Then GB pulls away in Q4 for a resounding victory and a great springboard into the playoffs.

Lets git er done MLF!
Go Pack Go

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Ok Coach Johnny! There are many ways to win, you stat some good formulas, but most important is win the turnover battle and our chances are good.

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Tundraboy's picture

December 22, 2019 at 12:01 am

Sounds like a plan!

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:32 am

The packers are 11 and 3. They beat the vikings deliberately baiting the vikings to run. There was ZERO concerted effort to take away the run. The queens still lost trying to pass.

After 14 games of playing to stop the pass and HOPING team just would not run it is pretty clear what MIKE P wants.

So naturally we get back to the BS past where 'stop the run' meant something.

Serious question: What have you been watching all season? Now NOW you want to completely change what GB is doing on defense?
NOW you are 2nd guessing Goodson not getting a snap v the bears who had every incentive to run.

No Cook? Well yes then WITHOUT COOK we should change and focus on stopping the run.

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Archie's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:41 am

Vikes undefeated at home on fast surface with screaming fans. Pass rush from front 7 will be ferocious. If Pack can overcome that and score a win, it will be a signature win and a catapult to an exciting postseason. If not, we could be 1 and done. In other words, it's a big game.

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Since'61's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:53 am

First win the LOS on both sides of the ball.
Second, come to the LOS and snap the ball quickly, that alone will shock the Viqueens.
Third, receive the opening KO, don't defer. Get a score, play with a lead and keep the crowd out of the game.
Fourth, Play keep away with Jones and Williams, need the OL to play well for this to succeed.
Fifth, make the Queens offense one dimensional.
Sixth, win the TO and hopefully the field position battles.
Seventh, solid ST play. Maybe Ervin makes a big return or 2.
Eight, don't beat ourselves with stupid penalties.

No prisoners, no excuses. Take the division! Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Chevy572rat's picture

December 23, 2019 at 01:03 am

Have we used the hurry up offense at all this year ? I don't remember seeing it ? Makes me wonder if MLF can make calls quick enough for A'Rod to get the offense marching down the field in the manner and rhythm that A'Rod always preferred. I think it would catch the Vikes off guard and has been needed in our offense for awhile. Would also like to get William's more involved in both the run and pass game. I think using Jones and Williams more in the passing game might help make up for the pathetic play of GA, MVS and lack of a REAL , ATHLETIC, TE.

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CAG123's picture

December 21, 2019 at 11:54 am

I'm not saying we can rely on this but something about Cousins in big games makes rather comfortable 0-8 on MNF 1-9 against winning teams since 2018 if the Packers play sound discipline football on both sides of he field and make the Vikings play catchup like the first game they can win this game. Put the game in Cousins hands and he will make mistakes.

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jlc1's picture

December 21, 2019 at 09:04 pm

True dat.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 21, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Win on monday essentially guarantees GB moves past WC weekend. Basically a free shot at a playoff win. Get it done pack.

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murf7777's picture

December 21, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Cubby, the packers must win both games for a bye unless New Orleans loses one then the packers could also lose one and still get number two. Let’s win out and be hot going to the playoffs!

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 21, 2019 at 12:07 pm

This game is going to be an abject blowout for the Viking with the Packers dominating from the 1st quarter on. The Packers are putting it all together with the run game looking strong and improving along with Rodgers gaining familiarity and confidence in both Kumero and Lazard. Clark is playing at an all pro level and we are essentially injury free. Some commentators have gone so far as to predict that the Packers will wind up as the 6th seed, but Packer fans who really know the team, fully expect them to secure the one of the two byes with resounding victories over both the Vikings and the Lions. I'm expecting a 28-10 coast to victory and a great locker room and fan celebration.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:30 pm

I have about the opposite prediction as u but hope so much you're right & I'm wrong.

Their WRs are better.
Their TEs are better.
Their QB has been playing a LOT better.
We're lucky they're missing their RB1 & RB2, but we always suffer injuries in fricking Minnesota so I worry there ...

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Leatherhead's picture

December 22, 2019 at 09:56 am

Lots of better parts. Better team?

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Lare's picture

December 21, 2019 at 02:05 pm

The Packers are already in the playoffs. While a win against the Queens would be great, to me it's more important to keep all their key players healthy.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 21, 2019 at 02:57 pm

Playing to stay healthy is the same as playing not to lose.

That mindset is polluted!

All gas, no brakes!

If players go all out with technique there is little chance of injury. Playing not to get hurt is a solid recipe for muscle pulls and losing collisions resulting in injuries.

I hate a half-assed mindset, that is for losers, not the 2019 GBP.

Play to win, give it your all and then move forward.

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ironman3169's picture

December 21, 2019 at 03:51 pm

Hell yeah, Johnblood!

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albert999's picture

December 21, 2019 at 06:52 pm

You go johnblood

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:18 pm

This just in: I hate the Vikings more than any team in any sport & that's 90% because of their *!*&@% fans, and 10% because of Anthony Barr. I still want payback on that @*&#%@.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 21, 2019 at 07:21 pm

Let's go RAMS!!!!!!!

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

December 21, 2019 at 08:47 pm

Stop the run?
Most of Packer Mock Nation wanted us to take this guy back in 2015 but Teddy gave us Damarious Randall instead.

https://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/29327/hes-not-a-pr...

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jlc1's picture

December 21, 2019 at 09:00 pm

I keep reading about it's time for so and so to step up. I think 14 games in the Pack has a system and if you haven't stepped up yet you are not likely to now, you're not part of that system. So we might see some variations of set plays that give Vitale a target or Tonyan but all that is a way to mix it up. Thus I think it is the Aarons and Davante that need to step up and the Minnesota D knows that and will key on them. Don't see this O being better than the Vikes D. I will be very happy to be very wrong though.

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 21, 2019 at 09:42 pm

To quote Olivia Newton John: Let’s Get Physical. This time of year the officials let more slide than ever.

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Lphill's picture

December 21, 2019 at 10:15 pm

Clay still bringing it against the 49 ers.

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Bure9620's picture

December 22, 2019 at 10:03 am

The x-factor is Jaire and King. Can they lockdown those WRs? And force the Vikings to commit to the run?? Also Savage looks healthy now, man can he fly to the ball. This is going to be a rather low scoring game I think. Packers get their first win in that building. 16-14

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Packers0808's picture

December 22, 2019 at 07:16 am

Anyone know how close Raven Green is to coming back, or is he ready for this game? For some reason can't seem to find any info on him. I really like his play and would be a big help here even if on a "pitch" count!

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flackcatcher's picture

December 22, 2019 at 08:04 am

As far we know he is done for the season. But the Packers do have one to use on IR to roster. It all depends on how his ankle is heal up from the knife. Some of the silence is the usual NFL 'cloak and dagger' crap that goes on. But federal health laws prevent sharing of info for damn good reasons. With Greene's injury occurring so early in season, there might be a chance, but most likely it would in the playoffs if he is activated at all.

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Lphill's picture

December 22, 2019 at 08:43 am

Packers also had a linebacker Bolton I think who also got hurt in the same game as Brown on the poor field who was supposed to contribute this season.

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canadapacker's picture

December 22, 2019 at 08:46 am

Yes stop the run - number 1 stop the run - But I still believe that our biggest flaw is the speed of our linebackers. We simply are not fast enough to cover guys like Rudolph and backs out of the backfield and those short crossers. Phillie killed that with that and when you come up against a Ertz, Kittle etc they can really hurt you - put that on the other side - Graham, Tonyon and Lewis are very slow and until Sternberger proves it we are outmatched at Tight End. So I will still say dont get killed by the Tight End.

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Lofton82's picture

December 23, 2019 at 04:07 am

This is it for me. They will be a threat on the ground, even without Cook, but we can cope. It's matching up against TEs now. This is the #1 threat in my opinion. We pass rush and we drop into zone coverage - all the time. It leaves so much room for quick slants and screens with very little quality at ILB.

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GVPacker's picture

December 22, 2019 at 04:30 pm

The Packers offense has to control the los and keep that Queens defense on the field and gas em out!
This will enable the Packers defense to keep pressure on Kirk Cousins who's past overdue for a stinker!

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