Cory's Corner: The Packers must keep pace with Minnesota

If you glance at the Packers’ schedule it says that they host Dallas this week.

However, this week is all about keeping pace with Minnesota.

Yes, you read that right. The Vikings are the class of the NFC right now. They are unbeaten, have a plus-56 point differential and they replaced their starting quarterback moments before the season, are playing with a backup running back and backups at left and right tackle.

Minnesota has eight players on injured reserve, which is why the rest of the league is baffled.

If Green Bay’s No. 1-ranked run defense doesn’t pass the Ezekiel Elliott test, then the Packers aren’t just staring at another chink in the armor, but also a two-game deficit in the NFC North.

I could realistically see Minnesota going 9-2 the rest of the way, with road losses to Philadelphia and Green Bay. That would make the Vikings 14-2 and a safe bet to nail down home field advantage in a very unpredictable NFC.

That’s why this game is so huge. The Packers aren’t just playing Week 6; they are also trying to prevent the Vikings from getting too far away.

Obviously, to do that, the Packers have to figure out themselves a little first. They have to understand how to be better than 28th in yards per pass attempt, they have to figure out why they are dead last in receiving yardage and they must get a sense of why Jake Schum has been plagued with poor punting ever since the games started to count.

Those aren’t easy questions, and don’t even bother asking Mike McCarthy, because the head coach will just scoff and wonder why you’re asking him about an offense that can tally 400 yards in a game.

Let’s face it, the offense is ill. Eddie Lacy is now dinged up — with backfield depth that is paper-thin — and a receiving corps that is desperate to find a tight end that can stretch the field.

This team has plenty of problems. Its No. 1 receiver still isn’t 100 percent yet, and nor should he be, after undergoing what he has been through this past offseason. There’s an argument that the team’s No. 1 cornerback should call it a career after suffering four concussions in the last six years.

And yet, here we are. The Packers are 3-1 and need a win on Sunday to cement themselves as a legitimate run defense and to stay within an arm’s reach of Minnesota.

Beating Dallas would be nice. But let’s face it, that’s not going to help Green Bay in Week 16 when the Vikings come to Lambeau Field.

Sunday marks the third of a four-game home stretch for the Packers. You always need to take care of business at home, especially because a trip to upstart Atlanta is lurking in two weeks.

The Vikings could easily fall flat on their face in the second half of the season, but with that terrifying defense they’ve got, it makes things a lot easier on Sam Bradford and Co. And that’s why Aaron Rodgers needs to stop sensing a pass rush that isn’t really there. He needs to be confident, step up in the pocket and deliver a strike.

Or else the Vikings will win the division by St. Nick’s Day. 

-------------------

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

0 points

Comments (33)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Nick Perry's picture

October 15, 2016 at 07:56 am

I don't think the Vikings go 9-2 the rest of the way simply because they've played WAY above their heads offensively. If Bradford isn't injured like usual in the next few weeks, he'll come back to earth, his entire career suggests this. They don't have a running game and AP ins't going to come back this season "Stronger", if he even makes it back. But I'm not going to discredit that Defense because it is ferocious. When they played week 2 Rodgers was a turnover machine and that was the difference in the game. Even this version of Rodgers over the last 15 games doesn't turnover the ball like that at least.

The Packers need to win this game because it's an NFC game and I'd imagine have huge implications on the Playoff picture at the end of the year. The Packers could very well be a game ahead of the Vikings by week 16. If that turns out to be the case, week 16 could be for the division. If the Packers are a Wildcard team come January I'd imagine Dallas would be a team fighting for a spot too. I'm telling you, Elliott will be an afterthought by the 4th quarter because the Cowboys will be passing the ball. This is a game the Packers look like the Packers for 4 quarters and the old saying of "The short passing game is an extension of the running game" will be true. Especially if Lacy is gimpy.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GVPacker's picture

October 15, 2016 at 04:50 pm

Well said Nick Perry , you're having a good season on the field and on this Blog!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Michael Grunewald's picture

October 15, 2016 at 06:12 pm

I sure hope so. It has been a while since this team put four solid quarters of footbal together on both sides....maybe since the Divisional Round playoff game against these same Cowboys.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

October 15, 2016 at 08:17 am

Watching Minnesota's defense, I just think we're playing for a Wild Card. They're too good. Our offense lacks weapons in a big way.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
egbertsouse's picture

October 15, 2016 at 08:45 am

The only way MN loses the division is if Bradford suffers a season ending injury, which is possible given his history. However, with that D Shaun Hill could get them 5 wins. He only has to put up 17 pts a game.

Packers better get to their A-game soon.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

October 15, 2016 at 08:52 am

Complete lunacy Jennerjohn.

The Vikings offense is B.A.D. BAD. Their defense and special teams is good, but you don't get to 14-2 by having 2/3rds of a good team.

I agree with NP completely - their offense is going to start turning over the ball. And that's even IF Bradford doesn't die on the field. Remember, he's injury-prone, immobile, and their OL is one of the worst in the whole NFL. He's been hit over 25 times in 4 games!

Green Bay's offense has been struggling - there's a great article on JSOnline this morning on scouts opinions why. BUT they have a MUCH higher ceiling. The defense is almost as good as Minny's, and the offense has this thing called "talent" that Minny simply doesn't have outside of Diggs.

I expect Minny to start dropping games and GB to catch up quickly, starting this weekend. The offense simply MUST get away from 11 personnel and no-huddle as a staple and move towards 22 personnel when Cook gets back and pounding the rock with Lacy behind a full back. Quick hitting passing game, and running, leading to a play-action game that is deadly.

This is the ticket to NFC supremacy, and the only team that can stop GB from accomplishing it is themselves. They have more talent on their roster than any other NFC team. Period.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:08 am

" Their defense and special teams is good, but you don't get to 14-2 by having 2/3rds of a good team."

But doesn't this then apply to the Packers also? Since many expected that to be their record especially with the easiest schedule in the league.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:18 am

It absolutely does apply to GB Taryn. Which is why we are all so frustrated at the offense. Unlike the Vikings, we actually have the personnel to be an excellent offense.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Colin_C's picture

October 15, 2016 at 10:48 am

I still think that we win the division, but don't assume the Vikes D can't carry them. Last year the Broncos defense took them to a super bowl victory with a terrible offense.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nick Perry's picture

October 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Teams change to much from year to year for the Packers to have "The easiest Schedule". Basing it all on the record of the year before won't tell the whole story about the opposing team the next year. I mean look at Arizona and Carolina, both have been BAD this year, and not because they played Minnesota. Everybody has beaten them up.

Dallas has already won as many games as they did all of last season. and Atlanta looks like a powerhouse. So who REALLY has the easiest schedule? Hell if I know.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

October 15, 2016 at 01:38 pm

The easiest schedule was a huge and constant talking point of many here and used as a basis to dominate the division and more. I spoke against that and I'm simply reiterating it now.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nick Perry's picture

October 16, 2016 at 07:21 am

To hell with the schedule...We GOT Frackell!!!!!!!!!!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

October 15, 2016 at 04:58 pm

"The offense simply MUST get away from 11 personnel and no-huddle as a staple and move towards 22 personnel when Cook gets back and pounding the rock with Lacy behind a full back. Quick hitting passing game, and running, leading to a play-action game that is deadly."

Dead on. That is a must. If that alone happens, I'll be happy. MM leaves too much money on the table so to speak. I hate losing but if we give our all, I can accept it easier. Well not really, but it beats wondering what if.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:04 am

If there is a time for the switch to go on from the off position for the Packers, as opposed to last season's version after the first six games going on to off, it better happen this week or next otherwise just accept what this team is.....weren't ready, still not ready and likely won't be ready.....Not Ready For Prime Time Players! : )

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:38 am

wow... I really don't get where on earth you are coming from here. "not ready for primetime??" You do realize that GBs offensive playmakers have been lighting up the league for the better part of the last 6 years right??

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:47 am

The past is past and you don't get wins because of past play. Sometimes, what was an ability simply isn't anymore and the past can't help.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
carusotrap's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:50 am

Exactly what part if the last 15 games is "lighting it up"? Everyone's so busy trying to figure out why the GB offense is so unlike what it should be, we're ignoring the obvious. Maybe this is actually what this offense really is. Coaching? Talent? Execution? Who knows, but we've got a large enough data set to confirm that this team is less of a Juggernaut than we feel entitled to.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

October 15, 2016 at 10:05 am

Agreed. ...the play of the past creates assumption for the present and future, but assumption must be altered based on what is actually witnessed in the weekly play.
This offense is like starting a camp fire in a down pour of rain. The match lights but gets all wet before it can light the wood to maintain a fire. This wasn't the issue in the past and why the past should remain there and not be used for the oresent.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

"The Packers must keep pace with Minnesota"

If we start getting the Packers from the first half of the Lions game regularly they have a chance. But given now stubborn McCarthy and Rodgers have become I'm not going to hold my breath. They just can't seam to stop stepping on their own dicks.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

October 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

The Packers can't worry about Minnesota. All they can do is play the game in front of them and try to be "1-0" come Monday each week. So long as they are improving week-to-week, and with the exception of week 2 they have been, I like their chances to be a key player in the conversation come January.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since '61's picture

October 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

Don't worry about the Vikings or their record. Focus on winning our own games especially at home and against conference opponents. We can't control what the Vikings do until we play them and until then we can't beat them. In spite of our struggles on offense our defense has played well enough to be 4-0 without our best CB for 2 games and often with a short field thanks to our alleged punter. And we have the #1 rush defense in the league so far. As for the offense, our OL has played solidly to excellently through the first four games. Lacy has been at least good if not great. The primary concern has been the play of Aaron Rodgers and the WRs. We need more diversity with our offensive personnel and with our formations to create mismatches. And we need Aaron to play better. For whatever reason he is just not taking what the defense gives, he seems like he's forcing everything. We still see some of the old Aaron on long drives when he gets some rhythm but that is happening less often. Maybe this is the week we get back on track or at least closer to it. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GVPacker's picture

October 15, 2016 at 05:01 pm

Thumbs Up to that Since 61! The Packers should focus on going unbeaten at Lambeau and at the very least playing .500 on the road that would give them 12 wins which should be good enough for the NFC North Title. Gotta think the injuries and that crappy O line catches up with the Vikings (jeez grown men wearing Purple and Yellow... yuck)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

October 15, 2016 at 09:57 pm

They dont even wear purple really, more like blue these days.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

October 16, 2016 at 01:20 pm

I think the word is "indigo"

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

October 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

Guess it's another one of those years where we start with such high hopes. Cook injury quickly dispelled that notion but rest of Offense is suffering from MMitis in my opinion. As others have pointed out there is too much talent not being fully utilized. I am putting my hopes in D which is getting to be very very good, and is due for some turnovers and scoring to help out until the O comes out of its coma.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Nick Perry's picture

October 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Excellent point TB. The Packers are due to hold onto some of those INT opportunity's that hit them in the hands.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

October 15, 2016 at 05:06 pm

Thanks NP. Keep up the good work with your namesake.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marcopo's picture

October 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

It's pretty simple folks. Like someone once said, "RELAX". No, the offense isn't playing great at this point, but we can all see the "upside" as bearmeat pointed out. Our hero, Rodgers hasn't been Rodgers, but the pieces are there. Under ordinary circumstances, we would have blown the Vikings away, but we didn't. September is not December, when we should be having this conversation. There's lot's to like about this team.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ray nichkee's picture

October 15, 2016 at 01:26 pm

This article came from one of skip bayless's throwout takes. This is only the second quarter of the season. The Vikings wear purple because they always choke. Somehow, somewhere, some idiot is scared shitless because of this article. I know the packers ain't scared and I see good things ahead.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marpag1's picture

October 15, 2016 at 01:47 pm

The only thing that I would like to add to this fine, fine article is that the focus of this week's game is clearly and self-evidently on beating the Dallas Cowboys, and has little or nothing to do with the team from MIN.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Amanofthenorth's picture

October 16, 2016 at 05:16 am

"must keep pace" what is with these headlines? What if they don't? Then what? Going to fire everyone this coming Monday? sigh

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

October 16, 2016 at 08:05 am

You don't look at other teams possible record when you have a pretty good team staring you in the face. Beat the Cowboys and move on to the next team. The final record will speak for itself at the end of the season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Donster's picture

October 16, 2016 at 11:48 am

Bob McGinn at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a great article published this morning. At he nails so many problems with the Packers. None of them that can't be fixed. If egos allow. From the top administration to the QB.

If the Pack loses today, especially if they get blown out, then they are going to struggle to be a wild card team.

And maybe, just maybe, that will opens some eyes, and we will see some changes.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.