Key Battles Week 2 Packers vs. Vikings

With a road victory in the books against the defending division champion Chicago Bears, the Packers now have their eyes set on their fiercest division rival in week 2, the Minnesota Vikings.  The Packers home opener has a lot of different storylines including honoring their fallen legend, Bart Starr, alumni week, and yes, the game on the field against the Vikings.  

I won't make any qualms about it, I absolutely detest the Vikings and everyone in their franchise.  I am bitter because they poach Packer players when they hit free agency, pay tribute to Anthony Barr's hit on Aaron Rodgers, and most importantly, because they put a stain on Brett Favre's legacy when he made the infamous deal with the devil to join them so he could stick it to Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and the rest of the Packers organization.

Now that I've told you some of the reasons for my hatred of the Vikings, let's discuss what the Packers need to do in order to beat their asses this Sunday in front of a sold-out Lambeau Field.

Key Battles:

1. The Battle of Special Teams Units:

The Packers play on special teams was a huge reason for their week 1 win against the Bears.  Mason Crosby made his one field goal and JK Scott pinned the Bears back in their own end of the field all night long.  Most importantly, the Packers did not make any catastrophic mistakes on special teams which put both their offense and defense in optimal situations to make plays throughout the game.  If you watched the Vikings on Sunday, you saw that their first big play of the day was a blocked punt on special teams which lead to their first touchdown.  In order for the Packers to win, they cannot allow their special teams to give up a big return or a blocked punt.  I will be keeping a close eye on the Packers punt protection in this contest.

2. Kenny Clark and the D-Line vs. Dalvin Cook:

Dalvin Cook accounted for over a hundred yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against the Falcons.  His production on the ground allowed the Vikings to control the pace of the game and take the pressure off of serial choker Kirk Cousins.  In order for the Packers to have a different outcome on Sunday, they will need to disrupt the Vikings offensive line at the point of attack.  I will be looking for Kenny Clark to plunge the A-gap and get to Dalvin Cook in the backfield.  If Kenny Clark and the D-Line can disrupt the point of attack, it will give the Packers linebacking core a legitimate chance to stop Dalvin Cook from consistently reaching the second level of their defense.

3. Adam Thielen vs. Tramon Williams:

Early on, Tramon Williams has been getting primary reps in the slot which will in all likelihood pair him against the Vikings most reliable receiver, Adam Thielen.  We all know how much Thielen kills the Packers year after year so this matchup is the key to slowing the Vikings offense down.  Tramon Williams needs to empty the tank on Sunday and show that he is still capable of shutting an elite receiver with minimal help.  Tramon's ability to match up with Thielen and shut him down one on one is critical to Mike Pettine being able to unleash a full arsenal of different looks at Kirk Cousins.

4. Everson Griffin and Danielle Hunter vs. Lane Taylor, Billy Turner, and Brian Bulaga:

Containing Everson Griffin and Danielle Hunter is the key to Matt LaFleur being able to deploy his optimal offensive game plan.  Last week there was too much disruption to the pocket and running lanes which did not allow the offense to get anything going.  If the Packers intend on pounding the rock and connecting on big play-action plays, they must keep the pocket and running lanes intact by containing Griffin and Hunter.  If the Packers hope to contain Griffin and Hunter then Bulaga, Taylor, and Turner had better be at their best because I envision the Vikings sending their two premium pass rushers at them.

5. Davante Adams vs. Xavier Rhodes:

One of the reasons for the Packers offense not being able to get much going in last Thursday's win was Davante Adams slow day.  Adams totaled just 4 receptions for 36 yards which put a strain on the rest of the passing attack.  In order for the Packers to move the ball downfield with their passing attack, Rodgers will have to get Adams involved early.  It is important to move Adams around and look to utilize him in the screen and slant game.  Davante will have to utilize his elite route-running skills to create openings against Rhodes.  I expect Rodgers will pick his spots to test Rhodes throughout the game.  In order for the Packers to win Rodgers and Adams will have to beat him at least once for a big play.

Prediction:

My gut says to take the Vikings at (+2.5) because this game will come down to a late touchdown in a 21-20 Packers win.  

 

My Six Pack of NFL Picks:

1. Vikings (+2.5)

2. Chiefs (-7)

3. Houston (-8.5)

4. Chicago (-2)

5. Rams (-1.5)

6. Colts (+3.5)

            

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (16)

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NickPerry's picture

September 14, 2019 at 12:29 pm

David you and I share one sentiment...We both DETEST the Minnesota Vikings. You bring up very good points to detest them but mine is a bit more simple... I lived in Minneapolis in the late 60's, 70's and early 80's. I've NEVER met a bunch of more obnoxious fans who have NEVER won a thing...EVER!! The best thing about Vikings fans is they're easy to make shut-up by reminding them of just that simple fact, especially when your team is the 13 time NFL Champion!

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 14, 2019 at 02:27 pm

Live in the T Cities since 1984. The hardcore, old school Viking Fans from the days at the Met, do not attend the Dome or the Shipwreck by the river. They were jerked around by the cons when their choice seats were given to corporate sponsors etc at the Dome. Taxpayers gave over $ 550 M to the Wilfs. Now, the current Dr.MucGillicuddy fan base is being moved out of their tailgating spaces as the nearby parking lot vendors have sold out to the condo and apartment developers. They are desperate for a rebound into another playoff round elimination like the Eagles game. Then they can bitch and whine all year and demand Zimmer's firing. This is their Waterloo
moment. All-in for 2019. Packers need to play basic football down in the trenches. This game is all about Big Plays.

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NickPerry's picture

September 14, 2019 at 02:51 pm

When folks ask where I'm from I tell them I was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Minneapolis. Thankfully I've taken that midwestern personally with me (or I hope I have) to Los Angeles since moving out here in 1986. My Mom (RIP) let me know about those taxes every time she could LOL... Great people in Minneapolis, not so much for the football fanbase.

I TOTALLY agree with you...This game WILL be won in the trenches. The Packers interior O-Line will be tested over and over by Zimmer. My guess is they'll be better than last week for sure. Hopefully A LOT better, especially Taylor. I just don't think Taylor has the feet for the ZBS but we'll see.

What I can't wait for is to want the Packers D-Line against the Vikings O-Line. IMO they have a bit more to worry about with 4 new starters on the O-Line. One rookie center and a 2nd year RT. Josh Kline came over in FA and IMO Rieff is nothing special. The Packers OLB are EXCELLENT against the run and holding the edge. The Smiths are bigger, stronger, and just as fast as the Falcons OLB so I think it will be much tougher for Cook against our D.

I know Cousins has played REALLY well against the Packers in the past. BUT this is the absolute first time we've had anything that resembles a safety and now we have TWO. Both King and Alexander are healthy and Alexander isn't a rookie in his 2nd start anymore. Like you, I believe this comes down to the defenses. The Vikings secondary is hurting, the Packers isn't.

Packers 24 -16 and they hold the Vikings under 300 total yards and sack Cousins 6 times.

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marpag1's picture

September 14, 2019 at 02:55 pm

SKOL: A 9th century Danish word that means "Wide left."

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm

"2. Kenny Clark and the D-Line vs. Dalvin Cook"

To me it's more like the Smiths vs Cook.

The Vikings run a stretch/outside zone just like the Packers are attempting to run. Contain is critical to funnel the RB back inside and force him to turn up field before there is a big gap.

Thankfully the Smith are great at setting the edge.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 14, 2019 at 02:32 pm

Have to handle Joseph inside, number one. Cook is not a violent runner like AP or as powerfull as Latavius Murray, he is fast and strong in the legs, but lost some of his cut back ability with the ACL tear. Good tackling by the CBs and safeties has to happen.

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stockholder's picture

September 14, 2019 at 01:21 pm

This is one game I hope Clark plays dirty. Pop the center No matter what! Hit the knees the first play. Hit him before he hikes the ball on the second. Head hunt on the third. If Clark can frustrate him. Cousins will screw up. We have the best NT in the NFL.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 14, 2019 at 02:36 pm

I hate team purple as much as anyone. But i never root for dirty plays or injuries. Never.

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SJ EC's picture

September 14, 2019 at 08:31 pm

I feel like Clark doesn’t have to resort to getting dirty to make an impact. . . He’s just gotta show the rookie how the big boys play!

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Lare's picture

September 14, 2019 at 01:00 pm

I hate purple, that stupid horn and all the Vikings fans that spend their time on Packers forums.

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jlc1's picture

September 14, 2019 at 03:11 pm

I don't see how Tramon wins a match up with Thielen, he is a step too slow. If they send help his way then it is going to have to be Alexander keeping Diggs in line, which is possible if not probable.
The interior of the Pack O also loses this match up, by a lot, just like they did last week.
All said and done though the Vikes won the turnover game by alot against the Falcons and if the Pack wins it this week they win the game.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

September 14, 2019 at 05:20 pm

How about Savage or Brown on Thielen? I don't think Pettine would just watch if it's apparent Tramon can't handle Thielen. And Tramon is versatile enough to help elsewhere.

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jannes bjornson's picture

September 14, 2019 at 07:46 pm

Diggs had a hammy and may not be at top speed, just yet. I would put Jaire on Thielen. Have Tony Brown and Tramon shadow Diggs. That leaves King and the safeties to handle Rudolph and Irv Jr.

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Barazinho's picture

September 14, 2019 at 06:21 pm

Keys
- packers d-line - the MN o-line is weak, and if they dominate, MN is not scoring many points.
- packer's 2-5 receivers - with MN injuries in the secondary, they can exploit that weakness. If they get enough of a running game and protection, they can win going away.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 14, 2019 at 07:01 pm

DBakh with a tight back one week into the season, and looking off last week as well? I don’t think the Vikings will shy away from testing him too. I’m thinking another low scoring slugfest is coming our way tomorrow.

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EdsLaces's picture

September 15, 2019 at 07:15 am

I honestly think it's as simple as doing one thing to win. Shut down Cook and make them throw and we win . Period.

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