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Key Battles, Week 6 Edition: Green Bay at Minnesota

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Key Battles, Week 6 Edition: Green Bay at Minnesota

The NFC “Norris” division is set for another black and blue showdown, pitting the climate-controlled Vikings against Green Bay. The Packers, winners of three straight, currently lead the three-horse race in the division at 4-1. This puts the pressure on the Vikings, who will be without quarterback Sam Bradford for the fourth time just six weeks into the season. Also missing is standout receiver Stefan Diggs, but the Packers have their own injury concerns. 
 
Here are some of the key battles to play out Sunday in Minneapolis. 
 

Vikings' front presents stiffest challenge yet

Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari sounded Friday like a guy who wouldn’t be suiting up Sunday, which means that the Packers will need guard Lane Taylor to suit up at left tackle. In other words, Sunday represents Taylor’s stiffest challenge thus far, in a noisy-ass dome against the likes of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. Griffen is a throwback 4-3 end who wins with power and explosiveness and will require that Green Bay sends extra help Taylor’s way. He’s got six sacks in six games and is arguably the most underrated player at his position in the league. This is a potential nightmare matchup and could tilt the game in Minnesota’s favor, considering every level of the Vikings’ defense is exceptional. The Packers have been dynamite this season on third down and in the red zone. On Sunday they’ll face a defense as good as any other they’ll see this season. 
 

Semblance of run game necessary for Packers

Ty Montgomery has practiced with a flak jacket this week and is a possibility to go Sunday. That said, Aaron Jones should be the focus against Minnesota. Jones flashed his unique skill set against the Cowboys, showing explosiveness and vision in racking up 125 rushing yards and a touchdown. In an effort to minimize the Vikings’ advantage up front—an advantage that might be muted if Green Bay’s offensive line were at full strength—Green Bay should employ multiple tight end sets and demonstrate a real emphasis on establishing the run. The key word here is “should”. If Jones can catch a few passes out of the backfield he’d take even more pressure off of Rodgers, who has been required to be near perfect when the game’s on the line. 
 

Keenum is due for the big mistake

Often times quarterback play is the difference between winners and losers, and the Packers hold a significant advantage at the position against Minnesota. Minnesota’s top-five defense is an offsetting factor, though, and backup Case Keenum has performed admirably in relief of Bradford. That said, Keenum has been Jekyll-and-Hyde in four games this season. In his two wins, against Tampa Bay and Chicago, Keenum was efficient and largely mistake-free. In losses against Pittsburgh and Detroit, he completed barely 50 percent of his passes. Keenum is still yet to throw an interception. For his career, he’s thrown an interception every 45 attempts. He’s attempted 121 passes this season. Keenum. Is. Due. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (4) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

egbertsouse's picture

I just hope that Randall and Rollins don’t make Keenan look like Tom Brady back there. I keep flashing back to the Matt Barkley game....

porupack's picture

Wonder if the screen play is still in the playbook? Holmren used to run it to perfection at the perfect time........

porupack's picture

Wonder if the screen play is still in the playbook? Holmren used to run it to perfection at the perfect time........

porupack's picture

The decider of this game is which D generates turnovers. It could go either way; strip sacks on Rogers, or pressure and INTs on Keenum trying to force it to Thielen and Rudolf and Treadwell (which he'll have a lot of success). Its a mistake to think Minn won't have WR targets w DIggs being on bench.

Packers D should keep Vikings run game in check, and force Keenum to try to carry the game. Just pahleeze defend the short middle dump-off passes and short crossing routes....and dare Keenum into deep passes. Then GB DBs will get the INTs if Keenum has to hold a bit longer for the deeper routes.

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