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Packers Periscope: Week 12 vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Packers Periscope: Week 12 vs. Minnesota Vikings

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday.  Time to heat up some leftovers and settle in to read about the upcoming match up between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

The Packers visit Minnesota this week, still in search of their first road win in 2018.

The Packers are beat up heading into another "must win" game, this one a divisional match up.  The Packers are winless in two tries at U.S. Bank Stadium and will have to try and get it done without some key players.

Let's take a look back and to now in this match up.

The Past

The past is very simple: these teams tied at Lambeau Field in a week two game that was marred by bad officiating and field goal kicking.

The Vikings had multiple chances to win and their former kicker, Daniel Carlson, missed three times.  Mason Crosby also missed what would have been a game winner.

But the play everyone remembers is a late interception by Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins that was called back by a horrific roughing the passer penalty against Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.  Had the pick stood, the Packers get the win.  Instead, the Vikings drove down and scored to force overtime.  Shocking, isn't it?  (Don't hurt your neck shaking your had back and forth).

The league later admitted that play shouldn't have been penalized but alas, both teams had their records stained with a tie.  The way things have gone between these teams over the past two seasons, it's no surprise the first game ended the way it did.

The Packers haven't won a road game against the Vikings in their regular home venue since 2013.  They notched wins in both 2014 and 2015 at Minnesota's temporary home, TCF Bank Stadium.

The Present

The Packers are coming off of another bad loss after losing a late fourth quarter lead against the Seattle Seahawks.  The Vikings also fell on the road to the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football.  Chicago notched another win on Thanksgiving so the pressure is on both Green Bay and Minnesota to get a win here to keep up with the 8-3 Bears.

Minnesota is 5-4-1 while the Packers are 4-5-1.  A win on Sunday moves Green Bay ahead of Minnesota in the standings and puts them back in the playoff picture.  Even with a loss, the Packers could theoretically still make the postseason, but their morale certainly won't be in good shape.  An 0-6 start on the road would be historically bad.

Statistically, the Packers and Vikings are very similar this season. 

They're neck and neck in both passing offense and passing defense.  The Packers give up just over a point more per game, on average (24.3 to 22.9).  Offensively, it's hard to reconcile Aaron Rodgers being equal to Kirk Cousins, but here we are.  Cousins has seven interceptions on the season to Rodgers' one, to separate the two a bit.

The Packers average 25 more yards per game on the ground at 108.8 to Minnesota's 84.7.  We say it every week and this week is no exception: free Aaron Jones.

Easier said than done, as Minnesota's run defense is allowing just 94.8 yards per game on the ground.  All it takes is one or two big Jones run to bust through that average and make a difference in this game.

Minnesota's home advantage coupled with Green Bay's road woes this season seems like a huge advantage but turnovers could swing the tide and are my key to this game.

I say that acknowledging that the Packers have won the turnover battle only to eventually lose the game.  If there's a road venue at which I'd expect to see the Packers fall victim to themselves, it's Minnesota.

The Future

Both teams are battling injuries heading into this game.  Packers players not practicing on Thursday were Bashaud Breeland, Kevin King, Raven Greene, Mike Daniels, Jimmy Graham and Lucas Patrick.  Nick Perry also continues to miss time and will not play this week.

Randall Cobb and Kentrell Brice did practice, but in limited fashion.  Brice's availability this week could become important with three members of the secondary missing practice already.

Vikings Andrew Sendejo and David Morgan were notable non participants on Thursday.  Receiver Adam Thielen was limited Thursday with a calf injury.

It's another national TV game for the Packers, their fourth in the last five games.  All have been on the road so they've lost the previous three.  It would help Green Bay's case with the media and in the court of public opinion if they can get a win away from home.

It's hard to expect much from this Packers team on the road.  Head coach Mike McCarthy's job status only gets shakier by the week and as he continues to search for answers to what ails his team.  Can he rise up and lead his team to their biggest win of the season?  

I'm not holding my breath.  While it may seem like an ideal time for Green Bay to come up big, as they have in recent seasons past around now, I just don't see it.  Like Cobb said recently, this season just feels different.  And not in a good way.  

I see the Vikings getting the win in typical fashion and the 2019 talk can all but officially begin for the Packers.


Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lare's picture

Have to agree. Would love to see the Packers beat the Vikings, but the team just doesn't have the coaching and team depth to overcome all the injuries.

Old School's picture

It's the last game in November and we're still in it....I can't ask for more than that.

As a bonus, we get to end the Vikings hope for this year on their own field. That's pretty sweet.

We are plenty good enough to win this game. If Rodgers can avoid drive-killing sacks I think we will.

mamasboy's picture

I hope you're right Old School, but it's a tall order.

Bearmeat's picture

If they FINALLY play smart, they'll win. They're a more talented team than Minny. Of course...

"If if's and but's were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas."

Lphill's picture

Packers can win this game, use the things that work, go up tempo, score often and early, Aaron Jones increased carries, constant blitz packages to keep Cousins guessing, McCarthy misses the flight to Minnesota.

JimR_in_SoCal's picture

QUOTE by Lphill: "McCarthy misses the flight to Minnesota."


Nick Perry's picture

Aaron Jones hasn't played a full game vs Minnesota with Rodgers at QB. He played in both games last season but was underused and I can't recall how many snapps they shared the field in the game Rodgers was injured. In the game Rodgers was injured Jones had 13 attempts but most were probably with Hundley.

McCarthy needs to stick with Jones regardless if he's averaging 3 YPC or 6 YPC. With McCarthy you never know since he'll keep him on the sideline when he's averaging 8 YPC..SMH...But KEEP Jones on the field and INVOLVE him.

I swear to God if we're talking about Aaron Jones sitting on the sidelines in yet another loss, McCarthy doesn't even deserve to finish out the season. I mean Damn...The last time the Packers won a SB I didn't have prostate problems so it's not like McCarthy has done S### lately!

Rossonero's picture

The Packers need to beat the Packers on Sunday.

We've been our own worst enemy...with all the penalties, missed FGs, misusage of players, poor 3rd down execution and burned timeouts.

I know we can beat Minnesota. But can we beat our own worst selves?

Since '61's picture

The biggest factor in this game will the Packers OL. Can they keep Rodgers clean and provide him with time.

Opposing DCs have figured out how to stop the Packers offense. First get good interior pressure on Rodgers because the Packers guards, especially Bell are not very good and maintain outside contain so Rodgers can't escape and make a play on the run.

Second take away Adams and third key on Aaron Jones. After Adams and Jones the Packers don't have any weapons that scare anyone. Yes, MVS or EQ may make a play or two but they are not likely to beat you.
Jordy and Cobb were better than MVS and EQ. With Graham out TE is a complete question mark again. Maybe Tonyan gets more snaps and can show us something.

I expect our DL to be able to handle the Viqueens OL and get pressure on Cousins. If not it will be a long evening for our banged up secondary. Their run game has not shown much so if we can pressure Cousins we may be able to force a TO or two.

Hopefully our STs will make some plays rather than mistakes which hurt the team.

We can win this game but it won't be easy with both teams playing for their post-season lives. Thanks, Since '61

Rossonero's picture

Vikings offensive line doesn't scare me either, but losing Mike Daniels for this game will hurt. Need Montravius Adams and Dean Lowry to give Kenny Clark some help.

Old School's picture

Since 61, I cannot explain how a team is #8 in total offense if defenses know how to stop them. IMO, the Packer offense stops themselves more often than opposing defenses do, and that's why our scoring lags behind our yardage rankings.

Fumbles, dropped passes, bad throws, penalties, and sacks are stopping drives. None of that has anything to do with defenses figuring anything out.

Since '61's picture

Old School our stats are good but not on 3rd down or in the red zone.
Yes, we are stopping ourselves too often but defenses are doubling on Adams and keying on Jones because our depth at the skill positions doesn't present enough of a threat to win the game.

Also, Rodgers is seeing a lot more interior pressure because of our guards, while the outside rushers are playing contain to keep Rodgers in the pocket. Our young receivers are weak at the scramble drill so Rodgers is either throwing passes away or taking sacks.

If our OL can hold off the Vikings DL we have a good chance to win this game but our OL needs to come up big this week IMO. Thanks, Since '61

flackcatcher's picture

"The biggest factor in this game will the Packers OL. Can they keep Rodgers clean and provide him with time." Nope. Nope, nope, nope '61. The O line is what it is, and will give Rodgers time on the snap. After that, it all depends on who Rodgers will be looking for on checkdowns and second looks. This game will be won or lost on the defensive backside. Vikings will attack both Packer safeties with skinny posts or slants to force both safeties up into the box, then the Vikings will go over the top with their wideouts. This game is going to depend on how much help the Packers can give to young DB like Greene and Brown. If the Packers can hold in coverage then this depleted D line can still get to the QB and close off the running lanes. Up till last week, the strength of this team was in its defensive backfield. If they hold up like they did against the Seahawks, then the Packers have a good chance to win this game.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Since 61', you think Kevin Queen plays this week. We are going to need her if we plan on winning.


Bill Parcells

Rossonero's picture

I love Bill Parcells. Have you ever seen "A Football Life" where he's featured? One of my favorite episodes.

As the narrator mentions, maybe not since Vince Lombardi had a coach created so much of his own turmoil.

"Tell that f*ckin undisciplined center we've got to get his head out of his a$$!"

"Well that's two stupid plays we've made already."

"What the f*ck are you doing standing 10 yards in the back field?? Get up on the line!!"

Skip greenBayless's picture

No, I didn't see it Rossonero. I thought of the first MN game and remembered how great we were on defense then at halftime Kevin King sits out with yet another injury and all hell breaks loose after that and we end up in a tie. I thought of Bill Parcell's comments about Terry Glenn when he referred to him as "she" because he was constantly sitting out and never playing due to one thing or another. Parcells no doubt was a hard ass coach that didn't take shit from anyone and was never politically correct. I like those types. Rex Ryan is also like that and his defensive rankings as DC and HC back up his talk. He's no. 1 on my list.

Rossonero's picture

Here it is on YouTube:

I didn't know that about Terry Glenn. I was really excited about King, but all these soft tissue injuries are pissing me off. He's looking like another bust if he doesn't step it up in 2019.

I recall in 2014 the team was doing yoga (lot of stretching). That seemed to help a lot, but I wonder if they got away from that.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Thanks Rossonero, I'll check it out. As for King, I love the guys talent but damn it's getting hard to support him constantly on the sidelines. Pettine really really needs this guy to be great and available for this defense to move up to the next level. If he can finish strong and play these next 6 games I'll be happy.

Since '61's picture

I know that I'd like to see King play. He makes our boundary defense much better. I know that he is often injured but at least he makes a difference while he is out there unlike Perry who is also oft injured but I think that we were better off without him against Seattle. Thanks, Since '61

ILPackerBacker's picture

If teams 'found' the key to beating GB was taking adams away it would have happened and it has not.

After Graham got hurt seattle went soft zone, adams had all the stats and it didn't matter. Adams is a 2 not a 1 and it matters. Dallas showed how a 1 wins games. Adams has not won games, he has missed 6 opportunities in the end zone or inside the 2 this year, not delivered on them.

The only hope is to slow down the DLs which consistently beat the packer OL due to lack of respect for a coach who refuses to run.

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