Preview and Prediction for Vikings-Packers

Aaron Nagler breaks down Sunday's showdown between the Packers and the Vikings. 

The Green Bay Packers welcome the Minnesota Vikings to Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon, and the overwhelming narrative around the game, both leading up to it and during the contest, will be about the status of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

No Packers fan needs to be told that if Rodgers ends up missing this game, they have no shot. None. I know I’m Mr. “Lotta ballgame left” but there will be officially no ballgame left at kickoff if DeShone Kizer is the Packers starting quarterback on Sunday.

The Vikings have undoubtedly prepared for both quarterbacks, but they also undoubtedly expect Rodgers to play. I do as well. So let's proceed as though that is the case, shall we?

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

A lot has been made of the need to keep Rodgers in the pocket this week due to his injured left knee, and for good reason. It was hard to watch him try to operate on one leg last Sunday night. Rodgers insists he wasn’t given painkillers at halftime, which makes the performance all the more impressive.

As for Sunday against the Vikings, Mike McCarthy will undoubtedly turn to the pistol and shotgun the way he did down the stretch in 2014 and again late in 2016 when Rodgers was dealing with various leg injuries that hampered his mobility. Gone will be anything that requires to drive out from under center or to move laterally for handoffs.

We certainly saw the Packers offense come to life against the Bears when they were forced to junk their gameplan and play catch up. While it may not be as easy as “Just start the game that way” you can bet the quick passing game will be a heavy focus throughout Sunday’s game.

As for the running game, I would expect Jamaal Williams to get more work than we saw against the Bears, if only because I don’t expect the score to get out of hand the way it did against the Bears and because the Vikings will show plenty of two high safety looks, inviting the Packers to run the ball.

McCarthy certainly stuck with the ground game Sunday night against the Bears, continually running Williams into a wall along the interior of the Bears front. As frustrating as it was to watch, I’d expect Mike to instruct Rodgers to take what the defense gives him when presented with that two high safety look and just hand the ball off. Can the Packers get some movement up front on those quick hitters out of the shotgun? I doubt it. Minnesota’s front is just too stout.

While I think the Packers would be effective if they were able to run some of their stretch zone concepts, Rodgers likely lack of mobility will strike that from McCarthy’s call sheet.

As for the passing game, the marquee matchup is obviously Davante Adams vs Xavier Rhodes. These two have had some great battles over the last few years, but as I said during yesterday’s #PackersDaily chat, Adams just cannot be checked off the line. That’s no slight on Rhodes, who I think is a hell of a player. But if he comes up and tries to play press on Adams, he’s entering a world of pain.

While I do think the Vikings will play a lot of 2 Man and Cover 2, Mike Zimmer won’t have any hesitation to leave Rhodes alone on Adams. That’s when it’s time to get the popcorn and pull up a seat for a premium matchup.

Rodgers targeted Randall Cobb 10 times last week, and I expect that kind of volume to continue. I also expect Jimmy Graham to see a major uptick in production. The Vikings let rookie tight end George Kittle loose last week and while Graham will obviously get a bit more attention, you can expect him to be Rodgers best friend on Sunday afternoon.

WHEN THE VIKINGS HAVE THE BALL

Dalvin Cook is supposedly sharing backfield duties with Latavius Murray, but Cook is the workhorse, no doubt about it. He looked fantastic last week against the 49ers, save for a brutal fumble that could have cost his team dearly. Ball security was one of the knocks on Cook coming out of college and that play will be played in defensive meetings all week. Expect Mike Pettine’s guys to get after the football Sunday afternoon.

Much has been made about the Packers “Turbo” personnel group against the Bears, where Pettine deployed up to seven defensive backs. I expect to see a bit less of that against the Vikings and more Antonio Morrison alongside Blake Martinez.

Kirk Cousins was efficient against the 49ers, including a great 22 yard touchdown throw to Stefon Diggs up the left sideline which was about as perfect a pass as you will ever see in the NFL. Diggs and fellow wideout Adam Thielen have given the Packers nothing but trouble the last few years, but the Packers restocked secondary should present a bit more than the token resistance the Vikings duo has feasted on in the past.

New Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo came over from the Philadelphia Eagles after they won the Super Bowl with an offense that featured multiple looks and utilized every bit of talent at the skill positions. While we didn’t see tons of exotic looks and personnel groupings out of the Vikings in Week 1, I do think we’ll see DeFilippo throw some of the concepts the Bears used on their opening drive at the Packers.

The one matchup that strongly favors the Packers in this game is up front when the Vikings have the ball. The Vikings offensive line has been a problem for them for years and the early returns this season suggest not much has changed. Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark should be difference makers in this game. 

PREDICTION:

If Rodgers plays, I expect the Packers to win by a field goal. If he doesn’t play, I expect them to lose by 12 touchdowns.

But as I said above, we’re operating under the assumption that Rodgers will play.

Packers: 23

Vikings: 20

0 points

Comments (36)

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

September 14, 2018 at 02:58 pm

good to have you back here and it is great having packers transplants to watch again, keep up the great work ! GO PACK GO !

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

September 15, 2018 at 08:45 am

As iceman posted....glad to have you back. Appreciate your service to us fellow fans and our thoughts remain with you...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Samson's picture

September 14, 2018 at 02:59 pm

Nice synopsis. -- You're as correct as anyone can get going into a game such as this where 1 player means the difference. --- I agree, however, 12 TDs is quite a spread.

What bothers me the most is if AR plays, will he be taking too great a risk of being injured even worse? The Vikes have a relentless "D" with many weapons coming from all directions. --- This is still only 1 game out of 16 for the season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GBPDAN1's picture

September 14, 2018 at 05:27 pm

I wonder if Rodriguez will wear a mini knee brace?

I was looking forward to this home game against the Bi-Queens for quite some time. Revenge! It's a bummer Arod is not going to be his mobile self, Aaron Jones isn't available and Burks is banged up. If we had all 3 at 100%... Pack 31 Queens 17

As it is now, with Rodgers playing gimpy..Pack 24 Queens 23

If Kizer plays. Queens 30 Pack 9

Side note; Sheldon Richardson had a great game last week including 8 QB hurrys from the interior D line. As if the ViQueens needed more front 7 help. Did we snag the wrong ex-Jet D lineman? Wilkerson didn't over impress so far.

Maybe Richardson just needed some good D lineman to play next to?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Barazinho's picture

September 14, 2018 at 07:45 pm

Richardson played against second and third string guards. He's good, but he was lining up against backups.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
cuervo's picture

September 15, 2018 at 06:48 am

"Richardson played against second and third string guards."

And McCray is........, our weakest lineman by far. I expect Richardson to produce plenty of problems.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
lebowski's picture

September 14, 2018 at 03:25 pm

I think the Pack will be the better team by season's end, but there are just too many new pieces trying to gel right now. I see the Vikes talent and experience winning this matchup, unfortunately.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Christopher Gennaro's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:14 pm

I'm with still hoping for the win, but right now the viks have everyone back, all Cousin has to do right now manage the game. As you pointed out we have a lot of moving parts right and even with Burks playing, its still his first game.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
NashvilleCheesehead's picture

September 14, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Vikes O line is a mess! Watch our pass rushers go to work. 6 sacks by the Pack.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

September 14, 2018 at 08:47 pm

Without putting on my Green and Gold Glasses and trying to keep my bling hatred for the Vikings a bay, I have to agree with Nashville here. The Vikings O-Line IS a mess, especially inside where I'd expect Clark, Daniels, and Wilkerson to be a problem for the Vikings. Keep in mind Cousins isn't a scrambler, probably about as mobile as Rodgers is right now.

Give Rodgers 3 seconds to throw and Rodgers TAKES what the Defense gives the Packers should be able to beat these broads.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RobinsonDavis's picture

September 15, 2018 at 11:15 am

In this game, our D-line and OLBs ARE the key! No excuses, we must shed blocks stopping the run, and put INSTANT pressure on Cousins. Don't let him get comfortable.

From the parts of last week's Viking game that I watched, SF's DB coverage was out of sync often, leaving receivers wide open at times. If our DBs can can match or even play better than the Bears game, the Pack SHOULD get some sacks and/or picks. Expect the Vikings to challenge King and they will attempt to isolate Alexander by tall receivers. However, I believe the larger part of their plan will be to isolate RBs and TEs on our LBs, and their running game.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
pacman's picture

September 14, 2018 at 03:30 pm

Wasn't it shown over the last few years that AR is better when getting the ball out quickly. So if he is forced to do that, all the better!

But that won't let deep plays develop much so I don't expect safeties to be very deep. Graham might be key in this game for lots of short yardage. Can we risk AR setting up for a screen if he isn't very mobile? Did Packers even learn how to throw a screen since last year?

I just hope MM doesn't keep trying to run the ball into a wall. If he does, I will start the 'you forget to get rid of MM' chant early in the season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 14, 2018 at 03:50 pm

"Can we risk AR setting up for a screen if he isn't very mobile?"

Don't worry, MM rarely calls screens. :)

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
TheBigCheeze's picture

September 14, 2018 at 03:54 pm

....how pathetic.....y'all sound like a bunch o' scared wussies.....queenie "fans" have NEVER given kudos to the Packers in the past, no matter how dominant they were......and we should do the same......THE MIGHTY PACKERS-----38.....the lowly vikings------10............BOOK IT!!!!!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
johngalt's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:02 pm

This is why I love CHTV. Call it like ya see it, but pretty frickin funny doing so. I agree if 12 sits. Kizer is dogs---. Sorry but it's true. A win would be fantastic. I think the defense will be the deciding factor. Think they'll see a lot of Cook. If they can force a turnover or two. We stand a good chance. Transplants is awesome by the way.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DragonSilk's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:21 pm

The 49er's made several really bad plays last week gifting that game to the vikes. If Rodgers has any mobility at all The Pack wins by 10+.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Oppy's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:25 pm

I guess CHTV is officially on the NFL's radar now, seeing as the matchup preview has been blocked already, lol.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:37 pm

Yeah, why allow video that gets us excited to watch football?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bert's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:26 pm

This is a very tough game to call. I'm going to assume AR plays and I expect a low scoring game. Packers defense plays very well and a couple turnovers decide the contest. Packers 17-13.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

September 14, 2018 at 04:53 pm

With some exceptions, this is not last years Packers. We have improved. I expect a better defense. So if Aaron cannot play I doubt we give up 12 touchdowns even with Kizer. ;-) But maybe 12 points. The thing is, I really don’t have much of a clue who this team is. My guess is that the team is growing into a new identity. My crazy prediction is that we lose even with Aaron as starter but we win in MN. I expect this team to get better as the season goes on. There seems to be a weird vibe in titletown.
With Aaron for the whole game,
Vikings 24, Packers 23
Without him,
Vikings 28, Packers 17

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lare's picture

September 14, 2018 at 06:40 pm

If MM is healthy and calling plays the whole game- Packers 17 - Vikings 16.

If MM gets knocked out early- Packers 34 - Vikings 16.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bert's picture

September 14, 2018 at 09:28 pm

LOL!! That's a good one Lare. Creative, original, funny......

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Barnacle's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:18 am

Lare

Right on!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PAPackerbacker's picture

September 14, 2018 at 06:45 pm

I don't look for a lot of points to be scored in this game. The defense on both sides will force more punts than we would normally see by either team. I think GB comes out on top, if Rodgers plays, 20 -16. If Kiser plays then the Packers will lose. He just isn't ready to face that Viking D. If the Packers can force a couple of turnovers then the score may be a bit higher by the Packers, maybe another 3 points. But if the Vikings force the turnovers then they could very well win this one. We may just even see this game go into OT. I could even see a missed or blocked extra point being the difference between the winner and loser of this contest.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GVPacker's picture

September 14, 2018 at 07:03 pm

I predict Clay Matthews will be highly motivated and looking to make up for his bone headed penalty which almost cost the Packers the game last week! He will have a big game with multiple sacks! The Vikes have a bad O-Line and they are on the road. Thats gotta mean something.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Otto's picture

September 14, 2018 at 07:17 pm

The 49ers lost 4 turnovers and the Vikings only managed 24 pts.
Cook Ave 2.5 yrds per carry.

The MN O has issues. Between Clark, Daniels and Pettine's designed pressures, I think the Pack D control this game.
I know Cook and the WR for MN are good, but Cousins won't have much time to get the ball to them.
GB 27 MN 13

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Grandfathered's picture

September 14, 2018 at 08:05 pm

Naw. you're all wrong! It will come down to a field goal, and if its Crosby, we win!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Packer Dave's picture

September 14, 2018 at 09:03 pm

As long as someone stuffs Anthony Barr into an empty Gatorade bucket and punts it out into Lake Michigan I'm good.

I hope we open up the playbook for this one. Two division games up is huge.

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

September 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm

If Aaron plays Packers win 30 - 16. Without AR who knows?

I'm expecting Graham on offense and Pettine's defense to be key factors in this game. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Cartwright's picture

September 14, 2018 at 11:51 pm

12 TD's is too low.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
MITM's picture

September 14, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Vikings starting center is out for the game....kenny clark is going to be a problem for them

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
David Aures's picture

September 15, 2018 at 12:36 am

I think Green Bay will continue where they left off last week. Firing on all cylinders. Our defense will surprise you. Defensive front is a lot better then the Queens interior line. So more Cutler type plays from Cousins. Look for Pettine to throw more blitzes and schemes at them from lb's to cb's.

Once Rodgers finds Graham a couple times, there defense will start to panic. That's when you can throw little monty screens and the deep balls to spread the field. Oh yeah,
Davante my favorite unstoppable. And Cobb that crazy SOB is money hungry so that = Game over!!!

GB 38
Queens 13

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

September 15, 2018 at 08:17 am

Packers need to establish the run and get Lewis and Graham more involved the Vikings had a little trouble covering tight ends against the 49 ers , Packers defense has to get off to a fast start .

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

September 15, 2018 at 08:39 am

Whenever I think the opposing team has an obvious weakness that we will clearly exploit....it turns out that that weakness becomes a best ever performance, or record day for that unit. Based on the game that i saw last week by both teams, cousins will have a solid day with plenty of time in the pocket and hitting short passes with little resistance. Vikes running game should get +4 yards pp. Packers offense can score if playbook is opened up, and if MM gets a little unconventional....just enough to incite the crowd and build momentum from the opening kickoff. I dont expect MM to do it...so a loss.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
cheesehead1's picture

September 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

Need our D to keep improving. Stopping/slowing down their run game is imperative. Hope we get at look at Burks. The difference IMO is the Vikings superior D.......I’ll have two go with the Vikes in this one, 26-20.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RobinsonDavis's picture

September 15, 2018 at 10:44 am

The Vikings bring a multitude of different defensive alignments every game, but I understand your point about cover-2 Aaron. I just want to point out that the Vikings have tended to play a cover-1 look against the Packers a lot in the past, and I expect more of the same this game. They can disguise coverage and blitz easier in this arrangement.

Although I hope we learned from the Bear game and are able to use the short-intermediate passing game to our advantage, the cover-1 press will challenge our receivers to get off the line. Opportunities for quick hits and deep passes will be there, but we MUST protect. I also see the opportunity for multiple tight-end sets in this game.

+ 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.