Why the Packers Will Beat Minnesota and Why They Might Not

Why will the Packers beat Minnesota? Well, because they have to. 

Things can change quickly in the National Football League and if the Packers want to change the direction their season is headed, they have the power to do so. All that is needed a road win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Of course, getting that will be easier said than done. In three of the last four weeks, against the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks, the Packers have played well enough to win on the road but have been unable to seal the deal.

That failure has put this season on the brink. At 4-5-1, there is no room for error. A loss tonight against the Vikings will likely be the end of Green Bay's playoff hopes. Certainly, Green Bay could run the table again, but at best, that would get the Packers to 9-6-1. 

Not considering any of the other teams in contention, if the Packers lost to the Vikings but then won out, Minnesota would still need to finish 2-3 in order for it to finish behind Green Bay.

Is that possible? Sure. But counting on another team to fall apart isn't the best strategy.

Instead, if the Packers win Sunday night, they would own the tiebreaker over the Vikings, who currently sit in sixth place in the NFC at 5-4-1. Washington (6-5) and Seattle (5-5) are also in the mix and also own tiebreakers over Green Bay.

So the situation is dire. The Packers probably do have the run the table to guarantee a playoff spot. But if they beat the Vikings and win four out of five, that might be good enough. But before we get too far into all that, here is look at why the Packers will win tonight and also, why they might not.

Why the Packers will win

The biggest reason why I think the Packers will win tonight or why they have a good chance is because they have to. It's as simple as that. Mike McCarthy is coaching for his job tonight. If he doesn't win this game, his team, more than likely, isn't going to the playoffs and if that happens, with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, he will be done.

So hopefully, McCarthy will stop being so timid and stop making so many mistakes. Throw caution to the wind. This offense has Rodgers, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and a bunch of young, explosive receivers. Let it loose. Feed the ball to Aaron Jones. There is no way he should ever touch the ball as a runner and receiver less than 20 times per game.

Can't protect the quarterback? Dump it to Jones. Lots of other NFL teams have figured out how easy it is to get yards throwing the backs but not Green Bay.

Minnesota isn't the best team to run on, but you know what? The Vikings pass defense is just as good as its run defense. Minnesota has allowed the fewest touchdown passes in the NFL. The Vikings are also sixth in passing yards allowed, fifth in rushing yards allowed, fifth in total yards allowed and 11th in points allowed.

But who cares? The Packers, when Rodgers is playing well and they aren't shooting themselves in the foot, can move the ball on anyone. 

As much blame as McCarthy deserves -- Rodgers deserves his fair share too. His numbers have looked good during this stretch and he has played some great football, but again, something is just not right. Had he checked the ball down to Aaron Jones on that final third down, Green Bay probably would have beaten Seattle. If he didn't waste critical timeouts and stopped trying to do too much -- Green Bay might not be 4-5-1.

Rodgers needs to trust his teammates and he needs to stop trying to turn every play into a 50-yard highlight. Move the ball, move the sticks. Get first downs. Hand it off. Throw some screen passes, just not on third and goal from the 12. Be aggressive but not stupid. This team has some really good playmakers offensively, just be the point guard and when needed, Rodgers can use his extraordinary ability to make plays. But right now, he's trying to do too much and he's not doing the simple things needed to win.

At the end of the day, the Packers will win this game because they don't have a choice, because if they don't, their season, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Why Minnesota might win

 As you probably guessed, I am not going really deep into the X's and O's and that's because this is Green Bay and Minnesota.

We all know the tale of the tape. One thing that hurts the Packers is injuries. Mike Daniels is out and so is Nick Perry. A bunch of guys in the secondary are also banged up. Hopefully, Kevin King can go because as long as the Packers have Jaire Alexander and King, they have a fighting shot against the Vikings. 

The worst part about McCarthy possibly losing his job is that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has actually done some great things with this defense. The Packers rank 16th in points allowed but just 12th in yards. They rank in the top 10 in passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns, even if the run defense is a little lacking. On top of that, Green Bay has 34 sacks in 10 games. Kyler Fackrell has eight sacks. 

Who knew Mike Pettine could actually make Fackrell into a legit edge rusher, but hell, the guy is going to get double-digit sacks. Blake Martinez and Kenny Clark are both playing at a pro-bowl level. Some guys will need to step up, guys like Dean Lowry and Reggie Gilbert. Clay Matthews too. 

The Packers know what they have to do to beat Minnesota and vice-versa. The question is, can the Packers actual do it and can they finish? 

I am confident Green Bay will play well, as it has in its previous three road games. Yet, I have no idea if they will finish because that will require doing something this team hasn't all year and that's winning on the road. 

Will the Packers finally do that Sunday night in Minnesota? We all better hope so, because if not, the season is basically over. 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (48)

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mrtundra's picture

November 25, 2018 at 08:56 am

I hate hearing talk that MM coaching for his job. If he doesn't get this team to the playoffs, then he is done. Every loss cannot be pinned solely on MM. Rodgers deserves some the blame as does our OC. GB should be up for this game just because the refs stole the first game from them in that never-should-have-happened "tie" game. What a joke!

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 03:26 pm

The Packers and Browns both have 4 wins on the season, lol, The Browns have won exactly one game over the past 2 years and fired their coach midseason and have the same amount of wins as Green Bay, and you hate to hear McCarthy is coaching for his job.? And guess what, the Browns don't have Aaron Rodgers and the Packers do. McCarthy should've been fired last year along with the guy who hired him and we probably wouldn't be 4-5-1 on the verge of being eliminated from the playoff picture. And you wouldn't have to hear McMeathead is coaching tonight's game to save his job.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 08:40 pm

Does anyone else think that 12 just looks...bad...in the photo above?

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 25, 2018 at 09:01 am

" Mike McCarthy is coaching for his job tonight."

MM knows his job is gone no matter the outcome. He's coaching now to either show he is adapting to a new NFL offense or that his continued predictable,slow and unimaginative offense can still win in the NFL. It can depending on who the opponent is,since all aren't Rams,Chiefs,Saints.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:27 pm

Hell, not even the Bears.

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Cubbygold's picture

November 25, 2018 at 09:13 am

Only thing GB is competing for at this point is a better draft slot. Loss today guarantees the team gets a more innovative head coach that can bring a fresh approach and do for this offense what Pettine has done for the defense. Sure, I'd love to destroy the vikings playoff hopes and watch Rodgers get his first win in that stadium...but I'd rather see GB competing for superbowls. And thats not happening this year

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Since '61's picture

November 25, 2018 at 09:59 am

I don't believe that the Packers will win this game because it is a must-win game. That is true for the Vikings as well.

To win this game we need to win the LOS on both sides of the ball. Beyond that we need AR to be the difference maker that he has been prior to his 2017 injury. We can expect the Vikings to double Adams and key on Jones so that means AR needs to make plays to MVS and EQ.

I would go with the quick passing game and with the moving pocket to keep Rodgers away from the pass rush and give him the opportunity to make plays with his legs.

On defense Thielen and Diggs will be a challenge for our secondary. Pettine needs to scheme pressure on Cousins to help out our battered secondary.

I see another close game where our Special Teams can be the difference, especially Crosby.
Thanks, Since '61

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 10:29 am

"I see another close game where our Special Teams can be the difference, especially Crosby."

Unfortunately, Crosby is ranked 25th in the NFL for field goal percentage.

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Gort's picture

November 25, 2018 at 11:22 am

Many of us would go with the quick passing game.
It moves the sticks, takes time off the clock, keeps the other offense off the field, rests our defense, etc.
The problem is that I am not convinced that MM, AR, or both are willing to play that game. If they do, we are more likely to win. If not the game is lost
already.

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 03:29 pm

Unfortunately when our special teams makes a difference in a game it almost always benefits the opposition.

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 10:25 am

In order for the Packers to win this game, they need to do what they haven't been able to all season. That is, to play mistake free football and the offense to use the running game and short controlled passes to move the chains.

It'll also help if the officials don't decide that they're going to dictate the outcome of the game.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 25, 2018 at 10:38 am

" It'll also help if the officials don't decide that they're going to dictate the outcome of the game."

The moment the first flag is thrown, the fans will be accusing the Refs of doing just that...by either/any team.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 25, 2018 at 02:38 pm

Yeah, so?

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Rick F's picture

November 25, 2018 at 10:28 am

All three phases play great. Get a touchdown from 2 of the phases will be huge. If they lose it will be the MM and 12 soap opera. Insert same crappie game plan. Then get tight and conservative late in the game and say the numbers said so, mike calls the plays, we got to practice better, or have that galvanizing moment yet! I wish they would have all out blow up and rip each other a new one!

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:05 pm

"Insert same crappie game plan."

You definitely need a game plan when the crappies are biting.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 08:43 pm

I got second place in a fishing contest in Door County when I was about 7. I’d never heard of a crappie before. I thought my dad was kidding.

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GVPacker's picture

November 25, 2018 at 01:57 pm

Unless the Packers win the Super Bowl Mike McCarthy's tenure comes to a close! And I really don't think they will even qualify for the playoffs. It's time to move on. Mike McCarthys biggest weakness as a coach is how it becomes apparently clear how bad the Packers are when Aaron Rodgers is injured. Aside from a few games that Matt Flynn started in 2010 (Sunday Night Game against the Pats and that come from behind win against the Cowboys in Dallas in 2012) the Packers are Cleveland Browns Futile without A Rod! I was watching the Bears play the Lions on Thanksgiving and they were not only competitive but came from behind and stole one on the road, and this was accomplished with out their 1st string QB Mitch Trubisky. Why can't the Packers do that?

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packergal's picture

November 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

Note to GV,

Regarding your comment on the Bears recent comeback win versus Lions "...and this was accomplished with out their 1st string QB Mitch Trubisky…. Why can't the Packers do that?"

The answer is because while the Bears still suck, they DO have more talent on Offense, Defense and Special Teams, they execute well as a Team and have much better coaches than our beloved Pack.

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GVPacker's picture

November 25, 2018 at 11:51 am

I don't think the talent gap between the Packers and Bears is that big however I do believe Da Bears have a more competent coaching staff. Mike McCarthy and Ron Zook need to be jettisoned at the conclusion of this season!

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Johnblood27's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:07 pm

why wait?

shake up the locker room.

let the best candidates know for certain that we are in the market.

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:23 pm

Simply because that's not the Packers style or how they want their organization viewed. They will wait til seasons end so as to not appear sloppy and disorganized even though everything about their play on the field screams sloppy and disorganized.

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:09 pm

They also need to jettison the conditioning/training staff. Every year the Packers players lose more games to soft tissue injuries than any other team in the NFL.

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GVPacker's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm

If the Packers lose tonite I would be in favor of giving Mike McCarthy The Das Boot, but I don't think Mark Murphy (Doesn't Have The Testicles) would ever pull the trigger before the season is over. I would be in favor of letting Mike Pettine taking the helm and see if he can instill some discipline and improve moral! But then again I don't know if he wants to take the reins if he was given the option. I would also like to see a head coach with a defensive minded theme takeover with a competent offensive coordinator who can work with Aaron Rodgers while he's playing in Green Bay!

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 25, 2018 at 02:27 pm

I was with you on this plan up until the point where I realized that Joe Philbin would take over the offense. I'm not so sure that's going to do us any good. Well, unless the goal is to improve our 2019 draft position.

Go Pack!

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:42 pm

Why would you want a defensive minded coach when you already have a very good one in Pettine? I suppose you're looking for the two to bump heads over philosophy? Wouldn't that be great? Also the problem is offense. so hiring a defensive coach to fix it sounds inept and well dumb. I'm sorry if I'm being offensive or rude as it's not my intent, I just don't know another way to put that. If Rodgers and McCarthy are bumping heads over scheme and concept do you think some defensive coach is going to come in and wow him with his scheme? Or maybe you expect an assistant coach to be able to keep Rodgers in check and on point when it's hard enough for the head coach to do it? What the Packers need is an offensive minded guru with the personality and concepts to win Rodgers over. No coach short of Tom Coughlin ,Bill Belechik or Tony Dungy is gonna check Rodgers ego at the door, so one who can win him over with his charisma and offensive brilliance is needed.

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 05:40 pm

Bruce Arians.

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GVPacker's picture

November 25, 2018 at 06:54 pm

@Rak47 Lets presume Mike McCarthy is let go at the end of this season. I believe a new head coach would want to bring in his own DC or maybe he ask's Mike Pettine to stay on as his DC but Pettine prefers to walk away. Let's say the new head coach is a defensive minded coach who hires a OC to work with A Rodgers and Rodgers is amicable to the new OC 's way of doing things. Getting rid of McCarthy will be the first step in getting A Rodgers in the right direction again! Yea I agree with you A Rodgers is a Diva but lets get a new coach and see if Aaron Rodgers will sit down and take his medicine!

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:53 pm

Look at all the top teams from Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Texans, Bears, all have offensive minded coaches, the exception being the Patriots who have a longtime HC who's defensive minded but have the brilliant offensive mind of Josh McDaniels running the offense. As long as the Packers have Rodgers they will be an offense first team.

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GVPacker's picture

November 25, 2018 at 07:04 pm

Do you think Josh Mcdaniels success has anything to do with Tom Brady? And lets not forget the brilliant Josh Mcadaniels who was an epic failure as GM/Coach of the Bronco's who pissed away a first round draft pick on Tim Tebow!

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The TKstinator's picture

November 26, 2018 at 08:44 pm

At this point I’d like to see a survey of Packer fans expecting MM to be fired. I’d wager it’s way over half.

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JQ's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

If the Packers “run the table” starting tonight, they end up 10-5-1, not 9-6-1. Even if they win tonight, and I doubt they do, I don’t see them winning out. This team lacks the tenacity required to win the close games down the stretch, especially against quality teams. They’ve developed into a team who finds ways to lose, rather win.

And the Bears do indeed still suck, but I agree they appear to now have a decent coach and are developing into a solid team with a salty defense. In my opinion, both Minnesota and Chicago now have better head coaches than Green Bay, and that’s just in their division. Looking around the NFC, there’s a bunch of teams who have hired forward-thinking, innovative HCs who have surrounded themselves with assistants and players equipped to succeed in the evolving NFL.

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Cubbygold's picture

November 25, 2018 at 02:14 pm

I'd take nagy over McCarthy anyday

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Rak47's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:47 pm

And if you look closer all the successful ones are offensive minded coaches.

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 05:52 pm

Bruce Arians.

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Since '61's picture

November 25, 2018 at 06:33 pm

Yes, and none of them have a Super Bowl and some have yet to win a playoff game except for Sean Peyton who has one SB in 2009. He is also the most likely to win another one this season. So much for the new "geniuses".

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Donster's picture

November 25, 2018 at 11:18 am

If the Packers defense cannot get pressure on Cousins, it will be a long afternoon. Pettine must find ways to get that done, and I feel he has the players to do it. But to do so will be risky. Daniels being out is big.

Rodgers has to get the ball out quickly. Work at getting first downs, not 50 yard passes on third and one. And they must run the ball. Do you hear us MM? Oh wait, he doesn't. He hasn't all year. Or the year before that.

Queens by 14 I hate so say. But I would be so happy if it was the Pack by 14.

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 02:44 pm

"If the Packers defense cannot get pressure on Cousins, it will be a long afternoon."

It'll be a long afternoon either way, the Packers/Vikings don't play until tonight.

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stockholder's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:03 pm

The packers are playing their super-bowl tonight. This isn't about MM. Its about turning the corner, and winning on the road. MM has not been blown out of any game. The offense has been the problem. Whether it be Rodgers, Rookie Wrs, or MMs play calling. And don't be surprised if MM goes on 4th downs. The packers need to finish 4 quarters. Common sense is get Adams & Jones the ball. The Rookie Wrs can be weapons. The thing is A-Rod must throw them the ball. Jimmy Graham please step forward. I little extra helps. It is possible to beat the vikings.

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JimR_in_SoCal's picture

November 25, 2018 at 02:29 pm

Yep...MM will go for it on 4th and 9, and punt on 4th and 2.

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Rick F's picture

November 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

This is not the biggest game of the season. Every team every week wants to win. Boring as it sounds the teams that do everything well win. The team that puts in the most hours and attention to detail wins. The team that has a clear vision and does what is best for team wins. The players fighting for each other and playing hurt. Your team is the make up of your head coach. When he doesn’t holds himself to the highest standards and show confidence in his men, backlash and speaking out follows.

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Bure9620's picture

November 25, 2018 at 01:04 pm

As I have been an optimist, this game IS that season right now, a loss would be nearly impossible to overcome in the division, wild card and mentally.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:24 pm

The Packers will beat Minnesota if they score more points than Minnesota. They might not beat Minnesota if they don't score more points than Minnesota. Now for tonight's weather forecast? Dark. Thank you.

George Carlin

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:40 pm

To win Aaron needs to be the best player on the Packers side of the ball. He wasn't against the Seahawks, they lost.

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White92's picture

November 25, 2018 at 04:49 pm

Too many injuries. Wilkerson, Daniels, Allison, Cobb, and a banged up secondary make the Pack much weaker than they were earlier this year. Sadly this will be a slow motion train wreck the rest of the year and they’ll face an off-season of change.

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Lphill's picture

November 25, 2018 at 05:18 pm

The Packers defense may be better without Perry and Daniels , Montravious Adams is bigger and might play the run better , Fackerall has been better than Perry , I am not worried about the defense at all .

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Lare's picture

November 25, 2018 at 05:49 pm

There is no way Adams is better than Daniels. But many people working at Walmart are better than Perry.

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dobber's picture

November 25, 2018 at 07:20 pm

Why the Packers will win: because the odds say that they're due to win one on the road eventually.

Why the Packers will lose: because over the last 3 road losses to decent teams, the interior OL has been unable to protect #12 on key plays.

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beercheese's picture

November 25, 2018 at 10:15 pm

the lever has been pulled..... the turds are circling the bowl.

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