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Why the Packers Will Beat the Vikings and Why they Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat the Vikings and Why they Might Not

If fans of the Green Bay Packers were hoping for some good news Sunday morning, they got it. Aaron Rodgers will play against the Minnesota Vikings.

And when talking about reasons why the Packers will beat the Vikings, the topic begins and ends with Rodgers, who is fresh off one of the greatest comebacks of his career. 

Rodgers has always tortured the Bears and the truth is, he has tortured the entire NFC North. However, the one team that has shown some fight in the last few years is the Vikings. Minnesota won the division in 2015 and 2017. And now that the Vikings have a fancy new franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins, the stakes between the two teams seem even higher.

It's possible that the Vikings and Packers are the two best teams in the entire NFC. Philly is in the mix, along with teams like the Rams and others, but make no mistake, Green Bay and Minnesota are among the cream of the crop in the NFC and that's part of what makes this early-season showdown so important. 

With that in mind, let's delve into why that Packers will win and also how they could possibly lose.

Why Green Bay will win

Rodgers may not have the history of success against the Vikings that he does against say the Bears and Lions, he still boasts a 12-7 record against the Vikings and in 19 games, has tossed only six interceptions compared to 39 touchdowns. Of all 32 teams in the NFL, Rodgers has his fourth-highest career passer rating against Minnesota and at 111.7. That's a pretty stellar number over 19 games and Sunday at Lambeau, Rodgers will look to add to it.

And even though all the talk in the past few days was about whether Rodgers would play or not, his response after the win against the Bears said it all. He was always playing this week and this game. 

Rodgers is a bit like Michael Jordan. For one, he is tremendous in the clutch. But on another level, he always plays with a chip on his shoulder and after the Vikings knocked him out last season, you can bet Rodgers will be wearing an even bigger chip than usual. 

Healthy or not, that's not a good recipe for Minnesota. When Rodgers has that look in his eye, it normally spells trouble for the other team and in terms of regular-season games, he has to be as motivated for this game as any.

Not only does he want revenge, but this is a huge game. A 2-0 start overall and in the division would be huge for the Packers, especially a win over the Vikings. Aaron knows all of this and that's why, even if he's playing mostly on one leg, you kind of expect another super-human performance.

Yes, the Vikings defense is as good as it gets in the NFL. But when Rodgers is on his game, it still doesn't matter. The offensive line needs to protect and prove it can handle the Vikings pressure packages and the Minnesota front four, which is pretty stout.

But as long as Rodgers gets protection and gets the ball out quick, the offense should do fine. Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were the stars of the offense last week and this week, I'd expect more of the same.

New tight end Jimmy Graham didn't do much last week, so expect the Packers to try and get him involved too. The running game needs to at least try to keep Minnesota honest too. Jamaal Williams has shown a penchant for tough yards and Ty Montgomery could impact the game, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. That's something Green Bay needs to go back too more often.

It might seem simple, but in this game, it really comes down to Rodgers. If he's the best player on the field Sunday, like he was last week against Chicago, at least in the second half, the Packers will win this game. The defense may not be championship caliber yet, but it's better. It's good enough to hold Minnesota to 20 points or so and if it can do that, Aaron Rodgers will lead Green Bay to victory. 

Why the Vikings Might win 

Certainly, the Vikings defense keeps it in a lot of games and last week against the 49ers, the defense did its part, forcing four turnovers and returning an interception for a touchdown. On that side of the ball, the Vikings are disruptive and tough as heck against the run. There will be some tough sledding at times for Green Bay but as long as Rodgers can stay on the field, the Packers have to like their chances.

While Green Bay will score points with Rodgers, the question is, will it be enough?

Head coach Mike McCarthy said he brought in new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to stop top-5 quarterbacks. Well, it's hard to call Kirk Cousins a top-5 QB, he is definitely a franchise quarterback and with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to throw to, the Vikings offense is dangerous.

The running game should be a concern too, especially with Dalvin Cook back, however, as long as the Packers can limit big runs, even about 100 yards from Cook shouldn't be too painful.

What will kill the Packers is a really big day from Cousins and the passing game. Diggs and Thielen have caused problems for the Packers in the past and slowing those two down might be the key to victory.

The pass rush will need to hit and disrupt Cousins as much as possible and try to force Minnesota into some third-and-long situations. Ultimately though, the matchup between the Green Bay defense and the Vikings offense might be decided by the Packers' corners: Kevin King, Tramon Williams, Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.

Those four guys were spectacular at times against Chicago and will need to play at a high level from start to finish against Minnesota. If that happens and Rodgers is anything close to himself, Green Bay should win the game. 

However, if Cousins and his receivers can go off, the Vikings will have a good shot to win, especially if the defense can find a way to corral Rodgers, even just a little bit. 

__________________________

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Archie's picture

If Pack find a way to win this game, they are for real this year. I don't think it will happen so my money will be on Vikes if I can find a line on the game this AM. Regardless of where I put my money my heart is always with GB.

FINAL SCORE:
Vikes 40
Pack 20

Kizer plays entire 2nd half.

If I'm wrong, look for:

Pack 24
Vikes 23

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I have the Vikings 27-13, so we think alike.

You are now guaranteed to be hated the rest of your natural life.

Nick Perry's picture

Sorry Archie but the Vikings aren't scoring 40 points in this game.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I disagree with the idea that 100 yards rushing for Dalvin Cook "shouldn't be too painful" for Green Bay.

If Cook pounds out 100 yards, Cousins will have an efficient field day. But I personally don't expect a team missing its center to get a 100 yard rusher against our D-Line.

The problem with this game is Minnesota's defense, plain and simple. With no threat from our running back, the Vikings can unleash their superior athletes to defend the pass alone. That will allow Williams some charity yards against one-dimensional alignments, but it ain't good. Minnesota will smother short passes with extra DB's and get to Rodgers with only 4 man rushes--5 when they want to mix it up.

Jimmy Graham did a good job drawing coverage last week, but he needs to move the chains this week with a few more grabs. I wish we'd play more Montgomery and Lewis than Williams and Allison, but I have zero confidence in McCarthy.

Whatever. If we get through this without further injury to Rodgers, it's a victory.

MarkinMadison's picture

Boy oh boy, I was hoping Rodgers would be sat this week. We are talking about facing a defense that the Packers have had a hard time solving in the last three years. An offensive line that needs some improvement. A running back stable where the best horse is in the stable. A QB that is hobbled. A Packers defensive line that looked like less than the sum of its parts last week. An ILB group that consists of one player. An OLB group that strikes fear in no one. A DB group that is very green. Lots of reasons to see a Packers loss here. I just hope #12 doesn't get carted off the field, and end up staying off the field for an extended period of time. If the Packers are going to find a way to win, everyone is going to have to play a whole lot better than they did last week.

ricky's picture

After reading this, my only thought is that when times are darkest, the best shine the brightest. Wither you believe your team can win, despite what looks like a difficult draw, or you slink off and skulk in the shadows, cowering in fear. How many of you gave the Packers a snowball's chance in Hades last week? Because I never gave up believing. The proof is available if anyone is interested, by the way. I documented my feelings on Packerchatters in real time during the game last week Everything is time stamped Look for the OFFICIAL Bears v Packers Game Day Thread and check out what it means to believe in your team. Never give up.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

While I think Mark is being too negative on a few aspects of the Packers' roster, I find Ricky's comments to be laughable.

Ricky, I'll sum up my thoughts on your comments with 2 simple points:

1. Objective analysis is not "fear."

2. Ultra-positive, always-believing, homerism that pays off in one game is not intelligence.

Fact is, if Allison's blatant pushoff gets called, the Packers lose Game 1, and you would offer not one single word admitting you were wrong. You'd just start blathering on singing, "Everything Is Awesome!" and pretending it all never happened.

So please, quit acting like you have anything thoughtful or objective to say. It's laughable.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It's bizarre to me that someone who will go through enormous lengths to justify his own prespectives can be so petty and vindictive when addressing the perspectives of others.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Oh come on, JJ!

Agree or disagree, my commentaries are at least thoughtful and reasoned, not positive-no-matter-what attacks like this one!

I swear, Ricky was fully expecting the Packers to win last years' Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl.

If someone shows absolutely no objectivity while ranting against others, then a smackdown is fair treatment.

fthisJack's picture

your commentaries aren't always reasonable and thoughtful. i've seen you ranting like a little girl at times so don't pretend like you are beyond reproach.

Samson's picture

Have to agree with you ALP.
There are waaaay too many "cheerleaders" who post here. -- Most who play the "cheerleader role" have only a small amount of truly objective football knowledge. --- They don't seem to understand that their emotional analysis of the Pack changes nothing. --- Also, unfortunately, they seem to be the first to turn on the Pack when things go wrong.

Paul Konieczny's picture

Fuller was grabbing G the whole way down the field, why wasn’t that called?

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

No he wasn't, Paul. Take off the Green and Gold goggles.

It was blatant. It was a shove directly in the chest with extension, restoring lost separation. It was cheating against a player who was outplaying him on that down.

Stop dreaming.

ricky's picture

My main point was pessimism, a "why play the game because my team is going to lose anyway" belongs in Cleveland. There, that attitude is justified. With, there is always hope. You pull out one play, then say if that had gone differently, the Packers would have lost. There was hand checking/contact before Allison extended his arm. Was it Offensive Interference? The refs let the players play, rather than throw a flag on a judgment call. What did happen after the arm extension was an incredible throw and amazing catch.
?
What bothers me more about your post is attributing attitudes and thoughts to me without any objective basis for your charges. After reading and judging one brief post, you know how my feelings about the Packers? That is interesting. For example, even when the Packers were far ahead at the start of the fourth quarter, I was very worried about the outcome of the game. Whereas even when they were down at the start of the fourth quarter against the Bears, I was very confident. It varies. For example, I'm very worried about the Rams game, at least partly because the last time the Packers faced a Wade Phillips defense (Denver, 2015) they got their butts whipped, and Rodgers looked pathetic. What I don't do is count them out of a game beforehand. If you think the battle is lost before you fight, don't bother fighting, because you've already lost.

SJ EC's picture

For the Packers to win this game, we’re going to need to come out swinging (and I don’t mean hucking the long ball and looking for the big play too early). We need to find a quick rhythm and rushing attack on the offense to help negate some of the rush that the Vikings are going to bring knowing that A-Rod is less than 100%.

Our defense cannot afford to put us into a hole early in the game. Hopefully, with a shaky Viking’s offensive line, we can push Cousins off his spot and force some quick throws into our DBs’ hands. Keeping Cook from getting hot will also need to be a very high priority. Much easier said than done...

This will definitely be a huge test for us on both sides of the ball, but if we can get some positive momentum early, I definitely like our chances.

Packers - 27

Vikings -24

Lphill's picture

The Vikings O line may be cause for concern , The Packers D line needs to come up big today putting a lot of pressure on Cousins maybe today our young corners come up with their first picks. Packers win today 24 to 21

Nick Perry's picture

THIS is the key to the game for the Packers defense. Speaking to some friends in Minnesota this past week (I still have family and friends there) ALL of them are very concerned about the Vikings O-Line, more specific the Guard, Center, Guard..Right where Daniels, Clark, and Wilkerson will be coming from.

Cousins isn't what you would call a mobile QB. If Perry, Matthews, and Gilbert can just contain and don't let Cousins sidestep much, the interior of the Packers D-Line should get there. I'd also like to point out this isn't a secondary for GB who's lining up Randall, Rollins, and Pipkins for example anymore.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Other than the obvious questions around AR the DL is the big key to this game IMO. If Those guys can push the pocket and contian the run then the Packers have a good chance to win. If not then I don't like the Packers chances even if AR is able to stay on the field.

GVPacker's picture

Nick that weak Viking O-Line should be just what Mike Daniels, Kenny Clarke ,Mo Wilkerson, Nick Perry and Clay Matthews need to fatten up their Sack stats. And being at home is another big factor. I just hope A Rod is healthy enough to play....My fingers are crossed!

Samson's picture

More so than ever.
I would add the Pack's OL also. --- AR has to be protected.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

AR has to protect his self too.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Linsley and McCray will have their hands full with Linval Joseph who has had impact in previous games. We know Linsley will battle, but part of the past game plans has been to pressure Linsley non-stop. Linsley has been an un-sung, under-the-radar, beat -up hero from my perspective, and will likely be tested again plenty.

I expect McCray will get the same attention if not more with bull rushes and stunts his way. The Vikings will try to wear him down. Justin....be a rock, young man, and good luck!!

Cubbygold's picture

Exactly! Rodgers being on the field and just having a decent game without injury is all we can hope for. If GB wants a win, this is the game where the defense has to flex its muscle. I heard during the draft that josh jackson was built to cover Diggs. Lets see it. Where's daniels with all his tough talk? This offensive line is terrible, go dominate.

Pressure cousins, hes terrible under pressure. Force a few picks, eliminate the deep ball, smother them at the line. Change the narrative today

egbertsouse's picture

I, also, would like to see AR rested this week. Living on the edge of the TC burbs I know how tough the Minny D can be and I know that Zimmer was the architect of the Bengals “ dirtiest team on earth” defense. Given that the Packers have always been willing to throw an injured Rodgers in there no matter what the risk, I’m assuming he will play.

Vikings 24-20.

4zone's picture

Note to Packers: one game a season does not make, but one game a season can end. Hearin me Gute???

SJ EC's picture

I’m pretty sure that if there was even the slightest chance of Rodgers re-injuring his knee in this game, the staff wouldn’t even allow Rodgers to smell the field.

Saying that we need to keep him out of the game because he MIGHT get injured seems a bit ridiculous.... I mean, is that going to be our answer any time we face a good defense?

4zone's picture

He is ALREADY injured. The point is to keep him from getting knocked out for the rest of the season. Without his usual mobility to escape pressure it makes him more vulnerable to a random hit that could end his season. If that happens, the result of this game, even if we win, will be meaningless.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes!! Another game that we should be more than motivated given last year's injury to Rodgers and like last week we know this defense is coming at Rodgers.

Maybe last week's early hole will be a blessing, if the lesson was learned. I know Rodgers will be pumped. Our D will need to dictate this game. Cousins doesnt scare me, the team being flat does.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Good point, Tundra. It seems whenever this team should be super-motivated and ready, McCarthy fails to inspire. It amazes me how flat they come out some weeks--or how poorly they sustain effort in others.

Rodgers can't keep rescuing McCarthy. It's time for the coach to coach. It's time for the team to come out of the tunnel with hair on fire, and stay that way.

Earn your paycheck, Mike.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I have to agree with you about MM being underinspiring.

4zone's picture

Time for our D to step up and bring the lumber. Clay, today's another day so take advantage of it. Rookies, how bout a couple picks and 6 to go with um?

Offence, go with Monty in the backfield and play no huddle the entire game with as many pass catchers on the field you can fit. Wear out their D then 4th Q run Williams down there throat.

That is all. Over and outta here.

4thand10's picture

GB 24 VQ 16

Tarynfor12's picture

I sure hope I don't have to play Hank Williams Sr....

"There are tears in your beers and I tried to tell you dears, losing has been so on your minds,"

Now your fears have brought tears that keep ruining your beer,losing has been so on your minds.

But next week will be here and you'll have a fresh beer and losing will be so on your minds.

But if Rodgers isn't there, no amount of any beer, can keep losing off your minds.

I sure hope that I'm wrong, for I have no tears to loan,
the chance of losing I always stay aware,

So when I have a beer, there is no taste of tears,
and leave losing to roil inside your minds."

Beers to you...even if mostly tears. : )

Let's have a good game no matter the outcome.

Spock's picture

"I sure hope I don't have to play Hank Williams Sr...."
Sorry, Taryn, I don't believe you. IMHO you'd LOVE to play the "I was right" card if Rodgers is injured in this game. The Packers doctors (notoriously conservative with player injuries) were willing to let him play in the second half last week and have cleared him to play. You don't sit your best, most important, player against a division foe to "save him" for lessor opponents. This is football and why the games are played. Rodgers is the game changer needed by the Packers for this game and everyone knows it, including him. I'm personally disgusted by all the chicken little's in the comments section today. Rodgers knows the risks and he wants to play. He's been cleared to play. That's good enough for me. When Rodgers plays this game we win. I believe that wholeheartedly. You can laugh at me for being a "homer" all you want but at least I'm not a "negative Nelly" like you. Here's my "homer" finishing comment line on this (gasp) Packers site:
GO, PACK, GO!!!!

Tarynfor12's picture

It never ceases to amaze me how homers and Libtards twist the words and meaning, of what another says that they don't agree with.

There has been no mention of what the injury is or the extent of it. One could almost believe he wasn't really hurt and wanted an Academy Award.
My point was and is still, if Rodgers is hurt and benching for a week increases the chances for a more successful season..sit him. If he is hurt to a very small degree and the medical says he can play, great. But the decision should not be based on it being a division game in week 2 because even if a loss, there are still 14 games that can be won and the Vikings cannot match that since we play again.

Spock's picture

Libtards? Wow, that's so grown up. MY POINT was that he was cleared to play and therefore should be allowed to play. If you don't understand the importance of division games vs. other games I'm shocked. Nowhere in my comment did I say that the decision by the medical staff should be based on it being a division game; that is YOU twisting MY meaning. My point was that Rodgers was cleared to play and it was an important game and he knew it. It must kill you that he was the reason for the Packers not losing that game. Look in the mirror before you accuse someone of twisting someone else's meaning.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Look, it will be several weeks before Aaron is fully healed. We all get that.

I just wish he could take 1 week off to ease a little soreness, and gain a little stability and agility for dancing in collapsing pockets.

He'll play well today and he gives the best chance of winning. And odds are he won't incur further injury. But I would wait a week.

cheesehead1's picture

It’s going to be tough for our offense against the Vikes top rated D. Time (and it’s long overdue) for our D to step up.

Since '61's picture

Reasons the Packers will win:

1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Packers OL
3. Jimmy Graham
4. Packers DL
5. Packers DBs
6. We're playing at home.

As I posted on Friday, Packers win 30-16. Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since '61

worztik's picture

Hello my friends... I hope that this finds you all healthy and semi-prosperous!!! Can’t wait for today’s game!!! No prediction here, however, the Pack will win... I have a source!!! GO PACK GO!!! I’ll find out Monday if the Chemo is working. I’ll leave you with a good word of advice... if ya don’t feel good or just feel BLAH, go see your MD!!! Then again, even if you feel great, watch for any little sign of some abnormality!!! That was me and I went in healthy and walked out possibly dying! Not a good feeling.... take care my friends.... you’re all in my thoughts!!! Packers Rock!!!!!

SJ EC's picture

Best of luck, and hopefully there’s good news on Monday - enjoy the game in the meantime!

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