What can I say? After last week’s ‘game’ the Packers have a lot of ground to make up and a lot of belief to build back up in their fanbase. Well, half of it, there is a definite split in the fans as to what the Packers need to do this week. Should they hope to lose the game to face the Washington Redskins or get the win and face the Seahawks?
I was actually asked the same question on Twitter yesterday, sparking a small debate among fans that went on from the question and delved more into the Packers’ problems. For the record, I replied to say; ‘Would it be easier to face Washington? Yes it would. But to prove that we should be at SB50 we NEED to face the Seahawks.’ Before we get carried away with that though we have to finish the regular season, which means facing the Minnesota Vikings for the second and last time of the Season.
The Vikings would seem to have been of similar level to the Packers this season but have also struggled for slightly different reasons, where we have had issues all around the board the Vikings have mainly only come into trouble when Adrian Peterson has been taken out of play, whether it is through superior match-ups, great defending or injuries. Without the RB in play the Vikings do not have any big names in their team and I believe this may be the key to victory in this game. It will definitely be a big Defense for the Packers, they need to be able to keep Peterson to a minimum or even non-entity for the duration of the game to allow their (Packers) Offense time to overcome their difficulties.
One of the Packers biggest issues, in my opinion, has been the debilitating injuries on the Offensive Line, I have mentioned it before, but with sometimes as little as 1 or 2 starters on our O Line it has meant that there are no holes for Lacy to run through, which makes us lean on the Pass game but Rodgers does not have enough time to wait for the receivers to get free before being pressured, hurried, sacked etc. This week, however, it would seem that 4 out of the 5 starters will be back for the game which would help the Packers Offense immensely to be able to Rodgers a bit of breathing room after being pummeled last week by the Cardinals.
Of course, with the O Line hopefully ‘on the up’ the scrutiny will go back to the Packers receivers, who are still having issues getting free, making the catches (and keeping hold of them!) and making plays. With Nelson out for the whole season this was their opportunity, especially Cobb’s to show everyone what they can do without being in the shadow of Nelson. No one has stepped up to that mantle, albeit a few of our receivers are Rookies so that is understandable but for the others it just shows the hole that Nelson left by not being there to be that threat to Defenses.
If the Vikings want to win tonight they will need to stop the run, in the last match up between the two teams it was Eddie Lacy achieving 100+ yards that helped the Packers for the 30-13 win over the Vikings. If they try and load the box and get the run stopped (something the Cardinals succeeded in doing) then the Packers will be forced to go to their Passing game, which may or may not be a good thing right now.
We have played this game before in this season and I am not sure we are a very different team between then and now, in my heart I believe we can win this game, my brain is less sure but at the end of the day I will happily admit I am a biased, unending faith-driven Packers fan!
I am going to call this game:
Green Bay Packers 24 – 19 Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Mike Morbeck (Flickr: Phil, Loadholt, Clay Matthews) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons