Week 13: Minnesota Vikings At Green Bay Packers
- QuarterbackChristian Ponder has lacked consistency. At his best, he is a decent game manager. At his worst, he is substandard. When he has to face a strong opponent that is in a desperate position to win, he doesn’t have the all-around game to give his team a legitimate chance to win.After struggling in Week 12 against the Giants, you can expect Aaron Rodgers to come through with a big effort in this game. The Packers did not protect Rodgers well enough against New York, so you can be sure that Mike McCarthy will emphasize that in practice. Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in the league and he should be ready for a big game.
- OffenseAdrian Peterson is the best power back in the NFL. There is nothing fancy about his game. He has already rushed for 1,236 yards and he should have no problems exploiting the Packers’ defense. Percy Harvin (ankle) is an explosive player and the Vikings are at a disadvantage when he is not in the lineup. Kyle Rudolph can get open and make plays on third down from the tight end position..The Packers have had some problems protecting Rodgers. The running game has also been very ineffective. Yet McCarthy still keeps insisting on giving the ball to Alex Green. Jordy Nelson is an explosive downfield receiver and so is Randall Kobb. Jermichael Finley wants the ball more from his tight end position, but he has a tendency to drop the ball.
- DefenseThe Vikings are a fundamentally sound defense that depends on positioning and athleticism. They are solid against the run and the pass. Defensive end Jared Allen has the speed to run around the corner and get to Rodgers.. Outside linebacker Chad Greenway is a solid tackler and a big hitter who can take the ball away with his hard hitting.The Packers got pushed around against New York and they must play with more toughness. The Packers got hit in the mouth early by the Giants and they did not respond. That’s got to change in this game. If linebacker Clay Matthews can return for this game, the Packers will respond with much more forceful play. If he can’t, someone else must emerge.
- Special TeamsThe Vikings are a threat to score on kickoff and punt returns. Harvin has explosive speed and even better instincts as a punt returner. Blair Walsh has been solid in his placekicking, making 24-of-26 field goal attempts.It’s been an awful season for Mason Crosby. He has made 12-of-20 field goal attempts this season and he is unable to find any consistency. Tim Masthay had a poor game against the Giants in Week 12, averaging 38.5 yards on his punts. Cobb can be an explosive weapon in the return game.
The Vikings have played hard this year and exceeded expectations. However, Ponder is not the kind of quarterback who can make big plays at key moments. Rodgers obviously can and he will be determined to bounce back after the Packers’ loss to the Giants win Week 12.