For the third time this season, the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings will do battle. But this time the winner progresses to the next level of NFL playoffs.
And that means it’s time for MSF’s own Packers and Vikings fanatics to duke it via email one last time this season.
Only six days ago, the Vikings defeated the Packers in a close game to earn themselves a wild card spot over their division rival the Chicago Bears. The Packers, by virtue of winning the NFC North, get the Vikings at Lambeau.
Adrian Peterson may have shamed the Packers defense last Sunday, but the Packers have not lost sight of the true prize.
Yet some Vikings fans are building up false hope. See the email conversation I had below.
Drew Lange (unfortunate Vikings fan, lover of Bison):
On Saturday night, it will have been six days since Adrian Peterson ran over the Packers defense for the second time in a month and the Vikings pulled off a thrilling win in the Metrodome over Green Bay to make the playoffs.
On Saturday night, the Vikings will try to do what they weren’t able to do on December 2: beat the Packers in Lambeau Field. They were close, but Christian Ponder’s decision making wouldn’t let it happen.
Fortunately for Minnesota, things for them have gone pretty well in the last month:
- Ponder’s decision making has improved vastly.
- Adrian Peterson ran for over 800 yards IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER ALONE.
- The defense has been stingy and making a habit of getting to the quarterback early and often.
- The kicking game and special teams have prevented big plays.
The Vikings are even better suited for outdoor games like this than the Packers are. Minnesota has won four straight games, just beat Green Bay, are playing out of their minds right now.
Tell me again why I shouldn’t believe the Vikings can pull off another upset this weekend?
(Well Drew because they are the Vikings…Duh.)
My response (Amanda Lawson):
Let’s get a few things straight.
- Adrian Peterson is a beast. DEAR GOD he’s good.
- Jay Cutler missed the playoffs (hahahaha)
- I feel sorry that this is the best that Vikings ever get to see of their football team.
- Am I completely confident that the Packers will run all over the Viking and progress to the next level of the playoffs? No. Am I worried that the Vikings will pound the Packers down into the Frozen Tundra? No.
The loss the Packers had against the Vikings a week ago was exactly what you called it Drew: thrilling. The Vikings haven’t held up this well with the Packers since Favre left them. It was a battle until the end. (I have never seen so many Bears fans cheer for the Packers in all my life.)
The Vikings are playing great. But the question is can they hold up against the Packers for a second week in a row?
Charles Woodson will return to the field to hopefully vamp up the defense, and wide receiver Randall Cobb will join Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings for a power receiving team. Did I mention that Aaron Rodgers will be throwing the ball?
While the Vikings played great last weekend, quarterback Christian Ponder has to stay consistent, and Minnesota won’t be able to rely on Adrian Peterson to win them the game.
Welcome to Lambeau, Vikings.
And, of course, our friend Chris can’t miss an opportunity to chime when it comes to the Vikings and the Packers.
Chris Callaway (Packer fanatic living waaaay too close to Minnesota):
I’m with Amanda, obviously.The Packers should take the approach that many teams do on the basketball court: the star Player is going to get his points, no matter what; so what the defense needs to key in on is making sure that the
supporting cast is limited as much as possible.
If there’s a way to do that in football, it’s what Green Bay should be looking into.
I fully expect Adrian Peterson to get at least 150 yards, but the difference last Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome was that Christian Ponder played very well too. He made throws all over the field, and he even threaded the needle to Michael Jenkins for that touchdown late.
So rather than selling out to stop Peterson, make sure they get nothing in the passing game. As good as he is, AD and AD alone isn’t going to win the Vikings a playoff game if Ponder is atrocious. And for the Packers, they need to do this from the very beginning. An early Green Bay lead can force Minnesota to put the hands into the ball of Ponder. If Rodgers can get the Packers out to a 10-0 or 14-3 lead, they’ll be in very good shape heading forward.
Minnesota has won four straight and has been playing well, yes. Green Bay didn’t play poorly against the Vikings per se, but just wasn’t sharp. With everyone healthy for the Packers and the game at Lambeau, I don’t see how things don’t go differently than last week.
I cannot find the exact stat right now, but over the last four games the Vikings have only trailed for a total of about eight minutes. That is only eight minutes of the last 240 that they have played over the last month that they have had fewer points than the opponent.
Do not forget that they took the ball and shoved it down Green Bay’s throat in the first quarter and legitimately had a chance to start the second quarter leading 20-0.
If Rodgers can get Green Bay to jump out to an early lead and take away from what Minnesota does, obviously the Packers chances to win go through the roof.
If the Packers again struggle to establish the run game and have to play catch up, they may just be watching the playoffs at home next weekend.
I know (statistically) the Vikings aren’t the best team in the playoffs, but they sure have been playing like one as of late.
Prediction: Vikings 27, Packers 23
Of course he can’t find the exact stat now…excuses, excuses.
My belief is that the Packers are much more likely to play at a higher level than they did a week ago, and I’d be surprised to see the Vikings maintain that level of play.
With a full complement of receivers at his disposal, and an almost-competent running game, I fully expect Aaron Rodgers to come out and do what he can to light it up from his opening possession.The Vikings needed to play nearly perfect football to beat the Packers in controlled conditions last weekend. With all of the extracurriculars pointing in Green Bay’s favor this week, I don’t see that result happening again.
All that being said, I’m glad that it’s the Vikings in the playoffs because of course, the Bears still suck.
Prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 20.
I agree with Chris.
The Vikings have to play near perfect football in order for them to win this time. However, I will give Adrian Peterson more credit.
Prediction: Packers 34, Vikings 27