Sorry Purple, Pack Will Reign at LambeauPosted:Nov 30th, 2012 3:32 pm
One thing that makes the NFL so intoxicating is the weekly rush that can one week have you googling hotels in New Orleans and the next searching for Mel Kiper's draft report.
The Pack's five game winning streak seems like ancient history after the evisceration at Met Life last Sunday night. Suddenly, there are questions everywhere: can the offensive line keep Rodgers out of traction? Can the defense stop the run, particularly this week with some key defensive injuries? With Cedric Benson's days as a Packer over, can the Starks-Green duo provide a consistent running attack? Will Mason Crosby ever make another field goal?
We'll learn a lot this Sunday when the Vikings come to town. This is the latest the two teams have ever met for the first time and both teams will be picking themselves up off the mat after terrible performances.
It's been completely one-sided in recent years. The Pack has won the last four; McCarthy is 9-3 against the Purple. We all remember last year's 45-7 laugher--in fact the Pack has swept the series four of the past six years.
But the rash of injuries has robbed the Pack of much of its defensive swagger and that unit will surely be tested by Adrian Peterson on Sunday. I talked about the surprising stat that leading up to last week, Green Bay was #1 vs. the run in the NFL, if you throw out the first three weeks. All that changed last week when Ahmad Bradshaw set the tone with big runs early to propel the Giants' offense. The absence of Clay Matthews is a big factor as is the knee injury to CJ Wilson. It looks like both of those guys will miss this game too, so we'll see how the defense responds.
Offensively, the Pack should be re-energized with the return of Greg Jennings. We have no way of knowing what kind of pitch count he'll be on, but I get a sense we'll see a lot of #85, which means the return of the slant, a deadly weapon that this offense has been lacking. It will be met with high fives by the weakened offensive line, which could use some quick throws to keep the dangerous Viking pass rushers away. Jared Allen has been silent of late, but he's due to go off on someone.
We're not used to 28 point thrashings 'round these parts. I don't know about you, but I've asked a few of my Vikings fan friends how they handle it, since they're pretty accustomed to it. My guess is that the Giants game got the team's attention and we'll see a focused Aaron Rodgers, who will pick apart that lousy secondary.
As of this writing, it seems unlikely that Percy Harvin will play. He hasn't practiced all week and appears at least a week away from returning. That obviously removes the biggest threat in the passing game and will allow the Pack to turn more attention to Peterson, with an eye on Kyle Rudolph, especially on third down.
I don't necessarily think this one will be a blowout--remember the last two home games, against the Jags and Cards were not decided until the fourth quarter. I got the Pack scoring a TD late to put it on ice:
Packers 28 Vikings 17