This Is Not the Week 16 Situation We Were Looking For.Posted:Dec 22nd, 2017 3:20 pm
Considering the magnitude of this game, I'm gonna keep this one brief.
There have been plenty of memorable, season-changing games between the Vikings and Packers at Lambeau Field. The 2017 meeting will most likely not add to that lore, since the Pack faces unchartered waters: playing a meaningless game in Week 16.
There was no question that the team would put Aaron Rodgers on ice, once they were eliminated from the playoffs. So Brett Hundley gets one more prime time showcase and it's against a motivated division rival. We'll see whether he's up to the challenge on a bitterly cold night on a field where he has struggled in each of his starts.
He won't have his trusted sidekick Davante Adams this time. Adams will likely be shelved for the final two games, recovering from a second blistering, illegal hit that has him in the concussion protocol. He was the one Packer who I believe was snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting, deserving the spot that Hall of Famer-to-be Larry Fitzgerald got. His ten touchdowns lead all NFC receivers and he managed 74 catches playing most of the season with an untested, backup quarterback.
There will be a lot of changes coming for this organization in the offseason and some tough decisions. The easiest call will be to sign Adams to a deal that pays him like the wide receiver royalty he has become.
The biggest change could be the "resignation" of Dom Capers. The unit is in dire need of new leadership, along with some veteran re-enforcements at OLB and CB. After a season of horrific third down and red zone play, the defense is ready for a major re-boot. There will be an opportunity in these last two games for some young players to show if and where they'll fit in 2019. With Clay Matthews and Nick Perry likely out on Saturday night, young pass rushers Kyler Fackrell and Vince Biegel should get a chance to show how they're developing. The same holds true at cornerback. I hope they'll give some snaps to Donatello Brown and Lenzy Pipkins. This is the rare chance to trot them out there, since the consequences aren't that meaningful.
There's nothing I'd like more than to damage the Vikings' hopes at a high seeding and I do think the Pack will be competitive in this game. I think both Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones will have success running the ball, but ultimately Case Keenam will make enough plays and Jerick McKinnon will go all Christian McCaffrey on the defense and the Vikings will make enough plays to get out of there with a win.
Vikings 24 Packers 17
P.S. There will be no "Packer (P)review this Sunday. It was KFAN's call: they have no run available to run the board. We'll be back for the season finale on 12/31. It's just as well. I'm taking my son Jackson and his buddy to the game (father of the year), and now they won't have to deal with me doing a radio show from our hotel room. Have a great Christmas, everyone.