Packers XLV

Expect Rodgers To Be In Prime Form Thursday Night

Posted October 1st, 2014 @ 03:10pm

At the quarter pole, we don't know precisely what to expect when the Packers take the field these days. Are they the high flying aerial circus we saw at Soldier Field or are they the mistake prone unit we saw the first two weeks? Are they a defense that will live by the takeaway or die thanks to negligible run defense?

The next test comes Thursday night when the young, promising Purple come to town. This is a team still recovering from the loss of its superstar, but one that is finally well coached and playing like it's starting to believe they can win. But they too have questions. Are they the mistake-prone outfit that got blown out at home by the mediocre Patriots, or the gutty squad that kept the Saints sweating till the end at the Superdome?

Lots of questions to be answered Thursday night, but there's one fact that can't be questioned. Aaron Rodgers will be spectacular. In his 12 career games against the Vikes, he's completing 71% of his passes, has thrown 27 TD passes to just four picks and has a passer rating of 116.8. Now, he will face Mike Zimmer's newfangled defense, but they're still a work in progress. Matt Ryan had little trouble carving them up on Sunday and the Pack's passing attack has apparently found its mojo.

The Packers, finally back home after three of four on the road, will use the blueprint that worked so well in Chicago. Pass early and often to set up the run. Use lots of no huddle to keep the defense off balance. Strike quickly. Use Randall Cobb as the weapon he clearly is.

The Packers will score plenty of points on Thursday night. The questions is, can they stop the Vikings' offense? The big question entering the game is the status of Teddy Bridgewater's ankle. If he's 100%, he can use his legs to burn the Pack, like other running QBs have done of late. But it's hard to believe on a short week that he will be 100%. His first start was beyond impressive. He showed the poise, confidence, smarts and accuracy that had him atop the draft board at this time last year. Of course, he played the perfect team: the Falcons are the league's worst at rushing the passer and lack playmakers on the back end to make up for it.

If Teddy plays, you can bet Norv Turner will fill the playbook with quick hits, slants, screens--high percentage passes to keep the Pack's pass rush at bay and give the young QB the best chance to succeed. Of course, they'll rely on the run, which was very effective against the Falcons. Matt Asiata will test the middle of the Pack's run defense with no nonsense bursts between the tackles. Rookie Jerick McKinnon has big play potential. The Pack has fallen to the bottom of the league in run defense. Maybe it's time to give Mike Pennel a chance to man the nose in the base defense; Letroy Guion has been lousy so far.

As impressive as the Vikes' win was on Sunday. This is a far more difficult assignment. Their young team and new coaching staff has never dealt with a Thursday night road test and the abbreviated preparation time. Their rookie QB has never started a game on the road, let alone in prime time against their bitter rival.

Oh yes, about the prime time aspect of this matchup. The last two nighttime games between these teams went the Packers' way by a combined score of 89-38. Home teams generally have a big advantage in these Thursday night matchups and you have to believe the Packers will use the momentum of their big win in Chicago to dispose of the Vikes. Corral Cordarelle, plug up the run and let Rodgers work his magic.

It's a close game throughout, but a late touchdown seals the deal.

Packers 31  Vikings 20


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Comments (5):

Another well written summary of the upcoming game, Dave. I think the score will be closer than you think. I'm thinking 31-28, as boring as they are, a late FG from Mason Crosby seals it. It's supposed to rain on Thursday so neither team may score as many points as we might expect. 2 things I hope to see out of the Pack on Thursday: 1) Stop the Run! The yardage the defense is giving up is abysmal. More Yards = More Points. 2) To see a good running game. I hope Lacy gets untracked against the Vikes or Starks is given a chance. Both would be good. I hope the Packers can handle the revamped Purple regardless of who is at QB. Go Pack Go!

on October 1st, 2014 at 08:29pm

My rain gear is packed, and I'm ready for my annual pilgrimage to Lambeau. I'm expecting a closer game than the Bears game, but the X factor is the Packers run defense. If they can at least manage the Viking's running backs (not necessarily stop them), the Pack will pull away in this one. I'll wave to you guys on TV! :-)

on October 1st, 2014 at 09:15pm

It'll be important for the Packers to get off to a strong, fast start in the game. Get the Queens down early and take away their confidence and belief they can win will make the night a lot easier. As usual the Packers' defense and o-line will be cause for concern and hope for improvement. And they had better be sure on their lane assignments and tackling on kick and punt coverage or they could get burned by Patterson or Sherels. Whether it's Bridgewater or Ponder the defense can't let them gain first downs or get a score or two running the ball when a downfield play isn't there for them. If things are on and the weather isn't too much of a factor this looks like a 300 yd, 4td game for Aaron Rodgers. If they get Starks and Harris more involved this could be the team's first 100 yd rushing game of the season. The defense will probably be its usual self but can come up with a couple of picks and stop the visitors from getting touchdowns. I look for the Packers to put up 34-37 pts and hold the Vikes to 20-23.

on October 2nd, 2014 at 06:09am

You know, if the rain had kept up I was thinking this was going to be close. As it was, all of our pessimism get brushed aside. Just a dominant performance over an over matched team.

on October 2nd, 2014 at 10:49pm

I am with Rob this week, last week Davey and I were on same page, not even close this week. Rodgers has never had a good game against Zimmer, I know it's a new players and 1st year but the Vikings D has been better this year already. Rodgers 2 games he averaged 240 and 1 td against normally we ran well against his D, but couldn't pass much. I can't see them risking ted on this field, and gives them an excuse if they lose then.but, ponder will be running read option all nite, they don't care if he gets hurt now, it's teddy'd team.if we can't stop it were in trouble. that means long drives and 12 sitting on the bench. I do believe Starks, is the difference, he should be playing more then Lacey. he just looks better and runs well in the rain.look at pres eason titans game in the monsoon. I have been saying it now for 3 years here, if you don't have an O line you can't play. look at the cowboys this year, they have my guy Fredricks at center, who we should have drafted, not Datone Jones and 2 other 1st rounders and it hides a lot of other negatives when u can run and control the ball. I see it 23-20 Pack, and wouldn't be surprised if we lose.

on October 2nd, 2014 at 11:11am

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