I realize that we’re playing an extremely limited offensive opponent – but it is still refreshing to see the defense play like this. Lattimore has brought a needed presence to the middle of the field. I still think the Vikes could exploit the middle of the field more than they have but the D came to play tonight and the team looks really good overall.
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has to be so excited right now.
Where is the MN D? Wow. Nice route by Nelson.
Though again, not sure why MN doesn’t just run up the middle on every play. No need to get cute for them on offense,,,
thought we’d go run heavy tonight.
- The Vikings did two things this past offseason that I thought were smart: they named Mike Zimmer the coach and drafted Teddy Bridgewater. In the next few years I wouldn’t be surprised if this team starts to compete for NFC North supremacy.
- In fact, the Vikings are already a legit team. Just by having Zimmer (and even without standout defensive personnel), the Vikings will be able to pull off some impressive defensive performances. And they already have this year (holding the Saints to 20 points in New Orleans). But being a young team with a player leadership void, I think quality defensive performances are likely to be followed by some questionable ones. In other words, consistency will be an issue.
- Last week the Vikings (mostly the offense) beat up on an only OK Atlanta team. Bridgewater was very impressive in his first action and the RBs went wild. Again, I imagine that we’ll see flashes of brilliance from MN for a few years and when they finally have a bit more talent all around, the team under Zimmer will compete for NFC North titles.
- But the Vikes are not there yet.
- The reasons why I think the Packers will smash the Vikings may not seem to add up at first. But stick with me here.
- The Packers will beat the Vikings mainly on the strength of the Packers up-til-now quiet running game. This is the game where Eddie Lacy will go nuts. I am positive that McCarthy has focused on the running game for tonight (probably in part because of the expected weather), but also because he knows that the Packers offense needs another dimension. I also suspect that if Lacy isn’t getting it done, Starks will get a shot. But I think the Vikings will be so focused on covering the passing lanes and accounting for Nelson/Cobb that they will struggle to manage the run game. Lacy will run wild tonight.
- What about our weak defense and the gaping hope in the middle of it? Won’t Asiata and McKinnon exploit that all night long? Yes, they will – as most teams will. But I think the difference tonight will be that the Packers will come out again with some intensity and get out to an early lead which will eventually put Zimmer in the uncomfortable position of having to let Christian Ponder throw. Last week was the first week that the Packers looked ready to play. They came out with intensity and despite a pretty poor showing by the defense on the game’s first drive, they came right back and answered with an offensive TD. Teams will struggle when they fall behind us. Also, I don’t expect Ponder to do much damage tonight. In fact as the 3rd string guy who has barely had any 1st team reps, if he does ANY damage it will be a tribute to the coaching staff. But I expect him to struggle making it a bit easier for the Packers D to load the box and finally stop the run.
- Eddie Lacy 170 yards and 2 TDs. Rodgers 250 yards and 1 TD. Packers 27, Vikings 10.
True to Dom Capers apparent desire to focus this year on limiting opposing teams’ passing games – the Packers rank, very surprisingly, #3 in the NFL in allowing the fewest yards per game through the air. #3. Shocking. It is NOT shocking, however, that the Packers run D is dead last giving up 176 yards per game on the ground. When Chicago started going away from the run last week, we had the game won. I know they were behind but that was a foolish decision. No way were we going to stop Matt Forte – or anyone going through the middle for that matter. Though I have to say tonight – for some reason – I think we will finally do a good job against the run. Doesn’t make sense but I believe this for some reason.
Read here for Peppers’ take on why he was released from the Bears. Interesting. Worked out nicely for the Packers both last year and now!
- The Packers put together a great game plan today. McCarthy deserves a lot of credit today. The offense came out with a needed sense of urgency and jumped out to a lead by half. And we know what happens to Jay Cutler when he has to play from behind. McCarthy’s playcalls today were creative – even though he/Rodgers actually didn’t distribute the offensive plays to many others besides Nelson/Cobb. That said, I think the first two passes going to Richard Rodgers – especially the one down the field – were huge playcalls to start the game because the Bears D started off wondering just who might get the ball.
- That said, the Bears defense is awful. They put up very little resistance. They were really, really bad today. Part of why I think that is that Rodgers didn’t necessarily distribute the ball. He was still focused almost entirely on Nelson and Cobb and Lacy added very little on the ground (less than 5 yards per carry). I just think the Bears D is THAT bad.
- Rodgers was very good. While I worry that we’ll have to rely on perfection to win going forward – today he pretty much delivered that. He was very good. But what I really liked is that Rodgers seemed focused on delivering results today. No yelling at teammates, no wondering how to unlock a defense – none of that. He was focused from the first play and that first drive – answering the Bears excellent first drive – was huge as the crowd was silenced.
- Caper made some nice adjustments at halftime. Part of why the Bears offense struggled was because they were playing from behind and Cutler sucks at that. Another part of their struggles was due to them not going up the middle as much. They should have just kept pounding the middle with Forte – especially on screens. But they started going to the edges more. Capers also made a few nice adjustments.
- Cobb had a great game – including the all-time greatest juke on that near TD run toward the end. That is the kind of move I know he’s capable of pulling off. Just a fantastic game.
- Nelson continues to be a top 5 WR in the NFL. If people don’t start talking about him as a top flight guy then something is wrong. Right now – who is better besides Calvin? Not absurd to say Nelson is actually outplaying Calvin right now.
- Clinton-Dix may have had the play of the game stopping Bennett from getting into the end zone at the very end of the first half. With each game I’m starting to see his potential. He’s not always in the right position and he does make some big errors but I am seeing he potential. I think he’s really strong. And John Lynch – someone who should know – seems to agree.
- The whole team really played with a good understanding of what was at stake today. A loss in the division here and the team is in real trouble. But they came out and played hard. I am really pleased with this game.
- I underestimated the team today by picking the Bears. They came out knowing they needed a win and they got it. They played with fire and played intelligently. While I know the whole momentum of the game really hinged on that goal-line play where Clinton-Dix prevented Bennett from getting in (with a score there the Bears would have been in command) – the Packers looked MUCH better in the second half as an entire team. We should be encouraged by this victory.