This week’s game could be a tough one. Minnesota is tough to figure out.
The win last win in Houston really shocked me. I thought for sure they’d puke that game up and pretty much remove themselves from the playoff picture. Instead they came out and dominated, especially defensively, and took it to a confident Houston team.
AP is obviously scary. Everyone knows he’s going to get it a bunch and still nobody can stop the guy. He just runs so hard and he makes defenders pay. As much as I hate the Vikes, I have to admit I like watching Peterson play because he plays such an impressive brand of football. I like that he doesn’t always just duck out of bounds and that he’ll take defenders on and throw them to the ground. It’s old school and it’s fun to watch.
That said, that offensive line does a heck of a job blocking for AP. While he has the presence and sense to make the right decisions at the right times, he does have some nice holes to run through. I am not sure how well the line pass protects for Ponder, but I am pretty sure that they are top notch when it comes to blocking for AP.
Key to this game will likely be the tackling of our LBs and DBs. The D has had some quality moments throughout the season, and recently in particular, but I still see a big struggle on their part in getting AP to the ground.
I see AP breaking the record in grand fashion but I also see the Vikes having a misguided focus in this game – trying to get AP the record at the expense of winning the game. Seems like that would be a classic kind of Vikes oversight.
I want Rodgers to be extra careful in this game – though I obviously want him to play to win. I worry that this is the kind of game where the Vikes are going to be totally loaded up on adrenaline and commit several flagrant fouls (only some of which will be called).
Cobb will likely be key again. There is no answer for the guy. While Winfield could still probably do a decent job of shadowing Cobb (despite Winfield having slowed down), he really poses match-up problems for anybody who defends him. What a draft pick.
I hope Jordy is back. That would make a huge difference.
This could be a huge game for two people in particular: Finley and Harris. I think Finley has started to earn Rodgers trust again as he seems more focused in recent weeks or something (and more productive). He doesn’t seem as concerned with being an idiot out there – instead he has been just making plays. It’s refreshing and it reminds me that the guy is immensely talented. I also think Harris could play a big role in this game. I think Grant will likely struggle to do much against this D, but the Vikes know very little about Harris and I have a feeling he could be extra tough to drag down on faster playing surfaces. I see big things for him Sunday (though I also see a fumble). One humorous thing I’ve read before about smaller, fast-footed backs like Harris is that DBs often have trouble actually seeing them because the big bodies on the line just get in the way.
In the end, I think I’ll have to go with the Packers in a close one, 24-20 – but I must say, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikes win this one. I think they are better than their present reputation.
* The Texans seem like one of the least impressive 12-win teams in a long while. Especially since their bye week, and even before the loss to the Vikings, they really haven’t looked like a team building momentum for the playoffs.
* One of the reasons the Vikings won their last two is that Christian Ponder has (mostly) been able to be pretty effective passing and running. If the Packers’ secondary can eliminate the Vikings’ passing attack, that will go a long way to minimizing how much damage they can do running the ball.
* I think this is a game the Packers should regard as a playoff tune-up. If they can’t win on the road at the Vikings, how will they win on the road at the Falcons (or anywhere else) in the playoffs?
* I like the idea of treating this as a playoff game–it pretty much is for the Vikings, and there’s a lot of nice things that come with a win. A division sweep (second in a row), elimination of a division rival, and a bye week to rest up and get healthy.
Interesting to read a lot of experts in the papers etc… with similar assessments to yours. I expect Pack d line to make a statement, which means ” holding” peterson to around 100 yards and for the d in general to look very good. Pack o will click on all cylinders making for a fairly decisive win, in the 30-10 neighborhood.