Written by Jordan Jensen
Sept. 10, 2019
The logical side of me:
Well, thank goodness I was wrong last week but as my one game track record indicates, fortunately, I have the same inklings this week when the Packers meet the Vikings in week two. The largest looming factor is the differences in offense quality that Green Bay is about to face. Where Chicago wasn’t able to get anything going throughout the course of the game a week ago Minnesota was able to dominate a capable football team despite only running 10 pass plays. Playing no small part in the success of that was running back Dalvin Cook who looks like he’s running for a contract extension once eligible next season (21 carries, 111 yards and 2 tds according to pro-football reference). Minnesota also brings a pair of very capable running backs to the table In Diggs and Thielen. Thielen was able to score a touchdown last week (3 rec for 43 yds with 1 td) but Diggs (2 rec for 37yds) remained largely held under check not because of skill but because of pure lack of passing plays. I have a vastly improved confidence in the Green Bay defense after last week’s showing against the Bears (3 pts, 274 total yds). I certainly don’t expect it to be easy going for Minnesota but I do expect 14 or more points scored by the Vikings in this contest so the Packer offense is going to need to improve.
Then we get to the defensive side of the ball where a Minnesota group shut down a Matt Ryan lead offense for three quarters before allowing two garbage-time touchdowns. If it weren’t for one of said garbage time touchdowns, Julio Jones would have been non-existent and to say Devonta Freeman was disappointing would be an understatement (8 car, 19 yds). Green Bay has struggled against Minnesota in recent years (5 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie in the last 4 years) and the Skols is also an improved team from last season on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, Green Bay certainly didn’t dazzle on offense but was facing one of the best defenses in the league at Chicago. This is another side of the ball that will be very even in Lambeau but I can see a pretty low potential floor for the Packer offense with considerable upside.
The fan in me:
There is absolutely no way that Aaron Rodgers is held to a similar statline as he posted last weekend (18, 203, 1). Yes, the Minnesota defense is admittedly good but The Green Bay offense is going to step up in a big way this weekend on the strength of #12 in another NFC North matchup at Lambeau Field. The Packer defense finally doesn’t look like they’re in slow motion and are getting after the quarterback thereby allowing the secondary to play aggressively. There will be some trials as there should be in an early-season game against such a capable opponent but Aaron Rodgers will put the team on his back once again on Sunday night.
The merger of the two:
Vegas gave the edge to the home team in this game (Packers -3) and for good reason. The Packers have an opportunity to start their NFC North matchups at 2-0 and both teams understand how important these matchups are which typically results in a grittier chess match of a game with over the top effort from everyone. Always give the edge to an Aaron Rodgers lead Packer team in those kinds of games but if without intangibles the Vikings would likely win this game.