This doesn’t happen too often. Just last week, Minnesota and Green Bay face off on the gridiron, and now, they prepare to face off for the second time in seven days. However, this time, it will be in the cold of Lambeau field, not the confined, cozy Metro Dome from last week. Green Bay if finally getting healthy, but their defense is causing some concerns. Minnesota is one of the hottest teams in the whole league, but they aren’t playoff tested, and the road crowd will make it hard on young Christian Ponder. Let’s dive in a bit deeper.
How Green Bay can Win: Going into last week, I had the Packers pegged as the favorites in the NFC. In a playoffs full of untested Quarterbacks (nine total playoff starts from the six QBs), Rodgers is easily the veteran, with one ring under his belt. Even though Cedric Benson is still out, the wide receiving core is healthy and full for the first time all season long. The offense didn’t struggle at all last week, but 34 points wasn’t enough to get the win, and for that, we look at the defense. Charles Woodson remains out, and Clay Matthews has been in a revolving door on the field all year long. In order for the Packers to win, Matthews will need to go blow for blow with fellow defensive stud Jared Allen on the other defense.
How Minnesota Can Win: Pretty simple here: Get Adrian Peterson the ball, and get it to him often. In a year full of historically great games, Peterson really seemed to shine against the Vikings’ big rivals. AP just missed out on 200 yards last week, with 199 and two total touchdowns. This great game was one upped by his first game against the Green and Yellow, where he torched them for 210 yards. If the Vikes want to keep up their winning ways, he will be a big factor. We also know that the key to slowing down the Pack Attack is getting in Aaron Rodgers’ face, and Allen is one of the best at that. If he can hurry Rodgers, he could force one of those rare mistakes from the star QB, which could turn the game.
Our Prediction: The Vikings won a hard fought, offensive battle last week, but as previously mentioned, that was in Minnesota. Now we are in Lambeau Field, and more importantly, it’s January. Even more importantly, the Packers have been here plenty of time, while the playoff stage is new to many of these players, including Ponder and AP. All these factors point to a win for Green Bay for me, and if the defense can make some plays, it could be a blowout. I don’t see Minnesota slowing down the Packers, and I could see Green Bay having a good game on the defensive end. Look for Green Bay to be up by 7-10 the whole way, and win the game 34-23.
What do you think will happen? Will Minnesota pull off back-to-back wins, or will Aaron Rodgers keep alive his dream of two rings in three years? Let us know in the comments! Also, check out our thoughts on the other matchup on Saturday: Cincinnati at Houston.