Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Packers Will Beat The Vikings....IF...

Oh, I'm sure we're all ready to break down this game. Will Favre melt down? Will our offensive line hold up against Jared Allen? Will the Vikings be able to compensate for the absence of Antoine Winfield? Will AP get his yards?

I'm here to tell you that a Packer victory will all come down to one thing:

The Packers must force multiple turnovers that leads directly to points, preferably right inside the ten-yard line, and even more preferably, in the end zone. I'm here to tell you that if the Packers' defense doesn't contribute with a score (or a shoo-in play for the offense) or two, the Packers are going to have a tough time winning.

In FavreBowl I, everyone predicted that a revved-up Packer defense would feast on Favre miscues, and certainly, our secondary's ability to turn interceptions into points the last year and a half or so is well-documented and a legitimate threat. But, it didn't happen.

Oh, don't get me wrong. Clay Matthews made a great strip of Adrian Peterson and returned it for six. But, that in and of itself wasn't enough. The Packers need to force multiple turnovers and translate it either into points or field position. That strip was the only turnover the Packers had that game, and the Packers are still averaging 2.5 turnovers a game otherwise. That's almost three a game if you don't count the Vikings game.

It's the one intangible that we really have the most wiggle room with. I am going to assume the following about Sunday's game:

* Aaron Rodgers will have a very good game through the air (when he gets time), and will have no significant turnovers.

* Ryan Grant will struggle to find the success he had against the Browns, and will be less of an impact that many of us are hoping. Ahman Green will not be ready to be a boost-up over Grant at this point.

* Our offensive line is going to either be bookended by beat-up old veterans or young, raw greenhorns. Either way, the pass protection will be exposed and Rodgers will be under heat much of the game.

* Our defense is going to allow A.P his yards and a score, but he's not going to have a 150+ game. In other words, he's not going to dominate the Packers single-handedly.

* Favre will play well as long as he plays within his comfort zone...and plays with a lead, which the Vikings are going to make a point to try and get early.

* Special teams, in one way or another, will dictate some of the game, and unfortunately, Mason Crosby may be a minus, while Percy Harvin may be a plus.

If we assume most of these are true, the pressure is going to fall on the matchup we're all watching anyway: will Favre have a crash to end the game like he did last week against the Steelers? Or, could our secondary simply outmatch him in crunch time?

On paper, this game edged out slightly to the Vikings, as evidenced by their -1.5 line out of Vegas. Face it...the Vikings get the nod likely in both rushing offense and defense. They probably also get the nod on special teams.

Where do the Packers make up the difference? In the passing game.

Can Aaron Rodgers get enough time to have another brilliant day? Can he use his deep threats as well as his backfield targets to keep the defenders guessing?

Can he outplay Favre? I say yes, he can.

The question is, which pass defense will be doing the most damage? Without Winfield, the Vikings find themselves perhaps in the quandary the Packers in last time, when we were still guessing who to put in at safety.

But, you have to give the nod to Charles Woodson, Al Harris, and Nick Collins over anyone playing in the Vikings' defensive backfield. And, in my opinion, the Packers are going to need them. Our Pack hasn't exactly impressed with consistent long drives against quality defenses this season, and that's where those turnovers come into play.

You give the Packers a long field and a the Vikings a small lead, and its going to get tough. But, a couple of well-timed know, the ones we expected to have the first time around...will turn that field position battle around.

Naturally, how to you get that to happen? A little bit of luck, a dash of execution, and making sure that the Vikings running game isn't enough to beat us by itself.

My prediction: Packers tie up the game late on a Charles Woodson interception, setting up the Packers for a short drive, and sending the game into overtime. The Packers win the game, 30-24, on a Nick Collins pick for a touchdown.

Let's hope.


IPB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IPB said...

I have to say - I definitely enjoyed watching Brett spend a lot of time on his arse during the Steelers game, last week. I booked it at 50/50, him standing up and him knocked off his feet and landing on his back. The Steeler game brought back to us, the real Brett Favre - the one that makes mistakes and figures he can blame everyone else. (At least he could always count on the Press to do his blaming for him)

And, did you see those ticky-tack attempts at tackling whenever Pittsburgh took the ball away and was running for the End Zone? What happened to the Helmet-grabbing linebacker we used to know and love? I ask you....

I root for TJ Lang to do a much better job at LT against Jared Allen than Colledge could ever do on his best day. Allen is a handful for any Offensive Line. Yet, there is film out there where Jared Allen becomes invisible and has no value-add in the game.

Question becomes: Has the Coaching Staff sought that film out, so as to teach the Players what they didn't see or know about the last time? my neck itches and that means...uuh, NO, they didn't.

I certainly agree that the Packers regaining their ability for takeaways would be an outstanding PLUS, especially against the INT KING. Favre does owe us some of those points back, don't you think?

Atari Bigby is back and I hope he stays healthy. This means Clay Matthews will have some help out there. Bring in Nick Collins, and suddenly we gain back some symmetry for INT's. And, do I really have to discuss Charles Woodson?

Will our D-Line be able to push back the Viking's O-Line, so that Brett remembers that crowded feeling? There is a very real issue that Capers has yet to demonstrate a possibility of. Ever since Holmgren left, we don't have push from the Defensive Tackles. Capers was supposed to help bring that back, with consistency. You can't tell me Pickett, Jolly and Raji aren't enough to make that happen. Still....

In the last Vikings game, I still say that hit on Will Blackmon was a setup and premeditated - they went after him. It was scripted. Favre ordered it. Or, at least warned the Vikings about his return threat ability. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Question: Who will they target in this game?

1) Favre does play worse when he falls behind in games. That's always been the case. Especially after Reggie White was gone. He tends to throw those INT's more often..

This means MAC is who must make sure to score first and keep scoring with every possession. None of this FG nonsense with the Prevent mentality. If he doesn't, Rodgers will be who plays from behind. Is MAC jittered by Favre?

2) I'm pretty much tired of McCarthy not allowing Rodgers the 5-Wideout set, ON EVERY PLAY, like he did with Favre in 2007. It's time to give Bootlegger the very same options that the Ginslinger enjoyed two seasons ago. If not, then MAC WANTS US TO LOSE. Can't look at it any other way. Say what you will - if it isn't true, then why NO 5-wideout sets?

Right off, Favre will go for the long bomb score in the first three plays of the game. That's the only way he can get rid of the huge sack of butterflies he will have walking out onto his old home turf. And, like you, I want to see the Packers grab back some of those points he OWES the Packers back.


C.D. Angeli said...

Hmmm...the one thing I will sort of disagree with you on is the 5-wide set. I never liked it. It got a little success because defenses hadn't seen it, but it didn't take long for them to find some old film of Detroit running the run-and-shoot and figure that out.

It might help, especially given the precarious situation at both OT spots. But, it is still a caricature of a real offensive set that the Packers should be able to run. You shouldn't have to rely on a 5 wide set just to get a play off.

Anonymous said...

pretty clearly you never watched Jenkins or Williams pass rushing as DTs did you?
or Kampman as he did many times

but it is tough to spew when checking facts