Fourth & Forever: Previewing the Packers and Vikings game
The Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings are headed in two different directions. The Packers are on a three game winning streak, and sit atop of the NFC North, with a record of 4-2. The Vikings are at the bottom of the division, and look to dig themselves out of a three game hole against the division rival. This Sunday night will be the first of two games between these two teams. The division is still up for grabs, while the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions, still try and find their grooves. The Bears and Packers are dealing with some key injuries, and the Lions are looking to get a grip on their defense. The division is still winnable for the men in purple, therefore the Vikings have to dust off their two last embarrassing losses and move on. The Packers are looking to get another win in the division, before their Monday night game in two weeks against the Bears.
The Vikings are in total disarray. The quarterback, the coach, and the consistent losing, I don't know where to start! Last year this team finished 10-6 and made the playoffs, this year the Vikings have started the season 1-5. Through six games, they are one lost away from matching their total number of losses last season. Starting quarterback Christian Ponder lost his title after three games. His backup Matt Cassel, lost his, after two games. The Vikings sign throw away Josh Freeman, who was released two weeks ago by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The result, Freeman threw 53 times, while all-pro running back Adrian Peterson, only carried the ball 13 times. He had only been with the team for 12 days before he made the start. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he wasn't ready, than say he is a very bad quarterback. The lost to the New York Giants was the second straight ugly game produced by the Vikings. The week before, the Carolina Panthers blew out the Vikings 35-10. No ball movement, no moving the chains, and the defense gives up more points than a pinball machine. At this point, coach Leslie Frazier is looking like he doesn't know what to do. Maybe that's why he has used three quarterbacks in six games. Its the quarterback, its the defense, its the coach, its the whoooole team! Read coaches in the hot seat!
The Viking and Packers are always going to be linked to each other, just because the Packers like to throw away people, while the Vikings like to take them in and give them a home and feed them. Players in the past such as Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, and Brett Favre. This year it has been players such as linebacker Desmond Bishop and receiver Greg Jennings. "Silly Vikings, tricks are for kids." Obviously Green Bay knows what their doing. Bishop was signed and then made two starts...eventually tearing his ACL. Now he is on injury reserve, for the second year in a row. Then there is Greg Jennings crybaby self. "Oh oh Aaron Rodgers was never a leader, oh." It sounds like Jennings is missing that good ol Wisconsin home cooking. Not only is Jennings having a bad year, but his team is terrible. He doesn't look like a number one receiver at all. Through five games, he has 20 catches, for two hundred and eighty six yards...with a pair of touchdowns. That doesn't sign like a number one receiver, who just signed a five-year $47.5 million contract in the off-season. The money was going to be nice, but it wasn't going to be the same quarterback or coaches, helping him return to his pro-bowl years. I hope the money was worth it!
The short-handed Packers, are running out of playmakers. The Packers are going to be down two starting receivers, and their big physical tight-end, Jermichael Finley. Both Randall Cobb and James Jones, will be side-lined for Sunday nights game, due to injuries. Cobb was placed on Injury Reserve-designated to return a week ago, due to him breaking his fibula two weeks ago at Baltimore. He is out at least 6-8 weeks. Jones was also hurt in Baltimore, with a sprained PCL. He is out two to four weeks. Finely got hurt in Sundays win against the Cleveland Browns, win a contusion to his spinal cord. It has not been determined if Finely will continue his career, with such a scary injury. Nevertheless, the games have got to be played and Rodgers is soon going to be throwing it to himself. But with the emergence of rookie running back Eddie Lacy, the Packers finally have a two dimensional game. Lacy leads the league in rushing yards over the past three weeks, with 301 and Kansas City Chiefs running backs Jamal Charles is second with 272. That's right, he has more yards than Charles. Now that is impressive for a rookie. With receiver Jordy Nelson demanding attention, defenses can no longer play two deep safeties every time, because the Pack now have an top tier power running back. I maybe getting ahead of myself, but the future looks bright for Lacy.
Regardless of the injuries racking up, the Packers are still going to be dangerous. Lacy takes pressure off of A Rod, as well as the back-ups catching the ball at the end of Rodgers passes. Back-up tight end Andrew Quarless and back-up receiver Jarrett Boykin's will have to step up to replace these playmakers. Boykin's a 6 ft. 2 undrafted second year receiver proved last week he is up for the task, catching eight passes for 103 yards, and a touchdown last week. Packers are now in first place, and will not be looking back. The Vikings are starting starter Christian Ponder against the Packers. Apparently Josh Freeman has an concussion and won't play. Sounds like the Vikings are not looking to be embarrassed again in a primetime game. Ponder gives the Vikings a better chance to win games, as long as Adrian Peterson stays healthy, this team can win. Ponder torched the Packers last year in the regular season match-up, throwing three touchdowns. That win sealed a Vikings playoff berth. They played the Packers the following week in the first round and lost that game 24-10. Ponder didn't play in that game due to an injury. I have the Packers winning this game, but not by much. Ponder has something to prove, as well as Greg Jennings. The Packers defense is banged up, so I expect AP to rebound from last weeks blunder. In the end its to much Rodgers and Lacy overpowering the Vikings.