National media seem to think this game is all about the return of Brett Favre and texting habits. That was so last year. This game is about the Green Bay Packers knocking spit out of the Minnie Soda (small pop) Vikings and their Kiwanis club QB. The texting allegations? That was a NY Jet thing. This is football and when it comes to the Packers and Vikings, the only thing that decides the game is on the field.
Both teams come in struggling and it is no reach to say that both teams had aspirations of a Super Bowl appearance. Many believed these two teams would play each other for the right to rep the NFC. Oddly enough, the third team mentioned, the Dallas Cowboys, are having their own season meltdown. Oh, but I do digress. This week, it’s all about the pain.
The key to this game is simple, stop Adrian Peterson and force Brett Favre to throw. There was a time that you wouldn’t want to put Favre into that position, but despite the fact that Favre can still toss a few 6 pointers, especially with the addition of Randy Moss, he also has more fumbles than any QB in the history of the NFL and more INT’s. Put pressure on the passing game by eliminating the running game and the Packers secondary should have a far easier time rolling over the Nordic namesakes.
How they match-up.
Green Bay D Vs. Small Pop’s O:
As I stated earlier, I don’t try and stop Favre out of the gates, I start by taking away the only thing he has to help, Peterson. I scouted the Vikings when they played the Dolphins in week 2 and the Dolphins scheme was simple. Stop Peterson and force Favre to beat you. For the first two quarters, the Dolphins were able to do just that. Despite the fact they shot themselves in the foot, stopping Peterson put the Vikings into a pass mode and then the Dolphins brought the pressure. It’s a solid solution.
Clay Matthews will play a huge roll in this as he returns from his hamstring pull. Favre is very susceptible to a bull rush blitz and Matthews is great at doing just that. The vaunted Oline of the Vikings, isn’t all that vaunted lately and Favre is well beyond showing signs of breaking down. His body is done and it’s only a matter of time before his mind catches up.
Randy Moss is a solid number one WR. BUT, Randy Moss is also a quitter and if Favre can’t feed him the ball enough, Moss will not run his routes, especially with plays designed for someone else. He simply quits. Let him into the game and it’s a different story. Moss is all about Moss and as long as you can hit him, knock him around, and keep him out of the game, you will keep the Vikings out of the game. Last week Dallas failed to do that and lost.
All in all, it should be as simple to stop the Vikings offense as it is to say. Stop Peterson from getting outside, and nail him when he goes up the middle. Keep a LB on him for dump passes and take away that aspect of their offense. When you complete that task, Favre will start to throw and if you have a lead, his throws will get not be as tight and the secondary can pad their INT totals. Stop Randy Moss by getting into his head and the Vikings will crumble.
The hardest players to stop on offense are WR’s Percy Harvin who has a knack of getting open and Greg Camarillo who is money on 3rd downs. Pressure on Favre will take Harvin out of the equation and to be honest, the Vikings have yet to figure out the right way to use Camarillo.
Come back tomorrow as we swap sides and view the match-up between the Pack O and Small-Pop D.