For the second time in a month Peterson ran all over the Packers defense, for a cumulative total of 409 yards rushing between the two games. If the Packers are going to be successful on Saturday in the NFC Wild Card game again verses the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers and the high powered Packer offense will need to strike early and often.
This past Sunday the Packers offense came out sluggish and seemingly just went through the motions, punting on their first three possessions. Meanwhile, the Vikings capitalized on the Packers apathetic start and quickly went up 13-0 early in the second quarter.
From the very beginning the Packers had to play from behind. This enabled the Vikings to work the clock by running the football. In doing so Peterson punished the Packers defense all game long.
The Vikings understood they had to win, the Packers, on the other hand, needed to win. Clearly the two teams had different mindsets. Desperation can be a dangerous motivator and the Packers were victimized by the Vikings because of it.
With that said, the Packers have struggled with an attitude in which they seem to simply expect to beat teams they deem to be inferior opponents. This approach has cost them games against the Colts, Giants, Seahawks and the Vikings this past Sunday. This presumptive point of view needs to be ditched, this is playoff football, and a take no prisoners’ stance should be adopted.
Adrian Peterson as we all know is a beast, one of the best to play the game. He has been phenomenal against Green Bay, accumulating in two games nearly 20 percent of his 2,097 yards for the season. The Packers can’t afford to pin their Super Bowl hopes on shutting, or even slowing him down. Because they simply haven’t demonstrated they have the ability or the will to do so.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense need to put Green Bay out in front and force the Vikings to rely on Christian Ponder to win the game. If Green Bay’s offense can come out and score early and often they will also have the game clock to their advantage. This will force the Vikings to pass, taking the ball out of Peterson’s hands and into the ham-hands of Christian Ponder.
This recipe proved victorious for the Packers in their December 2nd matchup with the Vikings. Despite Peterson thrashing the Packers defense for 210 yards, Ponders’ two passes intercepted by Morgan Burnett made the difference in the game.
Ponder has proved he can be a decent game manager. But the Packers need to force him into the uncomfortable position of being the game changer. If Green Bay’s offense can put points on the board, that will make Ponder responsible for the outcome of the contest.
This is a tall order for Ponder. A Texan who played college football in Florida, to come into the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field and defeat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at their own game.