I’m going to go out on a limb today … not just because I feel the Green Bay Packers are going to win by at least 10 points against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday night, but because of the way I feel they are going to accomplish it.
We all know about Adrian Peterson. We all know about Aaron Rodgers. We all know they are the keys to victory for both teams.
But how do the Packers neutralize number 28 in Purple? They do it by not allowing, or at least limiting, the number of touches that “the beast” gets. Last week, Peterson had 34 rushes for 199 yards. It seemed that he touched the ball on every down and that it was his impact on the game that kept the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’s hands for much of the first half. While Rodgers and the Packers’ offense finally came alive in the second half, Peterson had already done too much and had too much of an impact for the Packers to overcome.
This week I feel the Packers not only have to come out quickly and score on their first two or three possessions, they have to do much of it on the ground.
That’s why I feel one of the more important players this week will be their secret, but not-so-secret weapon, DuJuan Harris. Here’s a guy who has done nothing but positive things for the Packers over the past three weeks. It seems that every time he gets his hands on the ball, there is positive yardage – and not just two yards and a pile. He continuously picks up five to 10 yards per carry. He’s got a quick step and explosiveness that none of the other Packers running backs have displayed this year.
Like James Starks in 2010, I feel Harris has the opportunity to help this team stride through the Playoffs.
The Packers need to control the clock. They need to extend drives and while Rodgers will have a huge hand in making sure that happens Saturday night, I feel Harris will also have a hand in that effort.
While controlling the clock, especially early in the game, the Packers can take the lead and put more pressure on Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. If the Packers can minimize the damage done by Peterson and place more of the playmaking onus on Ponder, that gives them a much better chance of winning.
So, bring on the little guy. I can see him picking up some crucial first downs and possibly breaking a long one for a touchdown himself.
While everyone will be talking about Peterson heading into the game, my hope is that Harris’s name will be on everyone’s lips at game’s end.