So far so good for the Green Bay Packers.
After a 1-2 start to the season, the Packers have rebounded nicely after the bye to the tune of three straight wins to put the Packers on top of the NFC North at 4-2. Next up is a divisional match-up versus the Minnesota Vikings, who are disappointing after going from a playoff push last year to a 1-5 start with the only win being versus the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers.
So what does next week look like?
A possible blowout. Unfortunately for the Vikings, that does not mean Brett Favre is coming out of retirement to blow out the Packers.
Green Bay has the advantage in nearly all aspects of this game. The most obvious is at quarterback, where the Packers have the advantage against nearly every team in the league with Aaron Rodgers. But the gap is wide given the Vikings are in between the trio of Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel, and Christian Ponder.
Surprisingly, at running back the Packers are actually ranked better in the run game at sixth in the NFL compared to the Vikings 19th. This is more of a surprise given the dominance Adrian Peterson had last year, nearly breaking the rushing yards record. But with personal problems and lack of a passing game, Peterson has been held in check this year. The Packers have managed to be a better run blocking team up front, and the emergence of Eddie Lacy has invigorated the running game.
At wide receiver the Vikings win basically because they have people showing up to work. Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kyle Rudolph would be a frightening trio if only a good quarterback were throwing to them. On the Packers side, Jordy Nelson is almost the only threat, though James Jones is supposedly ahead of schedule to return. And we can’t forget about Jarrett Boykin.
On defense there is also a gap which favors the Packers. The Vikings rank 29th against the pass and 14th against the run. The Packers rank 24th versus the pass, but are playing better the last few weeks, and a stunning third against the run. The guess is Peterson will not be destroying the run defense the way he did last year.
All in all, it is another game the Packers should go into and dominate, but never count out the opponent. The Packers need to be thinking and hoping more than anything that they can get out of this game without any injuries. That would be the major win.