Here we are at Week 12 of the NFL season and the Green Bay Packers are facing a must-win against NFC North Division rival Minnesota Vikings. Check out Packers tickets here if you’re looking to attend the game
How many of us thought this would be the case even just three weeks ago. This has been a turbulent ride for the Packers and one in which they might not recover. One thing is for certain: The Packers have to take care of business today. If they don’t, you can put another nail in the team’s coffin … and it may be the final nail for 2013.
The Packers have lost two straight at Lambeau Field, something that hasn’t happened since 2008. Should they lose to the Vikings today, that would make it three straight home losses … something that hasn’t occurred since 1991 … think about it.
So, with that said, the staff here at Lombardiave.com have put together their weekly predictions and as always, if you want to provide your own comments or predictions, leave a comment below, Like us on our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.
Here’s how we see things:
Patrick Hughes: The predicament the Packers find themselves in means every game is really a must-win game the remainder of the season. That is provided they beat the Minnesota Vikings – a game they are capable of winning.
I have a hunch that this is the game where Scott Tolzien pulls it all together.
I’m not predicting that he breaks any records per se, but he does manage the offense and allows the Packers to put points on the board. The defense, after a three-week unexcused absence returns and plays like the unit we saw the last time the Packers and the Vikings squared off.
Packers 35 Vikings 14
Kevin Gibson: Sadly, I correctly predicted the Packers’ loss last week to the Giants. This week, I’m going back the other way.
With nearly two full games under his belt, I believe quarterback Scott Tolzien will turn in a steadier performance against the Minnesota Vikings.
I look for the Packers to find better balance on offense than they enjoyed in that Giants loss. The wild card is whether the defense can stop Adrian Peterson.
Oh, before I forget – I also predict someone knocks the living crap out of Greg Jennings (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking).
Packers 23, Vikings 17
Kevin Dickens: For the first time in a few weeks, I feel very comfortable with the position the Pack are in. Minnesota is a divisional opponent which gives the coaching staff and players some familiarity with their opponent. It will also help that Minnesota is banged up and in probably worse shape than the Packers.
The offense should be able to exploit the Vikings on all fronts. Their defense is breaking in a rookie cornerback and Erin Henderson is also scheduled to sit out. The Pack should look to let Tolzien throw as much as he has, but need to be very cautious of the ever-looming Jared Allen. Keeping him blocked will keep Tolzien plenty comfortable in the pocket to exploit matchups that favor the Packers heavily.
If Tolzien can avoid turnovers, Lacy and Starks can counter and keep the Vikings on their heels.
The defense has something to prove in a major way. An error-prone Ponder is a mistake away from finding the bench. With Adrian Peterson self-reporting he is less than 100 percent, Green Bay needs their front seven to control the line of scrimmage so that the secondary can avoid its huge lapses. Tramon Williams was tremendous last game. My hopes are he can continue and have a dominating game against Greg Jennings.
Green Bay avoids a fourth straight loss.
Packers 23 Vikings 13
David Burdette: It’s been a rough few weeks for Packers and Vikings fans. When will it end?
Well, this week one team will go home with a W.
The Vikings go to Lambeau with more or less Adrian Peterson as their weapon. Otherwise, not much at quarterback, and even with talent at wide receiver the lack of talent at quarterback has caused this team to implode. The defense just seems tired.
The Packers are weary as well. Tolzien has looked good, but struggles with turnovers. Lacy is a great talent but could get worn out if pressed too hard. The real question is the defense which looked like it was gelling but has fallen off the map in recent weeks.
The real key is the defenses. Whoever shows up there may be able to pull out the win.
Packers 24 Vikings 20
Thomas Mrozla: One game at a time has to be the approach for the Green Bay Packers for the rest of the season.
This week I think they end the losing streak. Scott Tolzien has had another week of learning the playbook and creating more chemistry with the other players.
Eddie Lacy should rebound this weekend as well making it a collective effort. The only question mark that remains for me is the defense. They will have to play tight coverage and limit long passes from the Vikings.
Lambeau Field will be primed for a playoff atmosphere, pushing the Packers to a win.
Packers 20 Vikings 17
Dan Dahlke: This will be the first true cold-weather game at Lambeau Field this season, and I think it will be an ugly one. Both teams are dealing with a significant number of injuries and have had some issues at the quarterback position.
I think this could really be anyone’s game. The team that withstands all the injuries and doesn’t turn the ball over will win. It will come down to the quarterback that makes the fewest mistakes between Tolzien and Christian Ponder.
Being that the game is at home, I give the Packers a slight edge (plus, I am a bit of a homer). I’ll take the Packers over the Vikings.
Packers 20 Vikings 17.
Luke Hanish: The defense has been less than impressive the past few weeks. I would assume 8 in the box committing to stop Adrian Peterson and forcing Christian Ponder to beat us.
Sure the offense has struggled to put points on the board without Rodgers, but the defense has truly lacked any type of impact play whatsoever. Fundamentals and a lack of takeaways have become quite a concern. Scott Tolzein needs to be more efficient on the offensive side of the ball to allow more running room for Eddie Lacy.
The Vikings have lost seven of their last eight against the Pack and I predict 8 of their last 9.
Packers 31 Vikings 20
Eric Balkman: This has been a rough few weeks for Packers fans, but they finally catch a break in facing a terrible team at home. No matter who the starting quarterback is for Minnesota, the Vikings just don’t have the talent or coaching to pull out a win at Lambeau.
Scott Tolzien looked better last week, but he is still not a good NFL backup. That said, I expect him to have a good day versus Minnesota. I believe the Packers defense will make a few big plays at the end to seal the victory and get Green Bay back in the playoff hunt.
Packers 24 Vikings 20
Ray Rivard: You have to go all the way back to 1991 for the last time the Green Bay Packers have lost three straight home games. And I really don’t want to go back to those years … I don’t think you do either. But that’s what faces the Green Bay Packers should they lose to the 2-8 Minnesota Vikings today.
Could the Packers lose today? Of course they could. We really have no idea what to expect from this team anymore.
Ravaged by injuries and and a defense that has gone from great to bad, anything can happen. However, because I simply can’t believe that this team will fall to such depths, I’m predicting a Packers win on the cold November turf at Lambeau Field.
Eddie Lacy will get it going and Scott Tolzien will cut down on the turnovers. I also feel Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder will give the ball to the Packers at least once. When it’s all said and done, I feel the Packers will win convincingly.
Packers 26 Vikings 13