Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
In the penultimate game of the year, Green Bay gets to play against one of the two teams responsible for the blemishes on their record.
Regardless of how good or bad (barring a complete meltdown of course) Sam Bradford plays QB, this Minnesota team is set up so well in all the other spots on their roster that the team should still be somewhere in the playoff picture, and they would love to get a season sweep of Green Bay for the first time since Brett Favre led the team to the NFC Championship Game in 2009.
Bradford is no Favre, but he did well enough last year to be ranked #12 in PFF’s QB grades going into the season, and despite his flaws he could do as well as Teddy Bridgewater did for them last year as a passer.
As further hope for Minnesota, they managed to beat Green Bay last year even with Bridgewater struggling, in no small part due to the wide array of talents spread elsewhere on the roster.
I mentioned before how coach Mike Zimmer has been one of the few defensive minds able to consistently make things tough on Rodgers, and that shouldn’t change. Unlike the early loss to Minnesota this year though, I think he and his offense will find more consistency and put up some more points on their home soil.
That consistency might come from a better showing from the running game; the Lacy/Starks duo should be leaned on to keep the array of pass rushers in purple away from their quarterback.
Defensively, Green Bay will be hoping their stable of young defensive linemen is more prepared to help Daniels muck up the blocking for Peterson and the Vikings’ run game; they do that, and they force the burden of production onto the limited arm of Bradford.
Minnesota can win here if Peterson is a productive focal point, blasting through big holes and arm tackles to move the offense — and keep the ball away from Green Bay.
If it is put on Bradford’s shoulders however, mistakes in the form of failed 3rd downs and turnovers are on the horizon.
I see the front seven stepping up to do what previous iterations rarely have done and slow Peterson while the offense applies enough scoreboard pressure to make Bradford have to take over, where he falls short, giving the Packers their 13th win on the year and bringing them one step closer to home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Green Bay 25
Green Bay Record: 13-2
Next: Packers vs. Lions