Packers vs. Vikings: Three key matchups in Week 16

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2. Packers pass rush vs. Kirk Cousins

In their first matchup of the year, the Packers’ pass rush was a huge factor. While they managed to sack Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins just once, they were pressuring him nonstop. The presence of Za’Darius and Preston Smith were felt, but they weren’t even the most productive pass rushers in that game.

Kyler Fackrell had two hurries and two hits on Cousins. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry had four hurries as well. The lone sack belonged to Kenny Clark, who has been absolutely dominant recently. The Smiths combined for one hurry and two hits on the quarterback, but Preston Smith had an interception off of a deflection from rookie safety Darnell Savage.

Cousins ended the game 14 of 23 (61 percent) for 230 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, giving him a quarterback rating of just 52.9. A good chunk of his passing yards came on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs that Jaire Alexander maybe should have intercepted, but he lost the ball in the sun.

If you take that completion away, Cousins is sitting at 13 of 23 for 185 yards and two, possibly three interceptions if Alexander picks it off.

Yes, the pass coverage was good for the Packers that game, but this pass rush was constantly in Cousins’ face that he was forced to make a lot of tough throws that either fell incomplete or were intercepted. If the Packers can consistently get to Cousins and pressure him, he will probably make some mistakes that this defense will need to capitalize on.