Five Packers to watch vs. Vikings in crucial Week 16 matchup

Green Bay Packers, Jake Kumerow (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jake Kumerow (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

1. Kenny Clark

Kenny Clark has been on fire lately. He has had 3.5 sacks with three tackles for a loss in the last two games. Clark actually started his reawakening three weeks ago versus the Giants. Although he didn’t have the stats, Clark was a disruptive force dominating the Giants line and staying in the face of Daniel Jones.

The following week against the Redskins, Clark kept his role going and added a sack-and-a-half. Then last week, he picked up a little bit more with two sacks against the Bears.

Along the way, Clark has played the run well, eating up blocks and taking up space in the middle of the defense, slowing down the opponents’ run game enough for the Packers to not be gashed the way they have most of the season.

If the Packers want to win Monday, Clark must keep up his pace. The team may catch a break as Dalvin Cook might not play and rookie backup Alexander Mattison has yet to practice this week due to an ankle injury.

Even if neither back plays, the Vikings should be expected to lean on the run and allow Kirk Cousins to use the play-action pass as a weapon. That’s what has made the team and Cousins so successful during the recent hot streak.

If Clark can dominate the way he has the past few weeks, the Packers can force the Vikings to be one-dimensional and put the game on Cousins’ shoulders.