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) /
3 of 6
Green Bay Packers, Za'Darius Smith
Green Bay Packers, Za’Darius Smith (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

2. Za’Darius Smith

Believe it or not, it has been since the game against the 49ers that Za’Darius Smith recorded a sack. That’s three straight games without a sack. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t made an impact, he has. Smith has been as disruptive as ever. He just hasn’t been the one to benefit from his havoc.

But if Clark can continue his hot play, Smith can only benefit.

Smith is the chess piece that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine moves all over the formation. Preston Smith has also had a fine year switching from side to side, but Za’Darius is the more versatile player. Lining up Smith and Clark on the inside with Preston and Kyler Fackrell and/or Rashan Gary on the other side could cause all kinds of matchup nightmares for the Vikings.

Smith had two sacks in the first meeting getting in the face of Cousins all game long. With the offense still trying to find their groove, Smith and company will have to be the ones to take control and push the Packers to where they want to go.

Should the offense find their legs in the meanwhile, all the better. But there are no signs saying that is going to happen yet. So, Smith must take charge once again and cause as much chaos as he can in the Vikings backfield.