Predicting breakout performances for the Packers in Week 1.
With the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans playing last night, week one of the NFL season is underway. For the Green Bay Packers, they open up the season versus the Minnesota Vikings. An early season matchup that could determine the NFC North division winner later in the season.
Last season on their way to going undefeated in the NFC North, Green Bay defeated Minnesota twice. In both games, the Packers defense had great performances, as Minnesota only averaged 13 points per game vs. the Packers.
Now in the first matchup between these divisional rivals, who will have breakout performances that will lead Green Bay to victory in week one?
During the offseason, the Packers lost their leading tackler and starting middle linebacker in Blake Martinez. Green Bay looked to replace Martinez during the free agency period and in doing so signed Christian Kirksey.
Kirksey will have a chance to make an immediate impact in week one versus the Vikings. Minnesota will try to attack the Packers’ weakness, which is run defense. With a star like Dalvin Cook in the backfield, that isn’t such a bad idea.
However, Kirksey’s imprint will be felt throughout the game. In the passing game, Kirksey will be charged with covering Cook. In addition, Kirksey will have to make critical tackles in the run game to prevent Cook from breaking off big runs.
Martinez averaged almost 11 tackles a game versus the Vikings last season. Expect Kirksey to exceed that average with at least 13 tackles in week one. In addition, he’ll make an interception by deceiving Kirk Cousins by dropping into coverage. Packers fans may be leaving week one feeling they benefitted from the linebacker trade off this offseason.
Now, a breakout performance from Davante Adams would be no surprise. Adams is a premier wide receiver in the league and capable to put up big numbers every week. Yet, Adams seemed to elevate his play last season versus the Vikings.
In the two games versus Minnesota last year, Adams combined for 20 catches and 219 receiving yards, giving him an average of 10 catches and 109 receiving yards per game versus the Vikings.
Adams will do more damage in week one because of the offseason departures of some Minnesota cornerbacks. Both Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes — who were the primary defenders on Adams — left the Vikings this offseason. Now it’ll be third-year cornerback Mike Hughes tasked with guarding the Pro Bowler in Adams.
Even if Minnesota primarily doubles Adams, Aaron Rodgers will target him enough to produce big numbers on Sunday.
The Packers’ stars versus the Vikings last season had great games. Not only did Adams have great games, but so did Aaron Jones.
In the two games last season, Jones had 46 carries for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
In week one, Jones will face a weaker defensive front than he did last season. Linval Joseph left Minnesota to join the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason. Not to mention, the Vikings’ best defensive lineman Danielle Hunter will miss this week’s game with a neck injury.
Jones should touch the ball over 20 times on Sunday and if he does so he will have over150 scrimmage yards. Also, Jones will pick up where he left off last season by scoring two touchdowns on Sunday.
If these breakout performances come true, the Packers will defeat the Vikings on Sunday and start the season 1-0.