Packers: 3 key matchups in Week 1 matchup vs. Vikings

Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /

1. Za’Darius Smith vs. Packers offensive line

Za’Darius Smith gets a chance for instant revenge on the Packers, who let him go earlier this offseason. His Vikings debut comes against his former team, and he will have a point to prove.

Smith’s ability to move around means the Vikings can find favorable matchups for him.

If he’s on the outside, it could be a matchup with star tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. However, they are both questionable to play. The Packers may have Yosh Nijman and either Royce Newman or Zach Tom at tackle.

At the interior spots, Josh Myers will play at center, Jon Runyan will be at guard, and the final spot will go to either Newman or Jake Hanson, in all likelihood.

No matter which lineman the Packers have blocking Smith, they need to be at their best. Smith is one of the best pass rushers in the league and he often has his best games when he has a point to prove.

Smith has the ability to take over a game and shut down offensive drives.

The Packers know Smith’s strengths as a pass rusher. They must enter Week 1 with a good game plan.

But none of that matters if the offensive line can’t slow him down. No matter where Smith lines up, Green Bay’s offensive line needs to play well.