Well Packers fans, we had a good run. We had hopes and visions of Aaron Rodgers returning to run the table and lead the Packers to the promised land. Unfortunately it just didn’t play out that way. Rodgers appeared to have a little rust and missed on some throws that he normally makes. The defense couldn’t consistently stop the Panthers and there was a few plays that could have gone either way, but they ended up not going the Packers way.
Green Bay has been officially eliminated from playoff contention and so Rodgers has been shut down for the season and it would surprise nobody if Davante Adams doesn’t take the field again after suffering yet another concussion from an illegal head to head hit. But there is still football to be played, and this week we’ve got none other than the Minnesota Vikings. So, let’s see how Brett Hundley does this time around against them!
Three Burning Questions
Can Hundley get the ball out fast enough?
Minnesota is a team that is built around the defense. If the defense succeeds it usually results in a win for the Vikings. Maybe the most dominant part of this defense is the pass rush. The Vikings front seven is one of the most feared units in the league and for good reason. They are big, fast and aggressive and are very much used to winning battles in the trenches every week. When going up against such a tough position group like this it can be nearly impossible to give your quarterback ample time to do his job and get the ball to his playmakers. Look for Hundley to take advantage of the short passing game and do a little, “dinking and dunking,” to get the offense into a rhythm.
Can the front seven pressure Keenum?
Just as the Packers will need to get after Hundley and pressure the young quarterback, the Packers defensive front seven will need to take advantage of a banged up Minnesota offensive line. Minnesota could possibly be missing three of their starting five offensive lineman. An injured O-line was a big enough weakness for the Panthers to take advantage of a few weeks ago, and the Packers coaching staff would be wise to try and follow the same recipe. If they can it could be enough of a weakness for the Packers front seven to exploit and swing the game in their favor.
Can the Packers run game bounce back?
Over the past couple weeks before Rodgers’ return Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones were both running the ball fairly dominantly; with Williams taking the bulk of the carries. Last week however though the run game was much less effective to say the least. Williams had 10 carries for 30 yards and zero scores. Aaron Jones did very well on a per carry basis; averaging over 15 yards per carry. But unfortunately he had only three touches on the day and a total of 47 yards. If the two aren’t able to pick it up a little bit and get back to the production that we had become used to over the past couple weeks it could be a hard afternoon for the Packers offense.
Two Key Matchups
Mike Daniels vs Pat Elflein / Nick Easton
Rookie center Pat Elflein has played very well for the Vikings but is a bit banged up right now. He practiced in a limited fashion this week and it is unclear as of right now if he will play or not. If he doesn’t Nick Easton will likely be lining up at center again this week. No matter who it is that Daniels is up against it will be imperative that he is able to pressure the passer. Mike Daniels might be the only healthy pass rusher on the team. Both starting outside linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews are both injured as are backups Vince Biegel and Ahmad Brooks. With some of the main edge rushers out it will be up to the interior linemen such as Daniels to bring pressure up the middle and get after Keenum.
Damarious Randall vs Adam Theilen
With Kevin King out on injured reserve and with Davon House questionable with his back injury it looks like it’ll be Damarious Randall playing as the Packers number one cornerback once again. Luckily Randall has been playing great lately. He will have another big test this week as Vikings wide receiver Adam Theilen has taken the league by storm. He has been good in all areas of the field, whether catching short passes and taking them for additional yards after the catch or catching deep passes over the middle of the field. Watching Randall and Theilen battle it out will be fun to watch and will also go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
One Bold Prediction
The last time that Brett Hundley played against the Vikings he didn’t exactly shoot the lights out. He didn’t play terribly but he didn’t do enough to win the game. This time I think it’ll be a little bit different. Although Hundley’s favorite target, Davante Adams, won’t be playing Hundley is still going to have a good game. He’ll spread the ball around, not only to both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb but also to his running backs. Look for him to put up similar numbers to his game against the Steelers just a few weeks ago – somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-300 yards passing and three touchdowns. Also look for Hundley to use his athleticism to pick up around 50 yards with his legs. If he can do what I think he can he will lead the Packers to a victory.