The Packers got their second win of the 2019 season as they took down the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener of the season.
A lot of my focus on the defense going in to this game. I was really paying close attention to see if they could replicate the success that they had in week 1 against the Bears. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The Packers defense had a strong showing from start to finish. Offensively, I’m still a little concerned, but for the most part I believe that things are trending upwards. There is still work to be done on both sides, but with a little fine tuning I think we could see a decent team in year one of the Matt LaFleur era.
Here’s how I had the team grading out in week 2 against the Vikings:
The offense had a strong first quarter. In the first quarter alone, I had the offense graded out at an 86. I loved the tempo that we saw early on in the game, as the offense was able to capitalize off of a takeaway. Points off of takeaways are crucial. When the defense comes up big, you want to be able to see the offense turn that in to points.
The running game was definitely there all game for the Packers. Aaron Jones got a bulk of the carries and Jamaal Williams got in to the mix as well. I think LaFleur’s zone scheme is starting to come along. Jones looked much more comfortable in the outside zone this week as he was able to hit the cutback for some big gaining plays. LaFleur also was dedicated to running the toss throughout the game. Vitale had some nice lead blocks when getting out in space.
The pass game was hit and miss. There was times was able to step up and deliver some quick throws off of 3 and 5 step concepts. Other times, though, we would see him holding on to the ball trying to find a receiver. At this point, I’m still not sure if it’s the receivers unable to get open or Rodgers wanting to hold the ball longer, trying to find something downfield. I’ll be able to dissect the passing game much easier once the all-22 film is released.
The Packers defense had another strong showing in week 2. I was impressed, yet again, with the performance by the edge players. Both Preston and Za’Darius Smith were able to string out running plays, creating nice lanes for the inside linebackers and defensive backs to come through clean and make stops. The defense was able to shut down the run game as a whole, as it seemed like they were swarming to the ball for all 4 quarters. Blake Martinez had a solid game against the run, as he was able to scrape sideline to sideline and stuff the run. The Vikings caught the Packers sleeping occasionally, especially on that touchdown run.
The defensive backs had a decent game from start to finish. There were several chances for takeaways, but the main thing that I like to see right now is that they are in position to make plays. Kevin King ultimately sealed the game with his interception in the end zone. Out of all the positions on the team, I think this one is the most exciting. There is so much potential with the defensive backs. I know we’re only two weeks in, but I think that they could be one of the best units in the league.
My favorite stat of the day though was the takeaways. The Packers ended the day with 4. Mike Pettine really wanted to stress winning the takeaway battle this year, and I’d say he’s off to a good start.
Special Teams: 58
While the punt team was the strong point of the day for special teams, the punt return team was not. Trevor Davis looked like he struggled all day. He took a good hit on one return while falling down on another. Its important that the Packers find a player who can make a big difference when it comes to returns. A strong punt return can set the offense up with a short drive and ultimately lead to more points.
JK Scott had another great day punting the ball. Scott’s longest punt of the day was for 59 yards. He had one punt inside the 20 and 1 touchback. I was a little skeptical how he would do in 2019 at the start of the season, but I quickly found out that he can be a great asset to the Packers special teams. The gunners also had a good day, as they were able to break down on the ball and close in quickly.
The Packers will be back at Lambeau Sunday as they prepare to take on the Denver Broncos.
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