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BREAKDOWN: WEEK 17 – VIKINGS @ PACKERS

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This is called “Breakdown”. It’s a weekly column where I take a look at who the Packers are playing and dive into each teams strengths and weaknesses and compare the two. Quite honestly, I don’t know where to start and I have no idea what to think about this Sunday night’s contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. It’s not only for the NFC North division title, but it’s also for a home playoff game. So, just to make sure we all understand, we have a week 17 game for the division, for the right to host a playoff game next week and it’s in Green Bay…..at Lambeau Field against the Vikings. Got all that? Good, let’s talk Packer football.

Green Bay Offense vs. Minnesota Defense

I’m not even going to pretend to figure out the Green Bay offense. I have no idea who is going to play, either. The offensive line is a MASH Unit and one of the biggest playmakers on offense this year, running back James Starks, can’t hold on to the football and could quite possibly be benched. The bottom line is that the Packers aren’t very consistent (some would even say good) on offense, but they have playmakers and they have a two-time MVP at quarterback. They do have 10 wins and I’ll take my chances with Aaron Rodgers any given Sunday. If Mike McCarthy decides to rely on the run this week and the Packers can run the ball with Eddie Lacy, they may be able to open up some passing lanes and actually put up some points. But, like I said, there hasn’t been much consistency to this offense and I have no idea what to expect. I would suggest handing the ball to Eddie Lacy early and often and let him go to work.

The Vikings defense has gotten healthy over the last two weeks and this didn’t bode well for the Packers. Safety Harrison Smith returned last week versus the Giants in a big way and has always played well against Green Bay. Minnesota is very good up front and has some young, fast, instinctive linebackers in Greenway and Barr. The secondary likes to play a lot of press-man coverage (this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone as it is all Green Bay sees anymore), but they did struggle in their matchup against the Green Bay receivers earlier in the year.

Green Bay Defense vs. Minnesota Offense

The Vikings offense runs through Adrian Peterson. End of story. I know they have an up and coming quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who at times can make big-time plays with his arm and his legs, but he has never played in a game of this magnitude. If I’m Dom Capers, I make Bridgewater beat me. The Packers defense held up against Peterson and the Vikings offense in Minnesota over a month ago, holding Peterson to under fifty yards rushing (45 yards). Bridgewater did have a pretty good day statistically speaking, but other than a long touchdown pass to Tight End Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings couldn’t find the end zone but twice.

Green Bay’s All-Pro Inside Linebacker, Clay Matthews, has been relatively quiet the last two weeks in the stat column, but he remains a focal point for a lot of opposing offenses. He remains disruptive as a pass rusher and has filled a huge void in the middle of the defense against the run. With veteran defensive lineman BJ Raji (concussion) likely out Sunday, Matthews will be counted on in the middle to stop the run. Green Bay’s secondary also gets a boost with Sam Shields returning to practice this week. The rookie duo of Randall and Rollins has played well, but it will be a welcome sight to see Shields back in the lineup.

Prediction

This has been a regular season to remember, for sure. The Packers have faced adversity all year and yet they still clinched a playoff spot, they still remain the class of the division and they also have a chance to clinch their fifth straight division championship on Sunday. You really can’t ask for anymore than that. It’s going to be cold and it’s going to be loud. I can’t wait for Sunday night.

Packers 17 Vikings 13

GO PACK GO!!

Thank you for reading. Josh Gentry is a featured writer at Titletown Sound Off. You can follow him on Twitter @JGent41. For even more Packers content, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

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