Sunday, October 23, 2011

Packers vs. Vikings Preview

With less than an hour to kickoff, we're finally getting our preview of the Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game posted. Better late than never.

The Pack is favored by 9-1/2 in the re-inflated Humpty Dump in Minneapolis. Remember the days when that dome was the proverbial House of Horrors for the Packers? Not today, folks. Today, there will likely be as many Packer fans in attendance as home team fans. When the 'Queens are 1-5 and playing the 6-0 Packers, Minnesota fans bail. Can't blame them, really. After all, if the team doesn't get a new stadium deal approved it could be moving to Los Angeles just as did that old basketball team of the North Star've heard of a team called the Lakers, right? But that's a whole other conversation. Back to the game at hand...

Now, don't expect the 'Queens to roll over. They have talented players, let's not forget, including RB Adrian Peterson and DE Jared Allen. But beyond that...? The decision was made this last week to bench starting veteran QB Donovan McNabb -- who seems to have nothing left -- in favor of first round draft pick Christian Ponder. The Pack's defense could have a big day should the 'Queens decide or need to pass a lot. On the other hand, one would expect the Minnesota coaching staff to be smart enough to have Ponder hand off about 30 times today to Peterson if they want to have any shot at upsetting the Packers. If the Packers contain Peterson, it's game, set, match Packers.

On the flip side, the ViQueens secondary is terrible. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and the receivers should have a huge day, assuming tackles Marshall Newhouse and Bryan Bulaga can keep Allen from harassing Rodgers. It would also be helpful in this regard if running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks can keep the 'Queens defense honest.

Inactive players today for the Packers are: Sam Shields, Robert Francois, Frank Zombo, Jamari Lattimore, Mike Neal, Chad Clifton and Ray Dominguez. Rookie DB Davon House is active today and should see playing time, although Jarrett Bush will be the nickel back.

While Minnesota has raced out to big leads in many of their games this season, they have collapsed in the second half. The Packers, with the exception of last week's game against the Rams, have generally gotten stronger as the game has gone on. Let's not forget, too, that the Packers' defense hasn't given up a touchdown in the last six quarters of play. What does this mean for today's game? I think the first half will likely be played relatively close, while the Pack turns it up in the second half.

My prediction: Packers 41 - ViQueens 20.

Go Pack Go!!!