Sunday, November 25, 2018

2018 NFL Week 12: Packers vs. Vikings Preview & Prediction

Guess what, Packer fans? We were actually spot on in our score prediction for last week's game at Seattle: 27-24. Only problem was we had the Pack with 27 and Seahawks with 24. As we sadly know, it was the other way around, with the Packers garnering their fifth road loss of the season. Yup, Green Bay hasn't won a road game yet this season.

The Packers will need an MVP effort from QB Aaron Rodgers tonight at Minnesota.
(Photo: Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis.)
So where do we find our beloved Green Bay Packers tonight? On the road. At Minnesota. Where they are 0-2 in the new stadium of whatever name.

The ViQueens are 5-4-1, the Packers 4-5-1. That one tie for both teams, as we know, was in the first match up. Pretty much representative of the parity, unfortunate as that may be at this point in the season, between these two NFC North rivals. Both of which, as we also recall, were supposed to be competing for the Division championship. So much for that idea; Da Bearz look well positioned to lock that up fairly soon...which will make my good friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan, most happy indeed. (The horror...the horror....)

As for Minnesota, it has become obvious as the season has gone on that QB Kirk Cousins is obviously overpaid, and the Packers defense can hopefully make him look that way again tonight, albeit as wounded as they are. RB Dalvin Cook hasn't broken out quite as much as they'd hoped, either. Defensively, Minnesota isn't all it was cracked up to be this season.

The story of the Packers this season, especially in their road losses, has been one of "close but no cigar". Late errors, penalties, bad play-calling and clock management...pretty much you name it and it has been just enough to keep the Pack from coming away with a win in those tight games they've been playing and losing.

Bottom line is that we have seen the Packers have no room for error. A near-perfect game is needed not only from QB Aaron Rodgers who, thankfully, seems to be getting healthier, but from the rest of the team, as well. But WR Randall Cobb is questionable, as is TE Jimmy Graham, continuing the potential limitation of Rodgers' receiving options (and, no, preseason receiving fave, Jake Kumerow, was not activated for this game, as some may have wished). Still, if RB Aaron Jones can be schemed and targeted as a receiver coming out of the backfield, we saw his potential in that area of the game on display against Seattle. Regrettably, as we have seen for most of this season, head coach Mike McCarthy has been reluctant to fully utilize the talent of this young running back. Tonight would be a very good time to change that approach.

The Packers are banged up on defense. DT Mike Daniels is likely done for the year and the team placed LB Nick Perry on injured reserve, ending his season and, perhaps, his career in Green Bay, as well. Defensive backs Bashaud Breeland, Kevin King, Kentrell Brice, and Raven Greene are questionable for tonight. But if LB Kyler Fackrell can keep up his sack-meister ways, along with inside pressure from Kenny Clark and others, problems in the secondary may not be quite as pronounced. Maybe.

The Prediction

We've been giving the Packers the benefit of our Green 'n' Gold-colored view for the road games this season, only to be disappointed. They've been close...but that counts for nothing. There is probably no game in this woefully mediocre season that counts for something bigger than this game tonight. Yes, every game is big. But when you are 4-5-1 and have six games left...and you probably need to go at least 5-1 over the course of those games to maybe have a shot at the playoffs...this game would be a good game to finally -- FINALLY! -- grab a road win. If they don't do it tonight, Packer fans, while the fat lady may not have sung, she's certainly warming up. They need this game.

Minnesota is favored by 3.

We're calling it Packers 24 - ViQueens 23.

Go Pack Go!!!