“Skoldy Cheese”

Intriguing Game- Week 12

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Packers: They have been the most inconsistent team in the National Football League this year hands down and we all thought they’d be in the playoff picture at this point even with a healthy quarterback on the field, but if this were January, they’d be doing like we would when the playoffs start and that’s watching it from the couch. The crazy thing is, I won’t say they’re finished because one, it’s too early to be saying that especially with one more full month of football remaining and with number 12 on your team, you always have a chance. Aaron Rodgers’ knee injury in week one seems like a distant memory now and if you’ve watched him play since week eight to now, he’s looking like the guy we all know he is and when he’s at full strength, he’s at the top of his game. When I watch him now at this point, he’s trusting his knee more and the mobility is still there where he’s able to move within the pocket and of course, scramble out and make those throws on the run that seems impossible. The Green Bay Packers have improved in two areas of the game and that’s running the football and their defense has also played a lot better under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and I’ve seen more urgency on that side of the football. As far as running the ball, this has taken some pressure off the passing game especially when you have a back that you can feed the ball too at least 15 times per game. From here on out, each game for them is a must-win and on Sunday night, they’ll battle a Vikings team who is also coming off a loss in week 11.

Vikings: They were beginning to click and get into a rhythm it looked after their loss to the New Orleans Saints a few weeks ago. If you watched that game on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, they didn’t even decide to show up and Kirk Cousins was caught on video saying that the league didn’t flex this game for the Bears, they flexed it for us meaning the Vikings, here’s a piece of advice Kirk: Don’t talk, just play. The Vikings offense is truly at its best when they are able to establish their ground game and run the football and they were held to 22 yards rushing and averaged only 1.6 yards per carry but when you’re facing a defense that’s as great as the Bears, that’s expected to happen. The Vikings also had trouble holding onto the ball in that game and Cousins threw two interceptions. I can definitely say they made things interesting, but in the end, it was too late. This was the second best team in the NFC last season behind the Eagles and remember they were a game away from the Super Bowl in their own stadium. They’ve shown spurts this year of being that team again this year, but the consistency hasn’t followed and that’s what hurts them. This football team is way too talented to be struggling and I can see them going on a run because they have the running game to control the clock and win the time of possession battle, the offensive line is good, they have one of the three best receiving tandems in the league and they also have a defense that can punish you and with Zimmer’s background as a defensive coordinator, he can dial up a lot of different looks that includes secondary blitzes, the linebackers play sideline to sideline in both coverages and the defensive line can dominate up front. Their tough stretch of games continues on Sunday night against a division rival.

Packers Player To Watch: Aaron Jones– They’ve finally found their running back! He’s been such a great piece to this Packers offense and this offense is even scarier when they have some balance. I look for him to get more of his touches early and often to keep the Vikings defense off rhythm.

Vikings Player To Watch: Andrew Sendejo– I really like the way this guy plays the game. He always wants to make a play upon the football and he seems to be in the right spot at the right time. He can cover a lot of ground, he makes tackles and when you look at a lot of defenses, there’s always a guy who’s the tone-setter of the entire unit and that’s Andrew.

Final Analysis: There’s a lot on the line here in this one on Sunday night. The winner will have a better path at trying to make the playoffs and the loser will be in a bigger hole with December approaching. The first time these teams met, we didn’t get a winner because it ended in a tie game. Ten weeks later, these rivals meet again. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the Packers can’t start fast because they did that in Seattle and had that crowd quiet. It’s finishing that’s been their issue and their defense seems to run out of gas. The Packers need to play this improved defense for 60 minutes straight. These are the games where Kirk needs to show up, you aren’t getting all that guaranteed money for absolutely nothing. Take better care of the football, the defense needs to limit Adams and the mobility of Rodgers.

Prediction: Vikings 27 Packers 24