Scouting the Opponent: Green Bay Packers (Week 2)

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are off to a hot start with an impressive week 1 road win against the division-rival Chicago Bears. The NFL regular-season opener came down to who played better defense and in the end, Rodgers and the Packers offense made more plays then Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears did.

The Vikings on the other-hand steam-rolled the Atlanta Falcons 28-12 in their home opener where the entire team (special teams included) seemed to be firing on all cylinders. The Packers have not beat the Vikings in Lambeau Field since 2016. So what is it going to take to ensure that this trend continues this week?

Three Keys to Victory

  1. Frustrate Aaron Rodgers: Pretty obvious right? This is a common denominator in every Vikings/Packers matchup. As good as Aaron Rodgers is, he still gets incredibly frustrated when he is spending a majority of a game on his back. The Bears did a good job of frustrating Rodgers in week 1 by putting him on his back 5 times. Unfortunately, a break in coverage on two plays led to a touchdown toss from Rodgers to Jimmy Graham which was enough to walk away from Soldier Field with a victory in this one. The Packers have home-field advantage and crowd noise on there side. Zimmer’s defense will have to show up big in this one.
  2. Xavier Rhodes: Xavier Rhodes took a step back last season after playing at an elite level in 2017. Rhodes came to play last week where he held one of the games top receivers (Julio Jones) to just 15 yards on 2 receptions when matched up against one another. Things don’t get any easier this week as Rhodes will face another playmaker that he’s very familiar with in Davante Adams, which is Rodgers’ top target. Last season Adams had 13 receptions for 133 yards, and 2 touchdowns in two games against the Vikings. Randall Cobb is no longer on the team and Rodgers’ targets aren’t as dangerous as they’ve been in the past, in my opinion. Take Adams away and the playmakers are limited.
  3. Take Care of the Football: The Vikings had 4 fumbles in week 1 against the Falcons and they were fortunate enough to get all 4 of those fumbles back. If that trend continues again they likely won’t be quite as lucky this time around. Turnovers are always crucial in football games…but this is especially true in divisional matchups. One crucial turnover can decide a game and against a team like the Packers who have a future Hall of Fame quarterback under center, you want to keep him off the field as much as possible.
Shamar Stephen rushes Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers Offensive & Defensive Rankings

*Stats are based off of Green Bay’s Week 1 matchup against the Bears in Chicago.

  • Total Offense: 31st (213 YPG)
  • Passing: 28th (166 YPG)
  • Rushing: 27th (47 YPG)
  • Offensive Line: LAST (5 Sacks & 7 QB Hits Allowed)
  • Total Defense: 5th (254 YPG)
  • Pass Defense: 10th (208 YPG)
  • Rush Defense: 5th (46 YPG)
  • Pass Rush Efficiency: 4th

Green Bay Packers Offense

Green Bay Packers Defense

Scouting the Opponent with Bruce from “Packers for the Win”

  1. What does this Packers team do well this season that they maybe didn’t do so well in last season? ” It’s only been one week, but the Packers look a lot better at rushing the passer. It’s the second year of Mike Pettine’s system – which allows them to show additional looks – and they have new talent brought in via the draft and free agency. The sack numbers may not be much different, but the pressure is there. Last week, the Packers credited Za’Darius Smith with 10 pressures last year. He’s replacing Nick Perry, who had 13 total pressures in the 9 games he played in last season. That’s the big difference so far.”
  2. Which matchup are you most looking forward to watching in this game? ” Right in the middle of the trenches. I thought Garrett Bradbury was a good pick for the Vikings to shore up the offensive line. Some of the reps in his first pro game weren’t stellar. Maybe it was just rookie jitters, but he’s gonna have his hands full on Sunday with Kenny Clark. I don’t think a lot of people outside Green Bay realize how strong and athletic Clark really is. His impact goes way beyond stats, he’s a physical beast that can single-handedly ruin plays from the nose tackle position. The Packers defense is a lot more effective when Clark is blowing up the middle.”
  3. Based off of a very successful game on the ground for Dalvin Cook in Week 1, who do you think will be the primary focus for the Packers defense this week…Dalvin Cook or Diggs/Thielen? ” The Packers revamped defense is about gap-filling up front with long bodies and covering on the back end with lots of speed. I think the Packers will trust Jaire Alexander and a healthy Kevin King to match up with Diggs and Thielen so they can focus more manpower on stopping the run. With 6’6 Preston Smith and 6’4 Za’Darius Smith lining up on the sides, the Packers can set a hard edge in the run game. Blake Martinez is solid in run support and he’ll have help from Raven Greene (who has been starting at hybrid linebacker in place of injured Oren Burks) and late-comer BJ Goodson (who could see his first action on defense after being acquired September 3rd for a song from the Giants). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Adrian Amos play up if the Vikings run game gets rolling like it did against Atlanta, leaving instinctive, speedy rookie Darnell Savage in single safety looks.”
  4. What’s the key for the Packers to win this game? ” As odd as this sounds, the key to the Packers winning may be the offense catching up to the defense. The Packers have invested a lot of draft and free agency capital on defense and that side of the ball has been improving ever since Pettine took over. On offense, things have been headed the opposite direction. Rodgers had a rough time with a significant knee injury last year that messed with his mechanics and he doesn’t look like he’s regained his form yet. New GM Brian Gutekunst let veterans like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb go the last couple years, meaning Rodgers is missing the chemistry he usually has with his receiving core. Those factors, combined with implementing a brand new offense, have led to some inconsistency. The fact that the starting QB didn’t even put on his jock strap in the preseason didn’t make things any smoother, either. The Packers offense is not running like it used to. I say the key to a Packers win is for Rodgers to play uptempo, snap the ball with time on the play clock, and hit the quick reads to get the offense moving. Without that, they’ll need to hope the defense can hold the opposition to 3 points again.”
  5. Give me one prediction for each team in this game and the final score.
  • Packers Prediction: “I think the offense will spread the ball around. With a lot of cornerbacks showing up on the Vikings injury report, I could see guys like Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and maybe even Jake Kumerow getting a lot of balls.”
  • Vikings Prediction: “I predict exotic inside blitz packages. The memes about how long Rodgers holds the ball are all true. He’s waiting for big plays to develop and you don’t have to watch a lot of film to see that Lane Taylor and Billy Turner weren’t off to a great start as the new guard tandem. If the Vikings can get pressure with four man stunt combos, it could keep the Packers offense in neutral the same way the Bears did.”
  • Game Prediction: “Packers-17 Vikings-13”

*You can follow Bruce and his content on Twitter at —> @PackersForTheWn

Sep 16, 2018; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throw a pass under pressure from Minnesota Vikings safety George Iloka (23) during the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes

  • Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 12-8-1 in his career against the Vikings, throwing for 257 yards per game, 45 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and a 112.2 QB Rating.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 66-16-1 in his career at Lambeau Field and 7-2-1 against the Vikings.
  • Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is 2-1-1 in his career against the Packers, throwing for 367 yards per game, 11 touchdowns, 1 interception, and a 121.4 QB Rating.
  • Green Bay’s last win against the Vikings came on Christmas Eve of 2016. (38-25)
  • The Packers lead the Vikings in the all-time series 60-54-3 and they are 32-25-3 at home in Lambeau.
  • Aaron Rodgers needs 4 touchdown passes to surpass Vikings great, Fran Tarkenton for 9th on the NFL’s all-time passing touchdowns list.
  • Dalvin Cook needs 44 rushing yards to pass Onterrio Smith (29th) on the Vikings all-time rushing list.
  • Adam Thielen needs 3 receptions to eclipse 300 receptions for his career.
  • Adam Thielen needs 60 receiving yards to eclipse 4,000 yards for his career.
  • Adam Thielen needs 1 touchdown to pass Percy Harvin for 12th on the Vikings all-time receiving touchdowns list.
  • Stefon Diggs needs 1 touchdown to pass Hassan Jones and Visanthe Shiancoe for 10th on the Vikings all-time receiving touchdowns list.
  • Danielle Hunter needs 1 sack to pass Lance Johnstone for 12th on the Vikings all-time sacks list.
  • Anthony Barr needs 7 tackles to pass Orlando Thomas on the Vikings all-time tackles list.

*For all the latest Vikings news and updates follow me on Twitter at @Purple_Post. #SKOL