Good afternoon and welcome to the most wonderful time of the year… NFL playoffs. No league, regardless of level, has a better set up for their championship tournament, one that rewards those who have dominant regular seasons and yet isn’t so exclusive that you don’t get a Cinderella out of it. Tonight at 8, on NBC, we have perhaps the best match up of the first round. The Packers are a proven commodity that many people have as their Super Bowl favorite. The Vikings on the other hand, no one expected to be here. But on the back of Adrian Peterson, he has carried them to the playoffs. Here’s are the key points to watch in tonight’s rivalry match up.
Green Bay’s Greatest Strength:
This is hands down the most lopsided quarterback match up of the first round. Aaron Rodgers might be the best quarterback in the game and his high flying passing attack with a, finally, healthy receiving core is possibly the toughest to stop in all of football. If the Packers win, it will likely be because they got out of the gates hot and forced the Vikings to play catch up.
Green Bay’s Biggest Weakness:
The Packers are streaky at best on the defensive side of the ball, and that has been exploited by the Vikings in both of the previous match ups (Peterson has run for over 400 yards in the two games combined). Luckily, they have a quarterback who can cover their defensive mistakes.
Minnesota’s Greatest Strength:
All Day, Purple Jesus, AP… whatever you want to call him it’s Adrian Peterson. Over 2,000 yards on the ground and he gets big runs in times of desperation. There is not running back like him in the league right now.
Minnesota’s Biggest Weakness:
The Vikings secondary… or lack there of… is a serious issue. With Antoine Winfield out of the game in the second half, Aaron Rodgers was able to exploit the inexperienced back ups in the Vikings secondary. With this unit beat up, it poses a serious threat to the Vikings ability to even slow the Packers offense.
Without a doubt, it is Joe Webb. With Christian Ponder out, he will have to play mistake free and could keep the Packers off balance with his ability to run the ball.
Match Up to Watch:
Mentioned it earlier, but the Vikings’ secondary with a beat up Antoine Winfield and Harrison Smith needs to play a huge game against the far superior Packers’ receiving core. If they play well, expect this game to be far closer than the current spread of -7.5 for the Packers.
Kicker Blair Walsh. If this game is close, this kid is money going 10 for 10 from 50+ yards. He could be the determining factor in a close game.
As much as I want the Vikings to win… the Packers far out match them. Not to mention Christian Ponder has never played a game in weather lower than 40 degrees (it’s going to be 20ish on the frozen tundra). Aaron Rodgers gets off to a hot start and the Packers win 35-31.