The 8-0 Green Bay Packers face the 2-6 Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North face off on Monday Night Football. While the game looks lopsided on the surface, there are some interesting things to look for in tonight’s game.
Aaron Rodgers has played nearly flawless football all season, and is having an MVP regular season to match his MVP performance in last year’s Super Bowl. He is on pace for a league record efficiency rating of 129.1, a league record 5,232 yards from scrimmage, and a near-league record 48 touchdowns this season.
Rodgers and the Packers’ passing offense has been so good, it has masked some deficiencies, including the defense’s ineffectiveness, especially in recent weeks. The Packers have the second worst passing defense in the league, giving up 299.6 yards per game, and they gave up 38 points to the Chargers last week, in a 45-38 victory.
The Packers actually played the Vikings just 3 weeks ago in Minnesota, and rookie QB Christian Ponder rallied the Vikings late to make it close, although the Packers still walked away with the victory 33-27. Adrian Peterson racked up 175 yards rushing and a touchdown against the Packers defense in that game, on 24 carries.
That was Ponder’s first game as a starter. Since then, he looked sharp against the Panthers as he outdueled rookie phenom Cam Newton for a 24-21 victory. The Vikings were on their bye last week, giving Ponder additional time to work with the starters. For Ponder to play two of his first three games against the Packers does seem a little unfair for the rookie, but he is a victim of the schedule.
“I’m sure there will be some wrinkles that he [Ponder] didn’t see the first time,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said last week. “They’ll [Green Bay] look at some tape. And they didn’t have a lot of tape on him going into that ball game [in Week 7]. They’ll have some new wrinkles, but we’ll also have some new wrinkles from an offensive standpoint.”
Rodgers will deliver and Green Bay will score, but Adrian Peterson will deliver as well. The game will come down to how well the Packers pass defense plays, and how much improved Ponder is this week over their first game. The Packers have looked unstoppable at times, but this could be one of those surprise games that a undefeated team looks past.
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