Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, as we all know by now, has tied retired Hall Of Fame QB Dan Marino’s touchdown record; that was a given. But what was unexpected this season is the fact that the Packers are undefeated. The Packers hope to extend their league-best seven-game winning streak (including the last 4 games of last season) when they travel to face the Minnesota Vikings in a key divisional matchup this Sunday.
The Packers begins and ends with Favre. His numbers to date (80-for-125, 861 yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions) are impressive for a quarterback who was considered on the downside of his career. Also putting up solid numbers is wide receiver Donald Driver (20 catches, 265 yards, 2 TD’s). Unfortunately, the Packers’ running game (or lack thereof) is in need of improvement. Which explains the importance of Favre to the team not to mention the fact that the Packers overall defense are the main reasons for the team’s 3-0 record. Defensive end Aaron Kampman is having another solid campaign thus far (15 tackles, 10 solo, 1.5 sacks), as is linebacker Nick Barnett (27 tackles, 17 solo, leads the team in INT’s with 2).
The Vikings offense is led by running back Adrian Peterson (64/271/1 TD rushng; 8 receptions for 160 yards and 1 TD); it is not a good thing when you have an offensively-challenged team such as the Vikings having their rookie RB leading the team in rushing and receiving. The San Diego Chargers (when LaDanian Tomlinson was a rookie)could get away with that maybe, but not the Vikings. As of this writing, it is not clear whether QB Tarvaris Jackson will get the start or QB Kelly Holcomb, but that probably will not matter.
The Vikings run defense is far superior to their pass defense (only allowing 67.3 yards/game). Yet the team has a fair number of sacks this season (11), but that could be attributed to facing inferior offensive lines so far this season. Linebacker Chad Greenway is having a solid season (25 tackles, 17 solo), as is safety Darren Sharper (19 tackles, 17 solo, leads the team with 2 INT’s). But it is Favre this week, so the Vikings’ secondary will have their hands full this weekend.
The Vikings, in order to win, will more than likely have to rely on lots of Adrian Peterson, as the pass attack will be a non-entity. And the team’s pass rush will need to get to Favre early and often. The Packers will need to incorporate their pass rush early as well, putting additional pressure on either Jackson or Holcomb, yet at the same time put 8-in-the-box against Peterson in certain situations. This is a game that will be won by the Packers, mainly because of good numbers put up by Favre and the Packers’ linebackers having good success in stalling what little passing the Vikings will offer.