It’s finally here ! The Big One ! Or at least the biggest one so far this season. Here is a statistical breakdown of tonight’s already over-hyped and over analyzed match-up between NFC North rivals.
Key Match-ups –
Adrian Peterson vs. the Packers Defensive line – The Vikings’ running back leads the league in rushing with 357 yards on 59 attempts (6.1-yard average) and has scored four touchdowns. Peterson will be the third top-five rusher Green Bay’s new 3-4 defense will try to shut down in as many weeks. They didn’t exactly corral the Bengals’ Cedric Benson (141 yards on 29 carries in Week 2) or the Rams’ Steven Jackson (117 yards on 27 attempts in Week 3).
The Packers are allowing opponents 128.7 yards a game on the ground. If the Vikings are going to win this game, they must get Peterson untracked early and often. The Vikings would dearly love to control the time of possession stat. by controlling the line of scrimmage.
So far this season, the Vikes have controlled the ball 31.42 minutes per game, while Green Bay has had the ball just 27.49 minutes.
Brett Favre vs. the Packers Corners – This is a scary situation for the Purple and Gold as the Packers have not one but two shut down corners in Al Harris and Charles Woodson. So far, the Packers have intercepted 7 passes and the Viking receivers will have their hands full getting open. This is where Brett Favre needs to step up and have one of his “Big Games”. If he can continue to manage the offence without giving in to the temptation of forcing the ball in against this excellent Packer secondary then the Viking have a good chance. The Key here could be Percy Harvin. Look for the Vikings to try to get him the ball on some quick slants and screens. Also look for Chester Taylor to play a big part in the offense.
The Vikings offensive line has done a much better job in protection lately, and the Packers have only 5 sacks this season, so if Favre has time, he can pick apart any defense. The Pack has allowed 39.5 % conversion on 3rd downs. However , they have also caused 9 turnovers, so if the Vikings are careless, this could be a long night.
Green Bay offensive line vs. Vikings Defensive line- Statistically this looks like a good match-up for the home team. The Packer offensive line is banged up a little bit, so that’s been putting a lot more pressure on Rodgers to move around and make plays with his feet,” Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. “We’re going to have to be careful when he does that to try and keep him in the pocket, because he makes a lot of plays buying time for his guys. “And we know about the two great receivers he has — (Greg) Jennings and (Donald) Driver. Despite Rodgers’ success (a 97.2 passer rating, four TD passes and no interceptions), opponents have sacked him a league-high 12 times in three games. Now, he faces arguably the best defensive line in the league.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is a premier pass rusher, and the Williams Wall (tackles Pat and Kevin Williams) is a force inside. Green Bay’s offensive line has not held up well in pass protection, giving up a league high 12 sacks already, a problem exacerbated by injuries.
When left tackle Chad Clifton (sprained ankle) missed last week’s game against St. Louis, left guard Daryn Colledge moved to his spot, center Jason Spitz slid over to left guard and Scott Wells stepped in at center. If Clifton can’t play tonight, look for the Packers to give Colledge help on the left edge.
Linebacker Chad Greenway needs to continue his strong play by containing Rogers while maintaining his lanes and coverage assignments.
The Vikings have allowed just 22.2 % conversions on third down. If they can manage to be anywhere near this number, the Vikings should win the game.
Other trends –
Green Bay has turned the ball over only once this season. ONCE ! If the Vikings can win the TO ratio in this game, then there is no way Green Bay should win, as I see this as on of their biggest advantages.
The Vikings are giving up 92 yards per game on the ground, and have a turnover of 3 to 1.
Brett Favre is completing 64.6% of his passes compared to 56.7 % for Aaron Rogers.
Scoring Trends – The Packers have been starting and finishing strong. Outscoring their opponents 23 – 7 in the first quarter, And 27-6 in the forth.
Vikings – Have outscored opponents 10 – 6 in the first and 27 – 17 in the forth. So a quick start could bode well for the Vikes.
The Vikings worst quarter has been the 2nd getting outscored 31 – 20 while their best quarter has been the 3rd outscoring their opponents by a whopping 31 – 3.
Coincidently, the Packers worst quarter is the third, being outscored 20-0. So, if the Vikings lead at halftime, fans should be pleased.
Prediction: VIKINGS – 23 PACKERS – 19.