Senior writer jclombardi discusses Packers vs Vikings game.
Commentary: We had an opportunity to discuss the Packers vs Vikings game with Nick at MnVikingsblog.com, “Sitting Down With The Enemy–Green Bay Packers Edition.” I repost our answers to questions:
Nick: This week I am exchanging a 5 questions and answer session with jclombardi. With that said, let’s move on with the questions.
Nick: RB Adrian Peterson is the Vikings biggest threat to spoiling a Packers victory. What needs to happen in order to stop AP from having a monster day this Sunday?
Jclombardi: RB Peterson continues to be one of the best runners in the NFL having both speed and power. He is the NFL’s No. 2 rusher. However, although the Packers run defense has a poor 21st ranking (Football Outsiders), the Packers will focus upon limiting RB Peterson to less than 100 yards with no big plays. The Packers are becoming healthy on defense as DE Pickett and DE Jenkins return to full health. Further, with the addition of DE/DT Green to play along with solid NT Raj and rookie backup DE Wilson, this front seven line is now returning to being a stout run defense as shown in the Jets and Cowboys games.
Nick: Chad Clifton did a great job one on one with Jared Allen the last time the two teams played each other. Jared Allen since has registered 3+ sacks, do you believe the Packers will double team him or give Clifton another opportunity one on one?
Jclombardi: After a shaky slow start, LT Clifton is back to his all-pro veteran self. The Packers will let Clifton handle DE Allen, while they focus on using maximum blocking formations to deal with the Vikings blitz schemes to limit the potent west coast Packers passing offense led by QB Rodgers.
Nick: The Packers run game has arguably been one of their biggest weaknesses this season. Do you see the Packers abandoning the run in order to take advantage of a shaky Vikings secondary?
Jclombardi: The Vikings are the NFL’s premier run defense in the past four years ranking No. 10 now in rushing yards allowed and No. 7 in yards allowed per carry, but they are not great numbers. Teams are successfully running against DE Allen and slowing interior Williams Wall. After losing running back Grant, the Packers are satisfied with their pedestrian running game using RB Jackson and FB Kuhn. The Packers will run the ball when they feel that it helps their drives and game plan. RB Jackson has not gotten beyond 60 rushing yards in the last four games, but he is a big cog in the passing game with 17 catches for 143 yards in the past five games. RB John Kuhn had a big last game with career highs of 13 carries and 50 yards.
Nick: Assuming Sidney Rice plays this weekend what do the Packers have to do to prepare for this play maker? And do you see him as a viable threat coming off his hip surgery.
Jclombardi: If WR Rice plays, he will be rusty. Besides, the Packers have a 1st ranking in pass defense (Football Outsiders). They are led by all-pro defensive cornerbacks Williams and Woodson along with safety Collins to deal with the Vikings wide receivers. WR Harvin is QB Favre’s favorite target, but he has an injured ankle. Depending on the health of Harvin, Berrian and Rice, the Vikings may lean heavily on WRs Lewis and Camarillo who are pedestrian possession receivers. Finally, QB Favre is playing behind a struggling offensive line meaning he is going to have a long, long day against the rebuilt healthy Packers defense. LB Matthews, LB Bishop, and DE Jenkins will have a field day chasing QB Favre.
Nick: Do the last four games including this Sunday have an effect on whether or not Brett Favre officially retires as a Packer? What is your view and the general fan opinion on this matter?
Jclombardi: If the Vikings cannot get motivated against the Bears, how are they going to be motivated against the Packers? Typically, it is just pride, but the writing is on the wall for Favre and Childress for their final Vikings season. Fans are calling this big game against the Vikings to be either Favre’s “last harrah” or “super bowl” final game against the Packers. We agree, but we know that history says he will be forgiven by the fans just like Lombardi and Hudson. After all, the facts are that the Packers will retire his number four as one of the greatest Packers players in NFL history and he is a future NFL Hall of Famer.
Nick: Thanks JC for your great answers and for participating in our first ever ‘Sitting Down With The Enemy’ . While we may have a different opinion on which team will prevail this Sunday we both can probably agree that it will be a fun filled game full of uncertainty.