Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/20/11

[Editor's note: In this episode of  "Lawson and Lange", Packers fanatic Amanda Lawson and Vikings sufferer Jrue Lange discuss and predict this week's not-so-epic matchup between NFC North rivals. It's just not the same without what's-his-name...McNabb, I mean McNabb.]

*******

Amanda Lawson:

Drew,

I hope you are excited for Week 7′s game, Packers vs. Vikings, as the rivals duke it out. Of course “duke it out” could be changed to
“Packers trample over”. And I’m not saying that simply because I’m a Packers fan but am saying it because I have watched both teams this season. Any slightly educated football fan is aware that the Packers have the upper hand.

Comparing the numbers, the Packers have had over 100 more yards per game (423.7) on average than the Vikings (310.8). With Aaron Rodgers passing for 325.5 yards per game, the Vikings don’t even come close to matching the passing game. Although now that Donovan McNabb is benched for Sunday’s game, maybe Christian Ponder can step up to the plate. Even if he was to “Wow” us, the odds of him reaching Rodgers’ level is slim to none. Ponder does not have the offensive line needed to make big passing plays like Rodgers can to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Even with injuries that put Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga on the sidelines, the Packers had rookies like Derek Sherrod and Marshall Newhouse to step up and protect Rodgers.

I will give your team credit for the rushing yards. Putting up an average of 142.2 yards per game, the Vikings can turn to Adrian Peterson to help pull them off the ground. I think everyone has to admit that Peterson is a beast. Unfortunately, they need a lot more
than just Peterson to win a ball game against the 6-0 Green Bay Packers.

Drew Lange:

I don’t know how I feel about Ponder starting already. To me, he’s not as ready as guys like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton. I see him struggling like Blaine Gabbert has so far. Personally I would rather see Joe Webb start. I’m just waiting for Ponder to go out and throw for 39 yards like McNabb did in Week One. How insane would that be?

At the beginning of the season, I would have said that a team like the Vikings were perfect for stopping Green Bay: Control the clock with the running game and intermediate passes, score touchdowns in the red zone, and to borrow a basketball term, make the Packers play a half-court offense. Slow things down, let the running game control the tempo of the game.

Unfortunately, the Vikings suck and probably won’t be able to do that. The offensive line is injured, which at least gives them a bit of an excuse to their lousy play this year. Ponder had to bail out of his drop step twice last week! He literally could not take five steps backwards without having two guys in his face.

The only bright spots for the Vikings this year have been Adrian Peterson, as you mentioned, and Jared Allen, who has 9.5 sacks already through six games. Those offensive line injuries you weren’t worried about? Maybe you should be. Chicago was able to slow the Vikings defensive line, but that’s because they employed six or more blockers on almost 70% of their plays. Does Green Bay even have a two tight end set?

I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say Minnesota will have the lead at some point during the third quarter on Sunday afternoon. How about that?

Amanda:

I think Ponder can manage more than 39 yards on Sunday. But if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised. Not necessarily because of his lack of experience and talent, but because the Packers defense is getting more “spring in their step”. Clay Matthews was on fire on Sunday against the Rams. While his one sack during the game is only the second of the season, Matthews also managed to break up 3 passes, with one almost ending in an interception. The Packers defense was able to hold the Rams to a single field goal.

Knowing that our defense is improving with each game makes me certainly question how your injury plagued o-line will keep them from touching Ponder. To say the Vikings will have the lead at some point in the third quarter, definitely puts you on weak branch to make such a claim!

I’m not going to lie, 9.5 sacks is quite impressive and I congratulate Mr. Allen on the accomplishment. However, even with the weak Bears offensive line, the Vikings were only able to sack Jay Cutler once. Slow? I think they were able to effectively hold the defense. The score was 39-10, Bears on top. The Packers might not have the depth the Bears did to block the Vikings defense, which could lead to an interesting start.

However, the Packers have a knack for starting off slow and then adjusting after the first and sometimes second quarter. The Vikings might have Jared Allen, but do you think they have enough to stop big plays that would allow them to take the lead from the Green and Gold?

If the Vikings are going to take the lead during this game, it will be in the first quarter. However, the Packers will put on their game face and get the job done. No doubts.

Drew:

I played better than the Vikings did in that Chicago game, and I was drunk and watching The Walking Dead. I watched the first two drives then changed the channel. We even had two TVs up that night and elected to watch the Brewers over football. I also went on a mini twitter rant that may or may not have involved the E-Trade baby.

Seven guys blocking four should never give up a sack. The fact that they got one is impressive. That sack by the way resulted in a fumble. So let’s say Minnesota gets the ball first, scores a touchdown, then Jared Allen is able to get around your backup LT and strip sack Rodgers which leads to another score, boom, that could be a two possession lead right of the bat. Don’t think it’s possible?

That’s exactly how the beginning of the Vikings-Cardinals game went. Now of course, I’m not saying that the Cardinals are the same team as the Packers, because the Cardinals are just not a good team. But Green Bay runs a spread style offense which doesn’t leave a lot of room for max protection sets. Minnesota’s line has had their way in one-on-one battles early on in games this year. Even if the Vikings have a 14-10 lead at halftime, that still counts as a lead going into the third quarter! I would be right. I would offer some sort of bet, but I’m not a big betting man.

At least not with this year’s team.

As for the Packers defense, I’m not impressed. Yes, Clay Matthews is a stud, we all know that. BJ Raji is pretty solid as well. The rest of the team? Come on. AJ Hawk is overrated and is scared of Adrian Peterson. The secondary isn’t that great. They only gave up three points against the Rams. Big deal. Name someone on the Rams offense other than Bradford and Jackson. Not even I can do that. Plus, their line is worse than Minnesota’s or Chicago’s.

Amanda:

I wasn’t going to say it but now that you brought up the sad game the Vikings played, what makes you think they can play a better game against the Packers than they did against the Bears? I mean there’s a good chance you could be wishing to rewind to one of the 2011 Minnesota Twins games. As a fellow Twins fan, I know how painful that was.

I would suggest not betting on the Vikings being up. As much as I hate this picture, it is very possible that Allen could make his way to Rodgers, and even cause him to fumble. The Vikings being able to do anything with a recovered fumble is a whole other story. It’s not like we need the best players known to football in order to stop your offense. Yes, Peterson is a threat and shutting him down is key to stopping the Vikings offense. However, one talent will not be able to own the game. Football is a team sport.

The Vikings are far from the team the Packers are now.

Drew:

Vikings-Packers games are different than every other game. That’s just fact. I have no problem believing that the Vikings will be up for the game, especially with the game being in Minnesota. If Ponder can get protection, be a serviceable quarterback and stay away from Charles Woodson, the Vikings have a chance.

Here we go. Vikings will lead the Packers at some point in the third quarter, but Rodgers will inevitably take over. There is no way Minnesota can score with the Packers.

My prediction: Vikings lead at halftime 17-16, Packers win 38-23.

Amanda:

And mine. Packers lead at halftime 14-10, Packers win 28-13.

**********

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
  • Packers-Vikings Date, Time, and TV: Sunday, October 23rd at 4:15 ET on FOX
  • Packers-Vikings Announcers: Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman
  • Packers-Vikings Point Spread: Packers -9
  • Packers-Vikings Over-Under Odds: 47
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