Divisional games are normally unpredictable because of the familiarity between of the squads. Within a division, no matter how good one team is and how bad another maybe, the contests are often close, and could go either way. Well, this is the playoffs and the Green Bay Packers will face off against the Minnesota Vikings for the third time during this 2012 campaign.
This matchup marks the seventh time in NFL history (in a six-week span) that two competitors had met each other three times in a season. The last two similar encounters occurred in the same year (2000) when the New Orleans Saints faced the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins battled the Indianapolis Colts. For those outcomes, the team that won the first meeting was triumphant in the third go-around.
If that’s a sign, the Packers should win as they defeated the Vikings in Week 13, 23-14.
However, this matchup is not about a coincidence of the past. The Packers has battled all season through injuries, and they continue to as their lost defensive tackle Jerel Worthy for the season to a knee injury. Nevertheless, the Packers always manage to stay afloat.
In addition, playing at Lambeau Field as a visitor during the playoffs is a far cry from battling the cheese-heads there in the regular season, thanks to their lovely weather .
How The Packers Will Win
For the first time since September, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have all his toys back, and they could not have returned at a better time. Early short passes to wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver will help them to get into a rhythm with Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and tight end Jermichael Finley are always poise for big plays, and with the veterans back in the lineup, wide receiver Randall Cobb will become more dangerous.
The Packers’ offensive line is not the greatest, as they give up sacks. However, with Rodgers’ weapons in place, he will get the ball out quickly. The Packers will consistently present mismatches for the Vikings’ defense, which will force Minnesota to play man-to-man.
Running lanes for running backs Alex Green and Ryan Grant will here there in times of need as the Packers will attempt to keep the Vikings’ defense spread out.
Entering this year’s playoffs, Rodgers has the highest passer rating in NFL postseason history at 105.5. For the second year in a row, he finished the season with the league’s highest passer rating at 108.0.
Why The Vikings Will Lose
In Saturday’s affair, it will not be about the Packers’ defense against Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson, although it will be something to watch for as “A.F.D” (All Freakin’ Day) dump-trucked them during the regular season for a total of 409 yards. This time around, the matchup between Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder and Packers’ safety Charles Woodson will be the factor.
Woodson returned to practice this week after being out since mid-October due to a broken collarbone. Woodson brings an added dimension to the Packers’ defense as he can play up on the line and play in coverage. Woodson will force Ponder into a chess match, and as the former Michigan Wolverine baits Ponder into throwing untimely passes, the turnovers will come.
The Vikings will attempt to control the game on the ground, but Ponder must throw the ball and that’s where Woodson will be waiting.
The postseason is the stage where the Packers perform at their best as their live for this moment.
“It’s playoff football,” said Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy. “The door is open for the playoffs to begin. We’re one of six NFC teams with the opportunity to go to New Orleans. That’s what we’re focused on. This is the time of year we live for and work for. Our players know what this is all about. It’s the playoffs.”