MATCHUPS TO WATCH: PACKERS OFFENSE VS. VIKINGS DEFENSE
Minnesota ranks second in the league in run defense with 69.6 yards allowed per game, but the Packers rushed 27 times for 139 yards in the opener. Get close to replicating that, and the Packers can open up the offensive playbook while silencing the raucous Metrodome crowd.
WR Greg Jennings vs. CB Cedric Griffin: Most teams have opted to throw away from Antoine Winfield and Darren Sharper and found decent success getting quick-hitting passes against Griffin. That changed last week, when Griffin was physical with Houston's Andre Johnson and limited him to four catches – Johnson had come into the game with three consecutive games of 10-plus catches and 130 yards. Johnson said afterward that the Vikings were physical with him, which is a bit surprising considering that they usually don't press receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Jennings has caught touchdown passes in 12 of his last 13 games. Last year, Jennings had six touchdowns of 40-plus yards, and in the first meeting this year against the Vikings he made a leaping 56-yard catch over nickelback Charles Gordon for a touchdown to lead the team with 91 yards on five catches. Last week, the Vikings gave up big yardage in the passing game but came away with key interceptions in the red zone to limit Houston's scoring. This week, they'll need to get to Aaron Rodgers early if they want a different result than what they received in the season opener.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: VIKINGS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
Regardless of who gets called upon, if the Packers can take away Berrian, they'll take their chances with the rest of the Vikings' mediocre receivers.
RB Adrian Peterson vs. Green Bay Run Defense: Without much confidence in Tarvaris Jackson to open the season, the Vikings relied heavily on their running game in the season opener at Lambeau Field. While that resulted in 187 yards on the ground, 65 of those were Jackson scrambling for first downs. This time, the improved passing game with Frerotte should help the offense, but there is no doubt the Packers will concentrate heavily on Peterson. They have the 27th-ranked rushing defense in the league, and they can't afford to let Peterson run roughshod over them in the Metrodome.
The Vikings would like nothing more than to keep pounding the ball at the Packers' front seven. The Vikings know it. The Packers know it. Now it will be up to the Packers defense to do something about it.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE VIKINGS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE PACKERS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE PACKERS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
Bill Huber: This league is still about quarterbacks and coaching, and Rodgers is better than Frerotte and McCarthy is better than Childress. Plus, the wild card is special teams. The Packers' are among the NFL's best, and the Vikings' have been putrid. That could be the difference in a series in which 11 of the last 12 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. ... PACKERS 27, VIKINGS 20.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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