It’s almost not worth covering, but much like the 2014 NFC title game in Seattle, the Packers had countless opportunities to close that game out and couldn’t. In last week’s entry, I claimed that in “Rodgers + McCarthy have enough “winning” experience to pull through >50% in a close game, however, I just can’t bring myself to pick the Packers to win this game. “
Just the opposite happened, the Packers controlled the entire game, and when it got close, the Vikings made the plays needed to win, except a kick that would’ve actually determined a winner. The Packers showed their inexperience in the defensive backfield (or lack of speed) after not responding following the atrocious “roughing the passer” call on Clay Matthews. Captain Average marched down the field with little difficulty and tied the ball game, leaving 0:31 on the clock for Rodgers to lead his offense down only to have Mason not hit a clutch game-winner. All in all it was a weird game that likely will come back to bite the Packers in playoff seeding.
The Vikings didn’t disrupt, as much as I thought, what the Packers wanted to do on offense. Kudos to the gameplan, keeping the short passes and 3-step (pistol) drops in play to keep a rhythm, however, only 1 offensive TD, at home, won’t get it done. The production must be better if this team has any chance of getting where they need to go. However, overall that only led to one offensive TD and that won’t cut it at home, vs anyone.
As for the defense, a lot will be made of the Clay hit, however new Def Coordinator, Mike Pettine, was concerned with the lack of response by his defense. There was still an 8 point lead, at home and roughly 55 yards left with under 1:30, but the Packers’ D gave up those 8 points in about a minute. That’s the concerning thing (not sure if it’s more concerning than the NFL taking tackling out of the game, but that’s an entirely different issue). Much like the 2014 NFC title game in Seattle, there were a slew of plays that could’ve been made to ice this game, but in the end, neither team deserved to win so justly there was a tie.
Enter the Washington Redskins. 1-1 and coming off an awful performance vs the Indianapolis Colts, the Skins don’t really pose much of a threat, on either side of the ball. They bring the 27th ranked offense and 2nd ranked defense which might be fool’s gold. They’ve played Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts—both teams are heaping piles of garbage, so the fact they’re ranked so low on offense and high on defense is quite misleading. The low ranking on offense is very embarrassing and the Packers shouldn’t have too tough a time keeping them under 20 points…unless Kevin King is that big of a lynch pin to this defense, which is an entirely different issue altogether. The Packers’ offense should be able to move the ball consistently and hang 30 points, with their QB getting into a rhythm and constantly keeping the pressure on Alex Smith and the Skins. Watch for the return of the Jonesssssss. Both Aaron Jones (HB) and Josh Jones (S) should hopefully make their season debuts Sunday, along with rookie ILB Oren Burks. While Washington doesn’t have a scary offense, they do possess Jordan Reed, an athletic TE that presents mismatches all over the field. Look for Burks and/or Josh Jones to take him out of the game.
There’s always one game the Packers lose where they have no business doing so, I don’t see that being this game. (Also, for clarification, I mean before the game, not completely controlling the Vikings game until Green Bay needed 2 missed OT field goals to not lose). Since I wasn’t right in my call, I can’t count that as a win, so I’ll fly the L there.
Look for the Packer to incorporate Aaron Jones and hit the quick passing attack early and often, and for the Packers’ D to get a few stops.