Ask any Vikings fan “What are your expectations for this season?” and it’ll be fake-sounding response about a “deep playoff run,” or “contend for the Super Bowl.” Yet, at the end of the season, they’re all overcome with joy upon the Packers’ inevitable January demise, which tells you everything.
Because Minnesota is the only team to host a Super Bowl every year (each time the Packers visit the Vikings), Za’Darius Smith decided to join them as they’re a match made in Heaven — they share the same dream, Beat Green Bay.
After Minnesota departed with Mike Zimmer, they chose to take the Offensive Coordinator from the defending Super Bowl champion LA Rams. Kevin O’Connell has served as the OC for the Rams underneath Head Coach, Sean McVay, for the last 2 seasons, so he’s been involved in some solid offenses. O’Connell has two of the best skill position players in the entire NFL in HB Dalvin Cook and WR Justin Jefferson. QB Kirk Cousins, while I call him Captain Average, does put up solid numbers over the course of a season, and has had a few good games vs. Green Bay. Let’s see if Joe Berry and the Packers’ D can pick up where they left off last year, with a dominating performance – there’s no reason to think they can’t.
The Packers are still dealing with injuries on the offensive line, and unfortunately with their best 2 linemen…David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. There’s also another injury that could change things quite a bit: Wide Receiver #1 Allen Lazard. This means Green Bay will feature a combination of Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Randall Cobb, Romeo Doubs, and Juwann Winfree. The only ones to even catch a pass in a Packer uniform are Cobb and Winfree.
This means the run game will be even more important, and with the unlikelihood of Bakhtiari and/or Jenkins suiting up, that could prove extremely tough, and let’s not forget Za’Darius Smith signed with Minnesota ONLY to play against Green Bay…
With these injuries, the QB will have to execute, which he’s great at in regular season games, and Matt LaFleur will likely lean on the legs of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.
If the Packers win the turnover battle and are able to run the ball, they should prevail.
Packers 27 (-1.5)