Operating on the road and in cold temperatures, the Packers played disciplined football against Minnesota, committing only four penalties against the Vikings’ eight. For the first time since the bye week, the offense featured the right type of balance, thanks primarily to the resurgence of Eddie Lacy and the running game.
Problems were still on display in the passing game, evidenced by dropped passes, miscommunication on routes and poor throws by Aaron Rodgers. Not helping matters were an injury to center Corey Linsley and the continual decline in performance from left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Aside from a couple miscues, Green Bay’s performance on defense was lights out. The run defense held pro bowl running back Adrian Peterson to just 45 yards on the ground and forced one fumble in the second half, which killed a Minnesota comeback attempt. The defense also tallied six sacks, led by third-year defensive end Datone Jones, who has been a bellwether of inconsistency since being drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft.
Some of the defense’s success on Sunday can be attributed to the Vikings’ one-dimensional offense that is challenged when playing from behind. And while the next two weeks may present the same kind of tease, Dom Capers’ unit must be prepared to deliver a high level of production against quality veteran quarterbacks during the month of January.
The Packers can ill-afford to take their foot off of the gas as they face the two weakest teams remaining on their schedule over the next 11 days. The pair of upcoming divisional games presents the Packers with further opportunity to firm up issues on offense and establish greater consistency on defense. Entering the historically-successful month of December, expectations are high for Mike McCarthy’s Packers.