The Packers pulled away from the Bears in what looked early to be a big time shootout. With the defense capitalizing on opportunities and keeping the score low, the Packers ended up with a convincing win. But not all Packers fans were convinced.
There were still major holes in Dom Capers’ defense that the Bears capitalized on and with BJ Raji gone for the season and a smaller defensive line than is typical for a 3-4 D, the Packers look to be vulnerable to the run for the duration of the season. While nobody wants our defense to give up 250 yards to any running back, I said today that if there was one area where the Packers defense would be weak (and we all new there would be at least one area) I would prefer it to be against the run. Giving up yards between the 20’s is no fun to watch but inside the red zone, the Packers are going to put in their red zone defense and be more concerned about the run anyway. The NFL is a passing league and like I said earlier…the Packers defense has to be good, not great. They are bad against the run but the defensive rankings are terribly misleading when you look at the fact that the Packers have been quite good at keeping opponents off the board since before the second half of the Jets game. Thursday night against the Vikings seems to be the perfect opportunity against a Vikings team that for the first time in what seems like forever, will NOT be starting Adrian Peterson.
But the Packers can’t rest in their laurels. While it took some time to happen, the Vikings pulled out a convincing win against the Falcons in Minnesota on Sunday. They have considerable weapons on offense (par for the course in the NFC North) and if Teddy Bridgewater’s ankle is a minor setback as the Vikings seem to think, he will take the field Thursday. Bridgewater was not brilliant but he did provide a spark for what was a lackluster Minnesota offense that had only score 7 and 9 points against the Patriots and Saints.
Bridgewater distributed the ball well and the Vikings run game was surprisingly opportunistic. Minnesota’s offensive line meant business. And both Jennings and Patterson have big-play potential. So the Packers can’t assume this one’s in the bag especially since they are coming off a short week and may suffer a doldrum after the big time win over the Bears.
But the Packers should be taking it all in stride anyway because they are only 2-2 and a win at home against the Vikings puts them above 500 while helping them stay within a game of the Lions. Does anybody else see the final game of the season against the Lions at home as eerily similar to the Bears game at the end of last season…in terms of importance???
So the Packers need to tighten up against the run and continue to be opportunistic against a rookie quarterback who will be making only his second NFL start. Bridgewater will make mistakes and the Packers D will be much different than what he saw against the Falcons. Spin him ’round boys!