Entering the Crucial Stretch

NFC North 2015 Well, it’s time to put the devastating losses to the Broncos and Panthers in the rearview mirror, because we have some really important games coming up. This week begins four-game stretch of clashes with NFC North rivals.

Everyone knows that winning the NFC North is job one. Under the current playoff system divisional leaders win a playoff spot. It’s a simple as that.

Or is it?

In the coming four-game stretch, the Packers will meet the Lions twice and the Bears once. Both of those teams are struggling mightily. However, anyone who’s watched the NFC North for any length of time knows that you can’t take any opponent lightly.

Fortunately for the Packers, the second meeting against the Bears will be at Lambeau Field. That will make it even more difficult for the Bears to surprise the green and gold. Not that shock of that nature is out of the question. Goodness knows the Packers-Bears rivalry runs so deep that anything could happen. Still, I expect the Packers to have little, to no, difficulty putting the Bears away a second time.

The Lions match up might be a different story. Yes, one of those games will be at Lambeau Field, and, like with the Bears, the Lions will have a tough time surprising the Packers on their home turf. Still, Matthew Stafford can get on a streak, in the Packers defense needs to make sure that doesn’t happen against us.

That brings us to the team that we’ve all been concerned about since before the season began. The Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have been playing good football of late. They are unquestionably the most talented team the Packers will have to face in the NFC North. And they are honestly the only team that threatens to take the division away from us.

Adrian Peterson doesn’t look like the Adrian Peterson of old necessarily. But, he still a very good back and still the initial focus for our defense to stop.

Bridgewater suffered a concussion, but may return in the Vikings next game. Certainly he’ll be back in time for the match up against the Packers in two weeks. He’s a very mobile quarterback which the Packers have struggled with, but the concussion may minimize that mobility a bit. He may be more hesitant to take a hit, or the coaching staff of the Vikings may attempt to protect him by coaching him to not put himself at risk as often.

The Vikings receiving corps is, in my estimation, above average. Wallace has lost a step but still has that veteran knowledge that can be a difference maker. On the opposite end of the age spectrum Diggs is really showing his stuff for such a young receiver.

However, one of my main concerns about the meeting against the Vikings is how our offensive line will hold up against the Vikings defensive front. If our offensive line doesn’t fix what’s wrong, We could easily drop a game to the Vikings.

All in all, what I really want to see out of the coming stretch against NFC North teams is, for starters, wins. If we can win this division, that will earn us a playoff spot but also buy us some time to sort out what’s going wrong against the high caliber teams and fix it going into the playoffs.

But, the second thing I really want to see out of this stretch is a complete and utter annihilation of our NFC North foes. I want to see each of them go down and go down hard. I don’t want to see any question as to the outcome of the game. By half time I want to know that The green and gold has another win in its pocket.

Entering the Crucial Stretch
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