GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers (1-0) prepare to host the Minnesota Vikings (1-0), it’s time to get ready for kick with Dave Schroeder’s “Fast 5 Pack Facts.”
#1 Throwback Vikings: Minnesota amazingly threw the ball only 10 times in its Week 1 trouncing of the Falcons. For perspective, the Packers’ Za’Darius Smith had 10 quarterback pressures by himself in the Packers’ opener. If Green Bay wants to show off its pass rush acumen, it will need to shut down the dynamic Dalvin Cook.
#2 Turnover Tale: The Packers and Vikings (remarkably) were the only 2 teams in the NFL to finish dead even in turnover margin last year. Finishing middle-of-the-road in the game’s most important metric is a big reason why both teams underachieved and missed the playoffs despite coming into last season as NFC contenders on paper.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur knows the importance of takeaways and ball security. This week he cited the fact that NFL teams went 10-2-1 in Week 1 when winning the turnover battle. Green Bay (+1) and Minnesota (+3) were both among the 10 teams to capitalize. A year after throwing only 2 interceptions, Aaron Rodgers talked about the importance of taking care of the ball in this rivalry showdown. In 21 starts vs. Minnesota, Rodgers has thrown for an amazing 42 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions.
#3 Hidden (in Week 1) Talents: Despite Mike Zimmer’s dream-beyond-a-dream day against Atlanta running the ball last week, Minnesota has wide receiver weapons to behold. Both Adam Thielen and Stegon Diggs have been Packer killers in the past.
Thielen has averaged 9 catches and 116 yards per game in his last 5 contests against Green Bay, while Stefon Diggs has averaged 7 catches and 95 yards per game in his last 5 in the series.
#4 Dominant Defense: We have all been fooled before with fool’s gold from the Packers defense early in a season. But something seems different this year. After dominance in Chicago last week, Green Bay owns the #1 scoring defense and #5 overall defense in the NFL. It was the first time the Packers held an opponent to 3 or fewer points in an opener since 1996 and first time Green Bay won a game scoring 10 or less since 2010. Both those years ended in Super Bowl wins. That’s getting more than a little ahead of things, but the free agent additions and continued draft capital spent on defense leads you to believe this year’s Packers defense could be special.
#5 One-sided Rivalry?: The Packers have gone just 1-5-1 in their last 7 games against the Vikings.
The only win in the bunch was Green Bay’s run-the-table 2016 win at Lambeau Field. And that win only came after Minnesota endured travel nightmares getting into town for the Christmas Eve matinee. If you’ll recall, the Vikings’ plane skidded off the runway arriving in Wisconsin. The team sat trapped on the tarmac for many long hours, throwing their pregame routine for a loop.
Aside from that day’s success, Green Bay has not beaten the Vikings since a 2015 game at the Minnesota Gophers’ TCF Bank Stadium in 2015.
Prediction: Packers 13, Vikings 12
As always, tune in to Action 2 News for the best postgame coverage in the business with reports at 5:30 and 10:00 p.m. after the game and make sure to set a reminder to watch Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 at 10:35. RB Jamaal Williams will join Chris Roth in studio to help break down the game this week.