Thursday Night Football kicks off again this week, as the Minnesota Vikings head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. Both NFC North teams sit at 2-2 with ambitions to get to 3-2 to try to keep up with the 3-1 Detroit Lions, who sit atop the division after four weeks.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense finally came to life in week four, as they shredded the Chicago Bears throughout their contest last week. Minnesota did the very same thing to the Atlanta Falcons a week ago, and should aim to do so again on the road against the Packers. Everyone knows divisional games usually send all logic out the window, but let’s take a look at the keys to this game so we can gauge who should come out on top with the win:

Minnesota’s Ground Control

Green Bay stinks against the run on defense. Marshawn Lynch tore them up in week one, Chris Ivory slapped them around in week two, Matt Forte crushed them in week four and even Reggie Bush found some success against them in week three. Minnesota is somehow still running the ball even with Adrian Peterson sidelined, so you can bet they’ll deploy Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon early and often to try to come in and control this game. That’s their best avenue toward winning, at least.

Aaron Rodgers Shall Feast

Minnesota’s pass defense is definitely better than it has been in recent years, but they’re still not a top shelf unit. This is also Aaron Rodgers we’re talking about, and he simply doesn’t have bad games on his own field. He also typically destroys the Vikings, so we shouldn’t see anything different in this game.

Eddie Lacy Needs to Wake Up

Lacy hasn’t topped 50 rushing yards in a game yet. He did finally score last week, but he’s been mostly a lumbering miss that runs into piles, fumbles the ball or drops passes. Needless to say, he’s been a grand disappointment for Packers fans thus far. That could change on Thursday night, however, as Green Bay will try to get him going against a shaky Minnesota run defense. Rain is expected to fall in this one, too, so if it gets out of hand Lacy may need to carry the load more than usual. He couldn’t take advantage of a good matchup last week, but maybe he finally puts up a solid stat line in week five.

Christian, Ponder the Thought?

The biggest key to this game is going to be who is under center for the Vikings. Rookie passer Teddy Bridgewater made his first career start last year and put up 300+ passing yards in a win over the Falcons. He was impressive and Green Bay won’t want to have to face him. However, he hurt his ankle and it looks like he may sit this one out considering the Vikes are on a short week. That could mean we see Christian Ponder, the guy who was at one time supposed to be the Vikings’ franchise quarterback, take the field. He’s actually had a lot of success against Green Bay, at least statistically, so it will be extremely interesting to see if he can keep this one close.

In the end, the Packers still appear to be the better team. Hopefully their defense can step up and shut Ponder down, but even if they can’t, Rodgers isn’t likely to lose a shootout at home.

Pick: Packers 31, Vikings 24

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *