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Week 13 Preview: Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Ok, so last week's division game didn't work out so well. Disappointing as that was, the Vikings still control their own destiny. A pretty difficult destiny, sure, but they still control it. December begins and ends for the Vikings with games against the Packers. Today they head into historic Lambeau Field for their first matchup of the season with the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings are currently on a four game losing streak to the Pack, with their last win coming November 1, 2009 in Brett Favre's highly publicized return to Lambeau. The Packers have also won 9 of the last 12 overall meetings. Then again, this is a division rivalry, and it would be foolish to make any assumptions. Historically the series has been pretty close, but two of the past three games have been blowouts in favor of Green Bay. Here's what we're looking for in today's game.
Containing & Getting After Aaron Rodgers
It probably seems like the most obvious focus of the week, but there are two really good reasons for it. Aaron Rodgers has been a major thorn in the side of many teams, but particularly the Vikings as of late. In his last 3 starts against the team, he's thrown for 886 yards with 11 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions while connecting on 75.8% of his passes. That's good for an average passer rating of 145.4. Cripes. In case you were wondering, Christian Ponder's career high for passer rating is 114.6, accomplished earlier this season against the Indianapolis Colts. He's actually only crested the century mark 5 times in his 22 game career. Needless to say, Rodgers has the ability to tear other teams apart, and he has a history of doing so against this team. Interestingly, this year he seems to have somewhat of an achilles heel. Rodgers has been sacked 37 times this year, which is more than any other quarterback in the league. He's been sacked 21 times in Green Bay's four losses, but only 16 times in their seven wins. If you're not good with math, that means he's been sacked more than twice as many times in losses than wins. That kind of trend stands to reason that if the Vikings can bring pressure, they'll have a much better chance of disrupting the Pack's passing game. We're curious to see if they'll be able to pull it off.
Ground Game Battle
Adrian Peterson has been a common thread in our previews, but it's been for good reason. Adrian is currently on a streak of five straight 100-yard games. That is a career best for the 6th year back. He still leads the league in rushing and remains on pace for nearly an 1,800 yard season. If he can get there, it would be a career best. His current high mark is 1,760 yards, which was accomplished in his second season. Amazingly, he's only 148 yards away from making 2012 his second best rushing season. Again, pretty impressive for a guy coming off major knee surgery. The Packers are allowing 103.8 rushing yards per game this season, which is good for 11th in the NFL. Slightly better than the Vikings, who rank 15th, allowing 111.7 yards per game. After a strong start, the Vikings run defense has been having touble of late, but they've been dealing with some pretty competant rushing teams. This week they face the 23rd best rushing attack in the league in Green Bay -- A team that hasn't had a 100-yard rusher since week 5 of the 2010 season. Some of it is due to injuries and some of it is due to personnel, but the Vikings can and should win the ground game this week. We'll be looking to see if they can parlay that advantage into something greater.
Containing Randall Cobb
Randall Cobb in his second year out of Kentucky has turned into a pretty dangerous fellow. Cobb, much like Percy Harvin, is a threat in the passing game, the running game, and in kick/punt returns. Cobb currently leads the team in kick/punt returns, but he is also averaging 14.1 yards per rushing attempt and is actually second on the team in receiving yards, just behind team leader Jordy Nelson. The Vikings will need to be aware of Cobb, no matter where is he lined up on the field and we'll be looking to see how effective they can be in slowing him down.
Today's game against the Packers kicks off at Noon from Lambeau Field on 100.3 KFAN and The Vikings Radio Network. Our own Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will handle the call. Check out the graphic to the left. It was created by "Drunken1", a regular in Purple Chat. Check out the other submissions in this week's competition on Purple Chat. Have a fresh idea for next week's game? Pay attention to Purple Chat for next week's Gameday Graphic thread. Did we miss out on a major plot line for today's game? Tell us below or on Purple Chat.
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This article was written by jab. You can normally find him meandering around Rube Chat. Or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.