After getting a season-opening win in Jacksonville last week, the Green Bay Packers are on the road again in Week 2 and this Sunday, they will do their best to try and spoil the Minnesota Vikings home opener.
The Packers and Vikings have always been fierce rivals. But with the Vikings getting better the last few seasons and actually knocking off Green Bay for the NFC North title last January, things have only gotten more intense.
Certainly, the Vikings still have a ways to go. In their last 12 games against the Packers, Minnesota has won just twice. The Vikings also have a dismal record against Mike McCarthy, as the Green Bay head man is 15-5-1 against his rivals to the north.
However, this Week 2 clash between the two teams could be a seminal moment. The Vikings may unveil their new starting quarterback Sam Bradford and the team would definitely be buoyed by another win over the hated Packers.
For Green Bay, a loss means they are 1-1 after two road games, which isn’t bad at all. But a win, puts them at 2-0 and a leg up on the Vikings.
Here are three keys for Green Bay to make that happen:
Go fast on offense:
It’s no secret that the Packers’ offense got off to a slow start against Jaguars. After the early touchdown off a Jags turnover, the Packers had three consecutive punts and didn’t even gain a first down.
Then, McCarthy went up-tempo and things turned around in a heartbeat. Aaron Rodgers got into a rhythm and started making plays. Jordy Nelson got involved and the Packers created explosive plays, although it mostly had to do with Rodgers’ wizardry.
In this game, Green Bay can’t afford a slow start. So McCarthy and Rodgers should get the Packers going fast and they should do it early. Points could be at a premium and getting some early would be huge.
Keep Eddie Lacy rolling:
Eddie Lacy didn’t have his best game against the Jaguars, but he rushed 14 times for 61 yards and ripped off a 28-yard run. He also caught an 18-yard screen pass.
After his first two attempts basically got him nothing against Jacksonville, Lacy was a different runner. He looked more like his old self and made a really nice cut on his long run.
The Packers offense can’t afford to be one-dimensional, running the ball is essential. It will take pressure off Rodgers and guard Lane Taylor, while at the same time, opening things up for the passing game.
Shut down whoever the Vikings play at quarterback:
You might expect me to say stopping Adrian Peterson is the key, but really, it’s not. Peterson has played 16 career regular-season games against Green Bay and eight times he has rushed for more than 100 yards. However, in those eight games, Peterson’s Vikings are just 2-5-1.
Heck, Peterson averaged 205 yards per game against the Packers in 2012 and all Minnesota got was a split and that was thanks to a great game by Christian Ponder and a last-second field goal.
As long as the Packers don’t allow a ton of big runs, they can let Peterson get his, they just have to contain the quarterback, because if Green Bay wins the battle of passer ratings, it should win the game.