The last time we witnessed the Green Bay Packers playing a game, it was a nightmare.
The Packers were annihilated by the San Francisco 49ers in last season’s NFC Championship game 37-20. The 49ers ran around and through the Packers’ inept defense, racking up an obscene 285 yards on the ground.
Don’t think the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers’ opponent today, didn’t take notice.
You can go to the bank the Vikings are going to constantly test the Packers by running between the tackles with one of the NFL’s elite backs in Dalvin Cook, who is clearly better than 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, who recorded a whopping 220 yards in that NFC title game.
The Packers believe they shored up their inside linebackers corps by adding talented but injury-plagued Christian Kirskey (He missed 23 games the last two seasons in Cleveland) while letting tackling machine Blake Martinez walk to the New York Giants. The Packers also let their other starting inside linebacker from last season B.J. Goodson move on to Cleveland and are counting on injury-plagued Oren Burks to replace him.
How the new Packers inside linebackers fare today could go a long way toward determining whether the green and gold will emerge with a victory.
But the Packers aren’t the only team with interesting changes on defense: The Vikings will have five new faces in their starting lineup. They are ends Headi Odenigbo and Yannick Ngakoue, defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Holton Hill. Look for the Packers to isolate their star receiver Davante Adams against the unproven corners.
If the Packers’ offensive line plays up to its capabilities and provides Aaron Rodgers with ample time, he could have a field day against the Vikings’ revised secondary and leave Minneapolis Sunday night with a win over the 2.5-point favorite Vikings.
Predictions: Packers 30, Vikings 27.