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Given all the recent off the field drama surrounding Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it’s a tribute to his skills as a team leader that they were still able to shut out the Seattle Seahawks, 17-0, yet another example of why having a top-3 defense can help you stack wins, a factor that makes Green Bay the favorites in this Week 11 NFC North showdown.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins keeps posting impressive stats from under center but without stacking enough wins to matter yet in the NFC North, so a win over these Packers who have won twice as many games as the Vikings will certainly help their divisional cause, a victory possible only if Minnesota’s star running back Dalvin Cook can have a huge game.
These two NFC North rivals have faced each other 121 prior times (including 2 postseason games), with the Minnesota Vikings winning 55 of those games and the Green Bay Packers winning 63 of the games, plus there have been 3 ties.
The Green Bay Packers are 8-2 and atop the NFC North by three games and a big reason for that dominance is because their 3rd ranked defense is excellent at stopping opponents in their tracks, so far allowing them to gain just a mere 310 yards of offense per game.
That is not going to be as easy against these Vikings and their effective quarterback Kirk Cousins, a team that scores almost 25 points per game with a top-10 offense that features dual-threat back Dalvin Cook (below) who will beat you on the ground or through the air or both.
The Packers have some playmakers on defense great at stopping the run and covering the pass, so watch for linebackers Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin, and De’Vondre Campbell to clog up the box and focus on neutralizing Cook as a playmaker.
Attempting to stop Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and actually doing it are two separate activities, and most teams struggle making that happen since Cook has been in the league starting back in 2017 when he first joined Minnesota as a rookie.
Now in his fifth season, Cook, a 5’ 10” 210-pound dual-threat back who is tough to chase down and even tougher to tackle, has 139 carries for 648 yards and 3 touchdowns along with 18 catches for 109 yards, a productive player invaluable to this Vikings offense.
Green Bay is far better against the pass than against the run, so expect the Vikings to use Cook a lot on the ground to see if they can exploit that weakness and be sure to keep an eye on how his powerful runs work to wear down whoever has to keep tackling him.
The Green Bay Packers average 109 yards on the ground per game (19th best in the league) and much of that production is attributed to running back Aaron Jones, a fifth-year player who has started in all ten of the Packers 2011 regular-season games.
So far this season, Jones has carried the ball 123 times for 541 yards and 3 touchdowns while catching 37 passes for almost another 300 yards and 4 more touchdowns, a dual-threat back who defenses must game plan around.
Watch for Jones to be a key factor in this matchup on Sunday as he offers quarterback Aaron Rodgers several ways to help the team’s offense, Jones is a playmaker who has not scored a touchdown in the last two games, so this veteran Packer is due.
Vikings star receiver Adam Thielen has been with the team since his rookie season back in 2014, and since then he has become one of the major contributors on offense with his crisp route running and sure-handed catches plus his ability to get yards after the reception.
Thielen is a 31-year-old Minnesota State alum who is 6’ 2” and 200 pounds, and despite his age can still break free out in the open, this year with 50 receptions on 73 targets for 542 yards and 7 touchdowns, a constant source of production for his offense.
Thielen plays with other talented receivers like Justin Jefferson, Dede Westbrook, and K.J. Osborn, so expect Cousins to target this group early and often as they attempt to earn a win against these Packers.
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|Packers vs Vikings Information|
|What||Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings|
|Where||U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|When||Sunday, November 21, 2021; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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