GREEN BAY WI - OCTOBER 24: Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates at touchdown with teammate Andrew Quarless #81 against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on October 24 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)
Bottom line: After two OT losses, it was great to watch the Green Bay Packers come out on the winning side of a close game. Sort of similar to their win three weeks ago over the Lions, 28-26, when a defensive TD (INT return by CB Charles Woodson) was the difference. It also helps to get that division win for any tiebreakers, and they now match the Bears with a 4-3 record. But it was also huge that they played so much better against the Vikings. They're losses to the Vikings last season were two of the worst losses I've ever sat through. It's a major relief to see them stop that losing streak.
Offense: I'm pretty upset that QB Aaron Rodgers insists on throwing some low percentage deep passes on 3rd and short, and I hated that INT in the end zone that he tried to force into double-coverage. But overall he had another great game. It helped in large part that the Vikings pass rush has gone missing, and the offensive line did a great job in pass protection. They also ran the ball pretty well, except the play calls with FB John Kuhn trying to run straight up the middle. And don't call Kuhn's number on two consecutive 4th down attempts! The first one barely worked.
Defense: Those three INTs, and holding QB Brett Favre to a 50.4 QB rating was obviously impressive for the pass defense. Not a lot of pass rush, but that sack by DE Jarius Wynn late in the game was huge. The run defense didn't look great on paper (5.4 ypc, 196 yards total) but it's something we're going to have to get used to. The Packers have often played with only two defensive lineman on passing downs, and obviously that's an easier defensive front to run against. But since DE Mike Neal was officially lost for the season, and now DE Cullen Jenkins missed the entire game with a hamstring injury, the depth is gone. They'll get some help when DE Ryan Pickett returns to full strength, but they played with only DE C.J. Wilson and NT B.J. Raji for much of the 4th quarter (with an occasional appearance by Wynn). It was no wonder the Vikings decided to call so many running plays on their final drive. And Wilson and Raji are playing great, but they can't occupy five offensive lineman by themselves, and the Vikings tackles each had at least 100 lbs. on the outside linebackers who were lining up as defacto defensive ends.