The next three weeks are going to determine how this season turns out. If the Packers can win all three then they are in a great place in the playoffs and should have the division wrapped up. If they lose all three then it’s time to talk about the draft. The good news is that none of these games looks to be quite as tough as last week’s loss to the Giants, but the Packers are still going to need some big performances from the depth of their roster.
This week the Packers face off against one of their bigger rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are trying to save their season, although the damage has been done. As we saw against the Detroit Lions, teams that are desperate can be tough to put away. So the Packers will have to stay disciplined and get big performances from the following….
WR Greg Jennings – Jennings has been practicing more and more over the past couple weeks and should make his return this week barring a major setback. This is great news for the Packers offense. Jennings is one of the best route runners in the league and should open up some of the short throws that should take some of the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers and the offensive line.
LT Marshall Newhouse – He has been battling a wrist injury this week and draws another tough task in defending Jared Allen. The good news for Newhouse is that Allen is not the physical freak who can consistently beat Newhouse to the edge like say Jason Pierre-Paul. The bad news is that Allen is still one of the best at what he does and has a motor that won’t stop. Newhouse is going to have get some help, but should be able to hold up a bit better….provided his injury doesn’t hinder his play.
DE/NT Ryan Pickett – The absolute key to stopping the Vikings is stopping Adrian Peterson. That means Pickett has a tough day ahead of him. He’s got to anchor the line like always and let A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones have a clear path to Peterson if the Packers are to have any chance. It’s been a great season for Pickett so far, let’s hope he can keep it up.
ILB Brad Jones – Jones has been a pleasant surprise so far this year, showing an ability to make plays in the backfield at key times as well as cover better than any of the other ILB’s to date. This week will be extra tough for him with trying to contain Adrian Peterson (cause it’s almost impossible to stop the guy) as well as cover Kyle Rudolph. The good news for Jones? If he can turn in a strong performance this week it’ll be tough to take him off the field next year when all the rest of the ILB’s get healthy.
TE Jermichael Finley – Don’t look now but Finley has actually strung together two decent performances. This week’s match up seems ripe for Finley due to the scheme used by the Vikings on defense and their weakness up the middle…especially in the LB corp. Finley should be able to work the middle of the field and have a big game…provided he continues to catch the ball and Rodgers actually looks his way.