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Cheese Curds, 12/23: Packers’ key to success against Vikings may come on the ground

That could be the deciding factor in tonight’s game.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA

The modern NFL is predicated on passing to win. Passing plays are significantly more impactful than running plays, and only ten teams across the league have running offenses that are more valuable than a league-average offensive play, according to DVOA. Conversely, 23 passing offenses are better than league average.

And yet, the ability to run is still viewed as a critical facet of offensive design and playcalling, The Green Bay Packers, who possess the fourth-ranked rushing offense by DVOA, have achieved that mark thanks to the league’s most prevalent use of zone blocking. Meanwhile, their defense has made significant inroads in recent weeks to reduce the number of big plays they have allowed on the ground, thanks to a significant tweak to how plays and assignments get communicated.

This week in Minnesota, the Packers will surely need both of those facets to continue on their more successful pathways. Even without Dalvin Cook, the Vikings’ offense is dangerous, and the Packers still need to respect the running game to the extent that they do not give up those explosive plays. On offense, the Packers’ passing game remains inconsistent at best, so Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams will need to get the ball regularly to make this offense as effective as possible.

We’ll see this evening just how well the Packers are able to control the run on both sides of the football. If they prove to be the better team in both areas, they should be well on their way to a playoff bye.

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