Nicole Haase. 7th November, 2008 - 9:47 pm
When the Packers and Vikings met to open the season, Aaron Rodgers was making his debut as the starter, and Tavaris Jackson was leading the Vikings.
Nine weeks later, things have changed. Veteran Gus Frerotte is leading Minnesota now. Despite a slow start, since Frerotte took over for Jackson, the Vikings are four of six. Conversely, the Packers started out hot, with Rodgers throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions in the first game. Now, Rodgers and the Packers have lost four of their last six games.
The game against Minnesota is the start of back-to-back conference games that will go a long way in determining the Packers? chances at the post-season. A win over Minnesota puts the Packers in control of the second-place spot while the first-place Bears play the undefeated Titans on Sunday. Should Chicago lose, the Packers would be back in a tie for first-place with a showdown against the Bears next on the schedule.
Green Bay hopes to see a bit of history repeating itself. Coach Mike McCarthy is 2-0 at Minnesota as the Packers? coach and 5-0 overall against the Vikings. Green Bay has won four of the last five at the Humphrey Dome and has won five in a row for the first time in the series since 1983-85. Should the Packers win on Sunday, it will be just the second time in the entire series that one team has won six in a row.
The contest in week one was sealed with an Atari Bigby interception in the final two minutes. That close finish was one in a long string. Eleven of the last 12 games in this meeting have been decided by less than seven points.
While the Packers? defensive coaches will have spent the week trying to figure out how to stop Adrian Peterson, Frerotte and coaches will have been looking for a way to establish a passing game. The Packers have allowed the third fewest yards in the league through the air. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged a passer rating of just 59.9 and have completed just 51.3% of their passes. Both stats are the lowest allowed by anyone in the league.
Both defenses will be crucial in determining the outcome. Bigby has sealed the deal for the Packers twice in recent years, and despite not getting a pick last week, the Packers? defense is still tied for the league lead with the Titans with 13. The Vikings, who have 21 sacks and have forced 14 turnovers on the season, will also be looking to turn the tide with turnovers.