Looking ahead to Green Bay’s home opener

 

Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
Green Bay Packers Reporter

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @LucyRK78

The Packers face a tough schedule right off the bat. For the second week in a row, they’re facing a divisional opponent, and while we do love home-field advantage, the Vikings have shown us that doesn’t always help.

Going into Sunday’s game, both teams are 1-0, but while Green Bay was fighting a battle in Chicago, the Vikings had a much easier game in Atlanta. This is going to be another tough game for the Packers.

And while I always have all the confidence in my team, there are a few teams I still get nervous about facing. The Vikings are near the top of that list. If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you know how much I hate tense and close games. So, yup! I’m already stressing Sunday.

Remembering how the Packers were sooo close to winning in Week 2 against Minnesota last season before they came back to tie the game isn’t helping.  It’s just one more reason to have a healthy fear of Vikings-Packers matchups. Green Bay’s last win against Minnesota was almost three years ago on Christmas Eve in 2016. While the Packers won that game, they have gone 0-3-1 against the Vikings in four games since. Let’s not forget, however, that they lost that first game after quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone broke in the first quarter against the Vikings

Week 1 was a win. Yes! We can be happy about a much-needed win against the Chicago Bears, but… Green Bay didn’t play a great game. For the first time in so long I can’t even remember, the defense won that game, while the offense showed how much work still needs to be done to win more divisional games.

Despite a re-worked team, Green Bay carried over one of their major flaws from last season to the opening of this season: not converting on third downs. The Packers converted just two of 12 third-down attempts against the Bears last week. If they keep running down the play clock and not being effective on third downs by setting up better earlier downs, they won’t win this game.

On a more positive note, the Vikings offense struggled as well in their season opener. And now that Green Bay has added defensive ends, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, I foresee a lot of pressure being placed on Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Za’Darius Smith is quickly becoming one of my favorite Packers. How many positions did he play against the Bears?! Great to have such a talented, versatile player.

More that I’ll be watching:

  • Wide receiver Davante Adams: We didn’t see much from him in Week 1, but I expect to see more from him in Week 2. Most likely he’ll be covered by Vikings star cornerback, Xavier Rhodes. While Rhodes is a truly impressive player, he has proven that he can’t contain Adams.

 

  • Packers’ Defense: There was one in Week 1!  Minnesota has a better offense than Chicago does, AND they are serious about running the ball. Green Bay will have to stop the run and force Cousins to throw the ball more often than he had to in Week 1. It’s a lot of pressure for a defense that’s just appeared.

 

  • Offensive lineman David Bakhtiari & CB Jaire Alexander: They were both JUST added to the injury report and may miss the home opener. Not good. The Packers need them both. There’s no strong backup for Bakhtiari, in my opinion. Tackle Alex Light is listed as his backup but was inactive in Week 1. Maybe T Billy Turner becomes the backup?

No matter what, a Minnesota Vikings/Green Bay Packers game is always one of the best each season. And don’t forget – I grew up a Vikings fan, especially when WR Cris Carter was on the team. That’s why it’s even more fun to watch my Pack take the win!

I’m going Green Bay 23 Minnesota 20. Tweet me @LucyRK78 and tell me YOUR score predictions!

 

Tell Lucy your score predictions Twitter @LucyRK78

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