GREEN BAY—This one is for the division lead.
Well, the Lions play at the Patriots, and with a Lions loss to the Patriots the Packers can take sole possession of first place in the NFC North with a win over the Vikings on Sunday.
You bet it is.
Get rid of any thoughts you have remaining from that 42-10 blowout on Oct. 2. This is a different Vikings team, a different situation.
Ten games into his head coaching career, it’s clear to see Mike Zimmer’s grasp on the Vikings. Zimmer is about defense, and the Vikings are playing sound defense. It’s their calling card as rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater learns the pro game.
Here’s the stat of the week: The Packers are No. 8 in pass offense; the Vikings are No. 8 in pass defense. There’s your confrontation, folks, on what’s expected to be at a not-so-frozen TCF Bank Stadium.
Lions lose, Packers win, Packers go back to Green Bay in the NFC North lead with five games to play. That’s the storyline for this game, but beating the Vikings likely won’t be as easy as it was the last time the two teams played.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Vikings.
1. Win big at quarterback – Aaron Rodgers has overmatched his opponent in recent weeks. It’s been the No. 1 ingredient for victory.
2. Pick up the blitz – Zimmer has a million of them. Be prepared to pick up blitzes, stunts, twists, the whole bit.
3. Run the ball/stop the run – It’s at the root of late-season, cold-weather football.
4. Confuse him – Dom Capers has a bag of tricks the likes of which Bridgewater has never seen.
5. Make it your home – Packers fans will be in abundance.
6. Take a peek at the scoreboard – The Lions-Patriots game will kick off at the same time as the Packers-Vikings game. A little motivation never hurt anyone.
7. Beware Cordarrelle Patterson – He can take it the distance.
8. Start fast – It’s become the Packers’ identity.
9. Be the one – The Packers offense is No. 1 in net yards per pass play, percent had intercepted and points per game.
10. Just win, baby – Forget about winning big, just win. It’s all that matters.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - NOV. 20