Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Game Result: Minnesota Vikings 16, Green Bay Packers 0
The Green Bay Packers, under Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers among others, have been dominant at home, but, under Brett Hundley, that wasn’t quite the same narrative this season. The team was 3-1 under Rodgers to start the season but went only 1-3 under Hundley with the final loss coming at the hands of the Vikings in Hundley’s second shutout as a starter. Injuries and poor field conditions were the stories of this game as players were frequently slipping and falling, as well as, multiple key players for the Packers were out or left the game with an injury. These are two teams heading in very opposite directions heading into the final week of the season.
Both quarterbacks were substandard in this game, but Hundley was downright awful. He drove the team down the field into the red zone, which would have nearly guaranteed points, but he stared down his receiver and threw it right to Harrison Smith, who showed all game long he should be headed to the Pro Bowl. Without his favorite target in Davante Adams, Hundley had no receiver that he made a consistent connection with. The Packers running game was also not particularly effective as Jamaal Williams averaged just under four yards per carry, but this was one interesting bright spot, simply because the Vikings run defense has been so good all season long. The Vikings are priming up for the playoffs and looking strong on their way in.
The Vikings only totaled one sack on the night despite Hundley dropping back over 40 times, which was surprising given the poor state that the Packers offensive line was in. David Bakhtiari made his own case for why he should have been selected to the Pro Bowl as he blanked Everson Griffen and only allowed him a single quarterback hit on the night. However, the Vikings have constructed their defense that is strong at all three levels. Even when the pass rush isn’t getting to the quarterback, the corners can shut down receivers and the linebackers are quick and can shut down the run game. If they’re able to get a solid run game going in January, they’re going to be a strong contender in the playoffs thanks to their stout defense.
After a subpar rookie season, Trevor Davis is showing that he needed time to develop into a solid return man as he’s had multiple long returns in recent weeks, including a 34-yard return despite poor field conditions. With injuries and inconsistencies across the rest of the roster, success out of Davis was a strong aspect to see.
The Vikings (12-3) head home to face off with the Chicago Bears (4-10), as of this writing, with a chance to lock up the number one seed if Philadelphia stumbles or a first-round bye if they don’t. Home field advantage can be the difference between heading to the Super Bowl or heading home early. The Packers (7-8) head to Detroit to take on the Lions (8-6), as of this writing, in what could be a game of spoilers for a team that could still be contending for a playoff spot next week. The Packers are playing for development and looking for next season.
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