Posted on November 23, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Fans will remember a time in the not-too-distant past when the Green Bay Packers had not been playing well and winning ball games. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers infamously told the world to relax, and sure enough—things got better, and they started winning. But at 4-5-1, fans may have a hard time relaxing even if they wanted.
With the Bears rolling over the competition, it doesn’t look like they have a shot at winning the division. But if they lose to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night, it is going to be pretty hard for them to win a wild-card berth.
If the earlier season matchup is any indication, this one should be one heck of a game. Neither team did a great job of running the ball. Green Bay played good defense and played well enough on offense for about three quarters. But then Kirk Cousins took over the game in the fourth quarter with three touchdowns to tie up the game and send it to overtime.
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When the game ended in a tie, no one was really sad about it since they didn’t lose. But they were not happy either since they didn’t win. So, has anyone improved enough to gain an edge over the other?
Both quarterbacks threw the ball well last time, and there is no reason to think they will not be able to throw as well if not better this time. If anything, Cousins should have an even better relationship with his receivers. Back in Week Two, it was still a work in progress. But heading into Week 12…
What will turn the tide in this game will be whether anyone can run the ball. Neither defense is going to be able to shut down the other’s passing game. That means to limit the damage either quarterback can do, he has to be kept off the field. But can either team be counted on to run the ball well enough to do so?
Heading into last week’s loss against the Seahawks, Aaron Jones had run for over 300 yards the previous three weeks. But while Seattle did hold him to 40 yards on 11 carries, he still accounted for over 100 total yards of offense (63 yards and a touchdown on five receptions). However, he may find it harder to run this week against Minnesota’s top-five run defense.
The Vikings, on the other hand, have struggled to find a consistent run game this season. There are times when they have run well, but they have yet to be consistent. Dalvin Cook’s return adds an explosive element, but he and Murray are splitting reps. Murray tends to do better over time and not with spot carries.
Aaron Rodgers has beaten a lot of great defenses over the years, but he may be hard pressed to find a way past the Vikings. If he can count on his defense to limit Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense, Rodgers would have a shot. But it would not be shocking to see the Vikings do a much better job of running the ball this week.
Adding that dimension to the offense will give the Vikings the edge. They are favored by 3.5 but look for them to win by six. As for the over/under (47.5)—take the over. Definitely take the over.