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Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings: The Traitor Awaits!

Pull out all the stops!

This game is for the NFC North lead, bragging rights between two rivals, and a memorandum on two quarterbacks.

Except the game really means none of those things.

No one cares who takes the division lead a quarter of the way into the season. What matters is who is standing in that position in January.

Bragging rights tend to be more significant for the team that wins the second game of the head-to-head. Sure, the winner of this game can brag for a few weeks, but the winner of the second game will have almost a year.

Besides, at one point, Dennis Green’s Vikings went 9-5 against the Packers, but won only two division titles to the Packers’ three. The Packers had a Super Bowl title and were 8-4 in the playoffs, while the Vikings won only one playoff game.

Which team had more to boast about?

Finally, this game is absolutely not a memorandum on the quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers has outperformed Brett Favre in the first 19 games of his career, and may well win ten times as many games for the remainder of it.

It would be no more fair to compare the two in this game alone- than it would to compare them for the years after “The Traitor” finally does retire- and only Rodgers is still winning games.

This one game will be won or lost as a team.

Too bad for Rodgers and Packers fans, because Green Bay simply does not match up well in this one.

Packers pass offense vs. Vikings pass defense: Slight advantage, Minnesota

The Vikings do not have a very good secondary, and the Packers have a deep and dangerous receiving corps. The Packers have last year’s sixth-rated, and this year’s eighth-rated passer, making this seem to be a clear edge for the Packers.

Except for one thing: Green Bay also has one of the worst offensive lines in the history of the NFL, especially with left tackle Chad Clifton out injured. With the pressure coming from one of the NFL’s premier front-fours, Aaron Rodgers may be lucky to survive, much less thrive.

Packers rush offense vs. Vikings rush defense: Huge advantage, Minnesota

The front four of the Vikings is even more stout against the run, than they are rushing the passer, with two of their three Pro Bowl players getting that recognition for run-stuffing.

This team led the league in rush defense over the past two seasons, and are facing an offense that has struggled to run the ball primarily because of the poor offensive line play.

Vikings pass offense vs. Packers pass defense: Huge advantage, Green Bay

The Packers boast three Pro Bowl players in the secondary and have forced more turnovers than any team but the New Orleans Saints; with one fewer game played.

The player they are facing is well-known to them, and also a prodigious turnover machine, committing more of them than anyone in the history of the game.

Green Bay’s pass rush is also much-improved over last season, with its return to health and the implementation of the 3-4 defense wreaking more havoc on pass protections.

While the Vikings line is solid, it will struggle in this department unless the Vikings run the ball so well, as to keep the defense from being able to effectively pass rush.

Vikings rush offense vs. Packers rush defense: Huge advantage, Minnesota

Unfortunately for the Packers, the Vikings will run the ball well. Adrian Peterson makes even the best defenses look pedestrian, and his power running style attacks the 3-4 defense better than most.

While the Packers have improved enough in this department to be in the middle of the league, the Vikings may be the best running team around, making this an extreme mismatch.

Special Teams: Advantage, Packers

Green Bay is struggling in this department, with Mason Crosby playing inconsistent, and coverage and return units being unspectacular. Punting has been better than expected, but nothing to lay ones hopes on.

But the Vikings are the worst team in the league in covering punts.

Last year, they gave up two touchdown returns in one game against the New Orleans Saints, and one each in the two games against Green Bay. They already have given up big returns this year.

Their kick coverage is mediocre-at-best, and their return games no better. They do have a reliable kicker, but he isn’t good at 50-plus yards or on kickoffs, and their punting game is only above average.

Intangibles: Advantage, Green Bay

The pressure is on the Vikings to win this one. If they lose, the Packers will be unbeaten in the division and own the tie-break over the Vikings, with Minnesota having to win in Green Bay to even things up.

The Packers are expected to lose, making this like playing with house money.

Also, Brad Childress is on the hot seat and Mike McCarthy is not; Mac is 5-1 against his rival counterpart. The Traitor will likely try to win this game on every play, bringing out his worst.

Prediction: 27-16 Vikings

The game will just not be in enough jeopardy to count on The Traitor losing it for Minnesota. The Packers will struggle to do anything offensively to make this one in doubt in the fourth quarter.

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