Both the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings got some bad news on Thursday night, as the Chicago Bears improved to 7-3 on the season. When these two NFC North rivals meet for the second time this year, one will be able to keep up, while the other will be in some hot water.
The Packers are coming off of their two best performances of their season, a 9-0 win over the New York Jets and a 45-7 romp over the Dallas Cowboys, and their bye week. This is a crucial game for Green Bay, which can get back into a tie for first place in the division, can eliminate one more contender in the NFC playoff race, and can help keep pace with the best teams in the conference. Needless to say, the NFL’s No. 2 ranked scoring defense is going to have to once again do its job. When you’re talking about this ‘D’, you have to start with LB Clay Matthews, who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks in just eight games. The offense has started to click just a bit, as QB Aaron Rodgers has his act together having thrown for 2,300 yards on the campaign. However, he has only thrown four TDs against four picks on the road in 2010, and with four of the next five games coming away from Lambeau Field, this could be a trend to keep an eye on.
Speaking of INT happy, what about QB Brett Favre? The former Packer great has reverted to his old form that turns the ball over at will. Favre has 16 picks this season against just 10 TD passes, and unlike in seasons past when things inevitably would turn around, this year just doesn’t feel that way for No. 4 and his new purple clad teammates. The only thing to sit back to think about is how relatively easy this schedule is over the next month, especially if this game is won. A road game at the Washington Redskins is very winnable, and the team will probably be favored in at least two of the three at home against the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears. Still, someone aside from RB Adrian Peterson really needs to step up to help this offense out, or the Vikes aren’t beating anyone. “Purple Jesus” already has nearly 200 carries for the season, and he is quite possibly going to be the NFL’s first 1,000 yard back this week, as he needs just 92 yards to get there. The only thing that could prove to be a help is that Pro Bowl WR Sidney Rice is questionable to make his first appearance of the season after sitting out the first two month of the year with a hip injury.
We know that things should be getting easier for Minnesota, but there is no team in the world that the Packers would rather beat than this one. Green Bay knows that it can deliver the knockout blow to the Vikes, and to miss that opportunity would be catastrophic. This is a game that the Pack can’t afford to drop, even on the road.
Week 11 Free Pick: Green Bay Packers -3