PFF Preview: Packers @ Vikings, Week 12
Coming off of back to back 50 point games, the Green Bay Packers will travel to Minnesota with the NFC North division lead in sight. One of the hottest teams in the league, the Packers have won six of their last seven by an average of 25 points, with a speed bump in New Orleans being their only loss of the past two months. As our highest-graded quarterback on the season, Aaron Rodgers (+30.3) has been nigh unstoppable as of late, posting a grade of +1.0 or higher in each of his last seven games. He’s not alone in that offense, though. His top two receivers sit at No. 1 and No. 2 in touchdowns, and the offensive line as a whole has been the fifth best pass protecting unit with a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 84.4.
Meanwhile, Minnesota is on a different point of the quarterback spectrum. While he hasn’t played poorly, Teddy Bridgewater is still far from a finished product. Hesitant at times to push the ball down the field, the first-round pick has mostly avoided turning the ball over (six interceptions in seven games) and so far appears to be the best rookie signal-caller. He’ll be up against an opportunistic Packer defense that has 14 interceptions on the year, led by Casey Hayward’s three. It remains to be seen how much the Vikings will be able to get out of waiver wire pickup Ben Tate, but a heavy dose of the running game against a Packer defense that has struggled against the run might just what the Vikings need to keep Rodgers on the sideline.
Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson – Undoubtedly a large part of Rodgers’ success, Nelson has caught 56.3% of all deep passes thrown his way, the second-highest rate in the league. His 2.90 Yards per Route Run are the most of any receiver with at least 50 targets.
Clay Matthews – Spending a far greater portion of his snaps inside over the last two games hasn’t slowed Matthews down at all. He has a sack in four straight games and has a +7.3 grade over those games. With Matt Kalil struggling this year, it will be interesting to see if he reverts back to his primary role on the right side this week.
Josh Sitton – A massive reason for the offensive line’s improvement is the stellar play of Sitton. He’s allowed two hits and three hurries on the year in 380 pass blocking snaps.
Everson Griffen – Flourishing in a full-time role this season, Griffen is fourth among 4-3 defensive ends with 41 total pressures. He’ll be facing off against a capable pass protector in David Bakhtiari (+6.9 pass blocking).
Sharrif Floyd – With the mid-season resurgence of Eddie Lacy, it will be up to Floyd (+11.8 run defense) to clog running lanes and disrupt the offensive line. The sophomore defensive tackle’s last three games have each resulted in a run defense grade of +2.0 or higher.
Greg Jennings – Against his former team, Jennings will need to improve on the two-catch, 31-yard game he had against the Packers in Week 5. He’s yet to top 80 yards in a game this year, but it’s hard to pin all of that on Jennings, as 45 receivers have seen more passes thrown their way this year than his 58.
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