Green Bay, WI (WCCO)- The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers enter their Week 2 matchup both coming off wins in their opening games, that featured strong defensive performances.
The Packers new-look defense, under coordinator Mike Pettine, swarmed and overwhelmed Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears in the season opener, holding them to just three points. Green Bay’s unit registered five sacks and 11 quarterback hits in the win, with free agent pickups Preston and Za’Darius Smith garnering 2.5 of those.
For the Vikings, the defense and special teams set up the offense with great field position, blocking a punt and picking off Matt Ryan on Atlanta’s first two drives. That gave Kirk Cousins and the offense short fields of 21 and 41 yards to go, and they converted on both to jump out to a quick 14-0 lead. With how the two defenses looked in the opening week, it’s hard to tell who has the edge in this game. The trends say more of the same.
“First thing you have to look at is that home-field advantage, 12-0-1 in their last 13 September games. That is kind of daunting if you’re a Vikings fan, plus 5-1 against the number. The home team has covered five of the last six in this series,” said Sportsline senior analyst Larry Hartstein. “But, when Mike Zimmer is catching points, he is 22-13, 63 percent against the spread. So that is one that makes you feel good if you’re back in Minnesota.”
Even the trends have arguments for both teams in this one. One other thing to note, neither offense played particularly well in the opener, which, combined with the play of the defenses, could lead to a low-scoring affair.
“Minnesota threw the ball 10 times which is kind of like 1920s football, but that is what they want to do. They want to run the ball. They hired Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison, these are run game experts,” said Hartstein. “It’s not going to be 10 times, it may be 20 times, but these are two elite defenses.”
The combination of clock-killing offense and swarming defenses makes this game have the feel of a throwback style of game, with the score on the lower end. If you’re a Vikings fan, as Hartstein said, coach Mike Zimmer’s teams have performed well when they have been the underdogs in the past, and that is currently the case heading into kickoff, with the line set at Green Bay -3.
Sunday’s matchup kicks off at Lambeau Field at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.