During the opening week of the NFL season, Green Bay Packers fans went through a roller coaster of emotions that resulted in an instant-classic-never-forget-where-you-were game against archrival Chicago Bears. This week, the Pack welcomes another division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. The key matchup to this game is the Packers young secondary versus the Vikings passing offense.
Packers Defensive Backs
In recent memory, the Packers secondary has been, perhaps, its weakest link. This past off-season, new general manager Brian Gutekunst addressed the issue by drafting two cornerbacks with the Packers first two selections (Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson), and signed veteran cornerback Tramon Williams. They joined a secondary led by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and a few young bucks like safeties Josh Jones and Kentrell Brice, and second-year cornerback Kevin King.
The secondary is young but promising. In last week’s game, they got better as the game went on. A pessimist would argue that Aaron Rodgers’ return sparked the team, but the defense held Chicago to only six second-half points, after giving up 17 before the intermission.
Alexander received the second highest-grade among rookie defensive backs in his NFL debut. He enters Week Two as the 11th-highest graded cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, his fellow rookie Jackson enters the week as the eighth-highest graded safety, according to PFF.
This week the Packers young defensive back will have a challenging game against a veteran receiving corps led by one of the premier quarterbacks in the league.
Vikings Passing Offense
The Minnesota Vikings are angry. Last season ended prematurely in a resounding fashion at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. They heard the chirping, the noise, that their season was a fluke, that they got embarrassed, that their franchise has played the most playoff games without a title. This week is a statement game.
Stefon Diggs is coming off a season where he had 64 receptions, 849 yards, and eight touchdowns season and resulted in him signing a five-year, $72 million contract extension. His running mate, Adam Thielen, had a 91-1,276-4 season. They have become one of the most unstoppable duos in the NFL.
Longtime Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph does a lot of damage in the middle of the field, and with his imposing size (6’6, 265) will be a considerable asset for newly signed quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins was one of the lone bright spots in Washington. Unfortunately, for him, the franchise did not want to commit to him long-term. This off-season, he signed with the Vikings, after posting three consecutive 4,000+ passing yards, at least 64-completion percentage, and 2.25 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past three seasons combined.
These are two of the best teams in the NFL. Despite being only in Week Two, this game has playoff implications. It will be an exhilarating game, and with the Rodgers emotional factor – Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr broke his collarbone last season – it has the makeup to be another instant classic game between two decorated division foes. Ultimately, the Packers are, once again, in the confines of Lambeau Field, and with home support, they will prevail.
Packers 27-24 Vikings
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Week Two Keys: Green Bay Packers Defensive Backs vs. Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense