As I’ve already covered the Bears versus Lions matchup on Thanksgiving Thursday, this week’s review focuses primarily on the Packers and the Vikings. Despite a slow start, the game really livened up halfway through the first quarter. In what turned out to be a battle between Rodgers and Cousins, the latter emerged victorious. This time by a score of 24-17.
Cousins Crushes Rodgers’ Playoff Hopes
Kirk Cousins once again displayed why he received that large 3-year deal in the off season in this rivalry. He completed 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns in an almost immaculate performance. Additionally, it must be noted that his ability to remain in the pocket under stout pressure was phenomenal as always. For his efforts, Cousins was awarded the game ball, and rightly so!
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 26, 2018
On the rushing front, Latavius Murray was the leading rusher with 11 carries for just 33 yards. Dalvin Cook also received 10 carries but only amassed 29 yards. In spite of the lack of running game, the Packers couldn’t contend with the Vikings in terms of the pass game. And that, was really where the game was won and lost.
On the other hand, Adam Thielen returned to fine form with 8 receptions for 125 yards and a TD. With those numbers, he averaged an outstanding 15.6 yards per reception. Similarly, Stefon Diggs had another solid game with 8 receptions for 77 yards and a TD of his own.
Defensively, there are no statistics to shout about. However, Sheldon Richardson compiled 7 total tackles and 2 sacks asserting his dominance at the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, Everson Griffen and Tom Johnson both notched a sack in the game.
One major negatory factor from the game on Sunday was Dan Bailey. He missed 2 of 3 FG’s in another shaky performance since his arrival in week 4. So far this season he has attempted 20 field goals and missed 5 of those. This being something HC Mike Zimmer alluded to in his latest press conference.
Packers Poor Again
The Green Bay Packers have been fairly abysmal all season long and this game was exactly that.
Aaron Rodgers had a relatively poor game for his standards with just 198 yards and 1 TD on 17 passes. He was, however, pressured all game long which forced him into evading the pocket.
Aaron Rodgers has lost 8 straight road starts.
It's the longest streak by a Packers QB since David Whitehurst lost 9 straight from 1978-81.#Packers
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 26, 2018
In spite of Rodgers’ poor performance, Aaron Jones had another good game with 17 carries for 72 rushing yards and a touchdown. Many Packer fans believe that Head Coach Mike McCarthy needs to trust the run game even more, as every time it’s successful they win. However, it appears that McCarthy is simply unwilling to change.
On the defence, Blake Martinez had an exceptional game with 13 total tackles. In addition, Kenny Clark produced 4 tackles and 1 sack, whilst Dean Lowry contributed 3 tackles and a sack of his own.
Regardless, the Packers were insufficient in stopping the Vikings offence, especially before entering their own half. This led to 3 field goal opportunities, which could’ve killed the game off had Bailey converted them.
On the whole, the offence must accept fault for this crushing defeat. Aaron Rodgers in particular, who must improve from an uncharacteristic poor performance. Mike McCarthy will be under fire too, with many fans begging the question: when is enough, enough?
How the NFC North Looks Now
After the Chicago Bears saw off the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Thursday, 16-23, they solidified their lead at the top. Following closely behind are the Vikings. They boast a record of 6-4-1 with momentum on their side entering a clash with the Patriots next. The Packers, with a .409 winning percentage, are third in the North at 4-6-1. They will seek an easy win against the Cardinals come Sunday. The Lions sit at 4-7, bottom of the division with their playoff hopes fading each week. They must win against the Rams on Sunday also.
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