Coming off back to back 50 plus point games, the Green Bay Packers snuck by the division rival Minnesota Vikings Sunday 24-21. The win improves the Pack to (8-3) on the season and most importantly, the lead in the NFC North as the Detroit Lions lost to the New England Patriots.
Head coach Mike McCarthy affirmed the most difficult challenge is handling success. The Packers proved their focus as this was a potential trap game. Division games are always tough, especially away as this was their first visit to the outdoor Vikings’ field and it’s always nice to have a bruising back in the winter months.
Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy smashed the Vikings in the mouth last time these teams met. It was much of the same Week 12 as Lacy ran for a season high 125 yards. His goal line dive opened the scoring and Lacy just tired out the Vikings all game. The holes are getting bigger and in the open field, hitting Eddie Lacy is a business decision.
Lacy has also become a great receiver out of the backfield. He’s third on the team with 29 catches. He caught his third touchdown of the year on a shovel pass from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers flipped it to Lacy and he barrels through the endzone.Rodgers and Rodgers play catch.
Combining a bruising runner like Lacy with prolific quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes this offense almost unstoppable. With Lacy in the backfield and MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers at the helm, play action must be fun.
In the redzone, Rodgers rolled out off play action. In a beautifully schemed fake, he found tight end Richard Rodgers wide open in the opposite corner of the endzone. A-Rod showed off his incredible arm strength throwing from the right hash to the left corner. Rodgers was so open, he could’ve called a fair catch. That’s making it look easy.
Despite being a close game, the defense fared well making Bridgewater struggle in his progressions. Limiting the rookie to a 40.2 QBR, the Pack recorded two sacks and a pick.
It was the 19th consecutive game with a takeaway for Green Bay. Micah Hyde’s interception was in front of former Packer Greg Jennings, which made it even better.Micah Hyde picks off Teddy Bridgewater.
Hyde has been a playmaker of late. His four tackles, sack, and pick in Minnesota aren’t something to sneeze at. Looking back to his pick against the Bears, his punt return for a touchdown against Philly, now another pick in Minnesota, it looks like we found a safety. This impressive string of big plays in consecutive weeks is a testament to his versatile skills and knowledge of the game converting to free safety in just his second year. The Packers were the only team last year to not record an interception from the safety position. This year, they already have three. And that includes two by Hyde. The other is by rookie first round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
It’s hard to lose when forcing turnovers while not committing them. Rodgers has thrown 11 td’s and protected the ball with zero turnovers in the Green Bay’s three game winning streak.
Next up is a premier matchup between not only the two best quarterbacks in the league, but the two best teams right now; Brady vs. Rodgers, a shootout between the two #12’s. We finally get to see it, the Packers vs. the Patriots. And how fitting, it’s a December game in Lambeau Field with both teams fighting for playoff seeding. This would be a quality win for the Pack trying to extend the winning streak to four and keep the NFC North lead. What could be the difference is the running game keeping the other qb on the bench. Let Lacy rock.