October 26, 2013

Arman Three Pack Preview: Minnesota Vikings

James Starks is back in the mix at RB this week. How much time (i.e., carries) does he see and will he be effective after missing a few weeks? How, if at all, will that affect Eddie Lacy's rhythm in the offense since he's used to 20+ carries the past three weeks?

Adam: I think there's still enough to go around in terms of easing Starks into the mix. I expect Lacy to still see 17-22 carries and Starks to maybe get 5-7. With Lacy's production the team has the luxury of bringing him back progressively and utilizing him to spell Lacy including some third down situations.

Shane: I think it all depends on Starks' early production and burst. McCarthy will ride the hot hand--he's not impartial to Lacy just because he's been the starter; he's impartial to productivity. The Vikings run defense is one of the worst in the NFL, so I predict Lacy gets around 15 carries and Starks 8-10, with both having success. We might just see 200+ yards rushing in this game from the Packers backfield.

Adrian Peterson hasn't had a ton of success this year, but is still top-5 in rushing yards in the NFL. Is there any reason to believe he'll have a breakout game against the Packers?

Adam: Christian Ponder has a lot riding on this performance and the idea of him stepping up to try and save his job is a little worrisome. However, the book still reads loading up the box to stop Peterson and dare the Vikings to take shots down the field is the way to go. The Packers seem to realize with the abundance of injuries that game planing and playing assignment sound football is a must to continue winning. I expect the Packers to live up their 1st ranked rush defense billing and hold Peterson under 100 yards.

Shane: Peterson is dealing with some lingering injury issues but in divisional play he brings a different level of intensity. If the Packers clog up the middle, expect Minnesota to try screen and short pass plays to get Peterson in the open field. The prospect of any of the Packers linebackers trying to cover AP is very scary. This is how the Packers COULD get burned.

The Packers are pretty heavy favorites again this week, but they're playing at the Dome. How will the Vikings keep this contest close? Conversely, how can the Packers run away with a big win?

Adam: Rodgers realizes the value of starting fast on the road in this hostile environment. I look for GB to sustain some long drives early and continue their upward trend of efficiency in the red zone. Jumping out to early lead is the best way to neutralize the crowd and limit the amount of touches that Adrian Peterson will have. I hope the injuries continue to leave the Packers hungry and focused to shutout any chance of a letdown. Go Pack Go!!

Shane: The only way this one stays close is if the Packers lose the turnover battle. They must play fundamentally sound and the rest will take care of itself. Last year Ponder made some plays down field on the Packers secondary, but with Green Bay's improvement those opportunities will be few and far between. Big plays is how the Packers can open this one up. In each of the last few games the running game has helped open up down field throwing lanes and we'll see that happen in a bigger way Sunday night. I predict Rodgers will connect with both Nelson and Boykin on 40+ yard plays.

Score prediction:

Adam: 31-17 Pack!
Shane: 27-7 Packers


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