Green Bay Packers v. Vikings: 10 Quick Observations

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Cornerback Kevin King #20 of the Green Bay Packers and teammates celebrate after his interception in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 23: Cornerback Kevin King #20 of the Green Bay Packers and teammates celebrate after his interception in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Despite losing the turnover battle the Green Bay Packers came away with the win and are the NFC North Champs once again. Here are 10 quick observations from their performance.

It was a very sloppy first half of football for the Green Bay Packers’ offense as they had three turnovers, all of which surprisingly came from their stars. However, behind a dominant defensive performance and a big second half from Aaron Jones, the Packers were still able to come away with the win.

Now at 12-3 on the season, Green Bay has clinched the NFC North and with a win next weekend in Detroit, they’ll clinch a first-round bye as well. Not to mention that the NFC’s No. 1 seed is still within reach with a little help from Seattle.

But before we begin looking ahead to next week’s matchup, I went back and rewatched Monday Night’s game against Minnesota and put together my 10 quick observations from the Green Bay Packers’ performance.

Davante Adams loves playing the Vikings

Whatever the reason might be – and in Davante Adams’ case it’s probably because of Xavier Rhodes – some players just love playing a certain team. And for Davante Adams, that team is the Minnesota Vikings. In week two of this season he would catch 7 of 9 passes for 106 yards and on Monday, he would catch 13 of 16 passes for another 116 yards. Bringing his grand total on the season to 20 receptions on 25 targets for 222 yards.

Aaron Jones also dominates the Vikings in 2019

Despite going up against one of the stingiest run defenses in the NFL, Aaron Jones has put up big numbers against Minnesota in both games this season. On Monday Jones would rush for 154 yards at nearly seven yards per carry with two touchdowns, including a 56-yard run to put the game away. Which gave him a season total against the Vikings of 270 rushing yards on 5.9 yards per carry with three touchdowns.

A Sloppy Game from Aaron Rodgers

For one we saw Aaron Rodgers miss a number of throws that he would usually make and not to mention that we saw him make some poor decisions as well. Of course there was the interception but he almost threw another in the end zone as he tried fitting the ball into a tight window. He’d also take a sack on the sidelines instead of throwing the ball away, and with seven seconds left in the first half as the Packers were looking to score, he ran the play clock down and burned the final timeout. However, while he did improve during the second half, overall this was still an uncharacteristic performance from Rodgers.

Allen Lazard finally played a larger role

Since the Detroit Lions’ game a while back, Allen Lazard has averaged less than four targets per game, while Aaron Rodgers was attempting nearly 33 passes during that same span. And although he had certainly earned more opportunities with his play, his role in the passing game was still small. Well, that was until Monday Night. Lazard was targeted nine times, which was the second most on the team and caught five of them for 45 yards. What we saw last night is more in line with where things should be moving forward.

Jaire Alexander and Kevin King were fantastic

The primary responsibilities of Jaire Alexander and Kevin King were to slow down one of the best wide receiver duos in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. While the Green Bay Packers’ defensive front certainly provided some help with the amount of pressure they were able to put on Kirk Cousins, Alexander and King had Diggs and Thielen locked down for much of the game. In the end they were targeted nine times by Cousins and hauled in just three receptions for 57 yards with one touchdown.

The Packer defense had their best game of the season

Although they were put into some bad positions by the offense, this Green Bay Packers defense was still able to put together their best performance of the season. The Minnesota offense would total just 139 yards on the night at an average of only 2.6 yards per play. They’d also have just seven first downs the entire game, went 4 of 15 on third downs, and as I mentioned above, Diggs and Thielen were basically non-factors. Overall it was just a dominating performance.

Za’Darius Smith…My goodness

With the season that Za’Darius Smith had already put together even before this Monday Night game, I was already running out of superlatives to describe his play on the field. But somehow last night he was able to put together what was perhaps his best game of 2019. And that is really saying something. Smith became a permanent resident of the Minnesota Vikings’ backfield as he’d total seven tackles, five of which were for a loss, and he’d also add 3.5 sacks along with 5 quarterback hits. What a truly incredible offseason addition Smith has been.

Matt LaFleur’s play calling was excellent

Although the execution at times wasn’t always there, the play calling from Matt LaFleur for the entire game was outstanding. A few too many times this season we have seen this Green Bay Packers’ offense stall once they get through their opening script at the beginning of the game, however, against Minnesota that wasn’t the case. We saw a great mix of run and pass plays, plenty of play-action, which I loved, as well as motion, shots down field, and quick passes to get the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands. Well done, Coach.

Kirk Cousins was uncomfortable

Even with Minnesota’s first offensive possession of the game beginning in the red zone, it was obvious early that Kirk Cousins was not comfortable at all. The Packers’ defensive front did a great job of pressuring him as they sacked him five times and had seven quarterback hits. In the end, Cousins would finish 16/31 for 122 yards with a touchdown, an interception, and a very low 3.9 yards per attempt average. When playing the Vikings a key to victory is pressuring Cousins and making him uncomfortable, which is exactly what Green Bay did.

Next. Packers v. Vikings: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. dark

The Packers controlled this game

The only reason this game was remotely close for as long as it was, was due to the turnovers in the first half. Other than that, the Green Bay Packers controlled this game from start to finish. They had more first downs, they were better on third downs, had more total yards, more yards per play, they ran more plays, and dominated time of possession. I’m sure you can see the point here that I’m trying to make, pick a stat and there is a good chance the Packers dominated it.