COMMENTARY | The Green Bay Packers came away with a big 44-31 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. They improved to 5-2 with the win and kept their lead in the NFC North division race. There were five things in particular that stood out in their win.
1. The Ground Game is Legit
Green Bay put up 182 total yards on the ground against the Vikings and received big games from both Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Starks was finally back after recovering from an injury and had a big game, rushing for 57 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries. Eddie Lacy also had a good game on the ground with 94 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. If both of these guys are able to have solid games each week, the Packers are going to be very difficult for opposing defenses to stop.
2. Receivers are Stepping Up
The Packers were without wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones once again this week, but they also tacked Jermichael Finley to the injury list this week. Young wide receivers Myles White and Jarrett Boykin stepped up and played good games on Sunday Night for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense. White caught five passes for 35 yards, while Boykin had a bigger game with five catches for 89 yards. Green Bay will be asking these two guys to play big for them even when Jones comes back with the injuries to Finley and Cobb still remaining.
3. The Defense Played Better than the Final Score
While some fans may look at the 44-31 final score and say that Green Bay's defense allowed too many points to a struggling Minnesota offense, the final score did not indicate how the defense actually played. The Vikings scored 14 of those 31 points in the final four minutes and thirty seconds of the game in garbage time. Obviously they still scored the points, but Green Bay's defense made things nearly impossible for the Vikings to get a rhythm going. Don't forget that another one of Minnesota's touchdowns were on a 109-yard kickoff return from Cordarrelle Patterson. If you subtract those 21 points, the Green Bay defense only allowed 10 points to the Viking offense when things actually mattered.
4. Micah Hyde is a Key Factor
Hyde was drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft and many didn't expect him to contribute for the Packers right away. Those people turned out to be dead wrong. Sunday night showed off two areas in which Hyde has already become a key piece of the Packers. Defensively he has been a sure tackler and good pass-rusher. He recorded six tackles on the night and played a solid all-around game. Special teams is where Hyde has really taken a firm grip of his big role. He was able to return a punt 93 yards for a touchdown before halftime to help give the Packers a 24-17 halftime lead and take the momentum to the second half.
5. Jordy Nelson is Elite
One name that you don't hear about too much when it comes to elite wide receivers is Jordy Nelson. Nelson has quietly been one of the most consistent wide receivers throughout his career and had yet another big game against the Vikings. He caught seven passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns to lead Green Bay in receiving, and shredded the Vikings' secondary. There are not too many wide receivers in the NFL that are bigger play-makers than Nelson has been for the Packers this year.
Overall, this game was a very important win for the Packers. They were favored to win, but the Vikings were hungry to get a big win to help their playoff chances. The Packers were able to hold Adrian Peterson in check for the most part, and forced Christian Ponder to work for every yard that he threw for. If the Green Bay defense continues to play the kind of football they did on Sunday, the Packers are going to be hard to beat. Aaron Rodgers played a nearly perfect game and looked like an MVP quarterback once again. There is a lot of excitement in Green Bay as usual, and there is certainly good reason to be excited following the win over the Vikings.
Evan Massey lives in Indianapolis and has followed the Green Bay Packers for the past 16 years. He has written for many sports websites including ProSportsExtra.com, Hoops-Nation.com, ProFootballSpot.com, and NaptownsFinest.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @massey_evan.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Green Bay Packers
- Green Bay
- Minnesota Vikings