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The final matchup to watch this week comes from the all-NFC North showdown between Minnesota and Green Bay once more, with the focus squarely on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
There is no doubt that the reigning MVP and former Super Bowl MVP is one of the most talented players in the game and one of the strongest quarterbacks in the history of the game. His numbers this year have been outstanding, albeit not as strong as last year, and he has led the Packers to another divisional title and playoff berth—which is all you can really ask of him.
Having said that, Rodgers has been severely hindered and crippled this year by his offensive line, which has given up far too many sacks and hits, forcing the quarterback to leave the pocket far too many times per game.
Rodgers has been sacked more than any other quarterback this year (51 times) and has been forced to throw the ball away 20 times this year, ranking him seventh in the league. When under pressure, Rodgers is forced to take the sack nearly 30 percent of the time (per ProFootballFocus (subscription required)).
The Packers also rank among the bottom five teams this year in run-blocking efficiency, proving that their offensive line inabilities have severely hindered their offensive production. Compare that then to the Minnesota Vikings pass rush, led by Jared Allen, which ranks fifth across all teams this year in pass-rush efficiency and sacks for the season.
Last week against Rodgers, the Vikings totaled five sacks, three hits and 13 hurries en route to victory. And if they can post similar numbers again this week, expect the result to once again go down to the wire between these two NFC North teams.
I'd say that the Vikings pass rush beats the Packers offensive line but that it doesn't quite restrict Rodgers as well as it did last week. So the pass rush gets the win in this battle here, but I can't quite see the Vikings winning the war come Saturday night.
Predicted winner: Minnesota Vikings pass rush
What matchups are you most looking forward to this week?
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