When the Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings in the first NFC Wild Card Game of the 2013 NFL playoffs on Saturday night, the margin of victory will be far greater than the three points that the Vikings beat the Packers by in Week 17.
It's going to be a convincing win, one that reminds the rest of the NFC that the Packers are a team to be reckoned with.
But wait, what about Adrian Peterson? Won't he have something to say about the outcome of this game?
Of course he's going to, considering that Peterson has carried the ball 55 times for 409 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Green Bay's defense this year.
There's little, if anything, that the Packers can do to stop him.
But Minnesota QB Christian Ponder isn't going to have the kind of performance that he did last week.
How can I be so sure?
There's the fact that he's never dealt with conditions like what he's going to face at Lambeau Field:
Vikings QB Christian Ponder has never played in a game below 40 degrees. Green Bay weather tonight: 25 degrees and flurries.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 5, 2013
Then there's this, courtesy of B/R's Aaron Nagler:
Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) January 5, 2013
That's right, folks, we might have a Joe Webb sighting Saturday night. It's something the Vikings have been preparing for, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson:
A Vikings team source told me due to the elbow injury Ponder suffered last Sun. backup QB Joe Webb took extra snaps in practice this week.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 5, 2013
To be fair, it really doesn't matter whether it's Ponder or Webb under center for the Vikings—though Webb's ability to take off running would add a wrinkle to the Vikings offense that could be somewhat successful.
This is also a different defense than the Vikings last faced:
Charles Woodson has been cleared to play this week. Will he make a difference on defense against the Vikings?: pckrs.com/w85z— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 2, 2013
That's an easy one to answer. You bet he's going to make a difference.
And we haven't even touched on the fact that Minnesota CB Antoine Winfield is questionable with a hand injury (he's going to play, of course) or that the Packers receiving core is healthy for the first time in months:
Packers' receiving corps at full strength, feeling "very dangerous" wp.me/p14QSB-6SyH— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 5, 2013
Aaron Rodgers simply has too many weapons—and Minnesota has too few—for this game to have any other conclusion than a definitive Packers victory.
By the time the third quarter is over, there won't be any doubt that Green Bay will still be playing next weekend.
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