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Armageddon Two: How The Packers Can Survive The Crucial Game in Minnesota

Alec DoppCorrespondent INovember 17, 2010

Armageddon Two: How The Packers Can Survive The Crucial Game in Minnesota

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It's really quite simple: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look to dowse Brett Favre for the final time in his historic career, all while improving to 7-3.  Makes sense, huh?

    Well, besides the main plot of Sunday's intriguing match-up between Green Bay and Minnesota, there are a few questions for the Pack as they come off their week of rest.

    These questions can only be answered come game-time Sunday afternoon.

    Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy's red-hot crew look to continue the successes put on against Favre's crew earlier in the season.

    The only way to determine the outcome of such a critical game is to look at the in-game action that will be as visible as ever come Sunday.

    Let's run the numbers.

Aaron Rodgers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The breakdown

    In Sunday night's victory over Dallas, Rodgers commanded the offense with ease, and will need to repeat those same progressions in Sunday's match-up in Minnesota.

    In the first game against the Vikings, Rodgers threw for 295 yards, 2 TD, and 2 INT.  Granted, the game was at Lambeau, but don't expect anything less than impressive from Mr. Rodgers come Sunday. Even against the league's 8th-ranked passing defense, Aaron Rodgers will get his throws to Greg Jennings and James Jones in.

    In such a critical divisional road game, Rodgers will have the weight of the world on his back.  How Rodgers copes with such pressure will determine whether or not the Packers come out on top.

    Rodgers is the Packers' key to the game.

    Projected Game Stats

    250 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Brandon Jackson

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Breakdown

    Although Jackson's official role within the offense has yet to be fully determined, he must continue to produce as much as possible.  Setting up the pass game with the run is arguably the most important key to a Packers victory on Sunday.

    Jackson managed to tally up just 42 yards and a touchdown Sunday night against the Cowboys, and the cloud of uncertainty surrounding Jackson still remains.

    This is the perfect opportunity for Jackson to step up and prove his worth against the league's 9th-ranked run defense.

    Look for Jackson to be targeted on multiple scree-plays within McCarthy's passing offense.

    Should Jackson not perform up to McCarthy's standards, look for James Starks to be mentioned throughout the following week.

    Projected Game Stats

    70 yards, 1 TD, 18 carries

James Jones

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Breakdown

    James Jones' value to the passing attack of the Packers is currently, well, invaluable.

    Jones tallied up 123 yards on eight receptions, including a touchdown grab in Green Bay's victory over Dallas last Sunday night.

    Against the 9th-ranked passing defense of the Vikings, Jones will need to step his game up even more.  WR Greg Jennings will likely be double-covered most of Sunday's game, and Jones must perform in the clutch like never before.

    Jones is now the 2nd-leading receiver on this Green Bay offense, passing Donald Driver in receiving yards last week.  Jones now has 407 yards, 2 TD, and 27 receptions so far this season.

    Projected Game Stats

    80 yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions

     

Greg Jennings

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    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    The Breakdown

    Leading the Green Bay receiving corps, WR Greg Jennings' agenda is simple: draw as many double-coverages as humanly possible.

    Jennings is Aaron Rodgers' biggest target this season, and unfortunately he will be subject to many blanket coverages from the Minnesota defense.

    Don't expect a huge statistical game from Jennings, however expect him to contribute beyond what is visible; giving back to the younger receivers such as James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Tom Crabtree.

    So far this season, Jennings has tallied up 551 yards receiving, along with six touchdowns on 39 receptions.

    Projected Game Stats

    90 yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions

     

Tom Crabtree

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    The Breakdown

    Fittingly enough, the Packers' 3rd-string tight end bears only one significant job come Sunday: catch the football when it is thrown.

    We as Packers fans have become so accustomed to our tight ends catching everything in sight, barreling over defenders, and dominating opposing secondaries, that we are not yet acquainted with such an "average" tight end.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you want to look at it that way) for Crabtree, he must overcome and deal with the inexperience and doubt from the fans, as he tries to make up for All-Pro Jermichael Finley.

    He won't come close to replacing Finley, but Crabtree can do what is asked of him: catch the football.

    Expect the Minnesota defense to double-cover Greg Jennings and James Jones early and often.  This could be Crabtree's time to shine.

    Projected Game Stats

    60 yards, 8 receptions

Offensive Line

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    The Breakdown

    Green Bay's offensive line has done a decent job gradually implementing Bryan Bulaga to the mix, along with protecting Aaron Rodgers from the rush.

    The Packers' o-line has given up 17 sacks, to go with 36 quarterback hits.  

    Improvement will be needed heading down the playoff-stretch.

    If the offensive line can protect, good things are in store for Aaron Rodgers and Brandon Jackson.

Clay Matthews

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    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    The Breakdown

    Hopefully Matthews can repeat his last performance against Brett Favre and company, this time around.

    Matthew effectively got after Jon Kitna, raking up three tackles, a sack, and an interception return for a touchdown.  We shouldn't doubt him.

    So far this season, Matthews has a league-leading 11 sacks, to go with 28 tackles and an INT.

    Matthews and the surprisingly effective Green Bay line-backing corps have one priority in mind: get to Favre.  Favre has proved to make costly mistakes while under pressure, including throwing an interception for a touchdown to Desmond Bishop last time they met.

    Projected Game Stats

    3 tackles, 2 sacks

Charles Woodson

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    The Breakdown

    Last year's defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson is again making his presence known to opposing offenses.

    Woodson leads the Packers in tackles (46), along with two interceptions and one sack.  Remember, we are talking about a corner-back.  Not a linebacker.

    Woodson seemingly comes up with big play after big play the last two seasons for the Packers, and he will need to get his fair share come Sunday if the Packers plan on winning.

    Expect Woodson to blitz more than you would expect, and look for Charles to come up with a big play on Sunday.  I just have a feeling.

    Projected Game Stats

    6 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF (forced fumble)

Mike McCarthy

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Breakdown

    The most important piece to the Packers' game-winning puzzle, Mike McCarthy will have to incorporate every play from the book if Green Bay wants a shot.

    Getting past Brett Favre for the final time of his coaching career will certainly bring enough controversy, however I think McCarthy and Dom Capers will figure something out.

    Balancing the playbook between pass and run will play a big part in Sunday's match-up.

    If the run game can get going, the Packers will win with ease.

    Look for contributions from the entire team on Sunday.

    Prediction

    Minnesota 17, Green Bay 31

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