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Border battle round 1 came and went Sunday night without many surprises. A resourceful Aaron Rodgers was as efficient as ever and continued his statistical dominance in domed stadiums. Meanwhile a nationally televised audience tuned in to see another showing of The Curious Case of Christian Ponder: a film directed by Vikings management where a quarterback drafted 12th overall for his maturity and future potential steadily regresses over 3 years to his current infantile state of a completely helpless game manger. This was in all likelihood a sad last gasp for Ponder’s career, and if Greg Jennings had any awareness he would have realized that it was his current quarterback that was in need of a post-game hug.
The Good: Balance
36 called runs and 35 called pass plays added up to zero Packer punts and 44 points on the road. This balanced attack combined with Rodgers’ crazy efficiency on 3rd and 4th down conversions wore-down an exhausted Vikings defense and resulted in the Packers scoring on their first 7 offensive drives. Rodgers has never had this kind of balance and every indication is that a productive run game is here to stay. This team has a scary amount of upside if it can play this well in its current state. As injured players gets back on the field in coming weeks the Packers late-season outlook is that of a NFC power-house.
The Bad: Giving up 31
Two garbage-time touchdowns came in the last 4:45 of the 4th when the game was in hand and another on an opening 109 yd kickoff return. The other 55 minutes were completely dominated by the Packers. Even the Vikings touchdown right before the end of the half was aided by a phantom pass interference call on Tramon Williams a few plays before. Add all this up and you can make a very convincing case that this game played closer to a 44-3 outcome in the Packers favor. Pack get a pass on the 31.
The Ugly: Awkward Post-Game Hugs
I’m all for hugging it out. Nothing like a good old bro-hug to cut the tension and kick start the healing process between two old friends. The only problem is that this cringe worthy interaction was completely one-sided. One look at Rodgers’ facial expression and it was obvious that he was not having it. It just got more and more awkward as Rodgers’ multiple attempts to covertly squirm away from Jennings unrelenting grip were all unsuccessful. Either Rodgers has not forgiven Jennings for his slew of passive-aggressive off-season jabs, or Greg was sportin’ some pretty nasty B.O. Jennings better load up on the Old Spice because its going to be hard for him to believe in him-smelf with Vikings QB’s throwing him the ball the rest of the season.
Next Week: Chicago
The Packers have won their last 6 contests against the Bears. With Jay Cutler sidelined and an injury-depleted defensive line that has been susceptible to the run, the Packers won’t need to count on luck for number 7. For this Halloween edition post I project that the Monsters of the Midway are in for long day at Lambeau, so smoke ’em if you got ’em Jay Cutler.
Prediction: Packers 36, Bears 23
Derek Kissinger digs Wisconsin even though he went to the University of Minnesota. You can’t follow him on Twitter because he is a hipster and doesn’t buy into that ish.
Category - Sports Culture