I wish I could say confidence is high. I really wish I could. But gut feeling tells me the Green Bay Packers, built for a dome, are going to struggle again in their home playoff game against the Vikings tomorrow.
One thing head coach Mike McCarthy has not grasped as head coach of the Packers is how to win at home in the playoffs. The teams McCarthy has built are better suited for a dome than the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. In a way, it is what it would be like if the Wisconsin Badgers hired a coach who doesn’t like to run the football. McCarthy’s offenses are not built for 10 degrees.
The Vikings on the other hand, are built for this weather. They have a strong running game and a better than average defense, plus a serviceable quarterback. The Vikings also live in this weather so any chance of the Packers having an advantage via the weather is out the window.
The Packers are finesse offense and are easily thrown off by even the most minimal of things. A slip by a wide receiver leaves Aaron Rodgers holding the ball long enough to watch “Gone with the Wind”. The Packers’ offense is so precise that any little thing throws them off. On the other hand, nothing can throw the Vikings’ offense off, Peterson is going to get his yards one way or the other. The Packers can only hope is he fumbles one their way, which he used to do frequently.
There have been rumblings that McCarthy is becoming more acceptable to running the ball and the second half of this season has shown that might be true. The question is do they have enough in DuJuan Harris to pull it off this year. The Packers beat the Vikings in Lambeau by executing an eleven minute drive to open the fourth quarter that lead to the game clinching field goal. A couple of those kind of drives on Saturday night would go along way in snapping the Packers’ Lambeau playoff skid.
Another reason why I am worried is because since the Super Bowl the Packers have not been good in big games. The divisional playoff game last year obviously is the worst, but losing the opener to San Francisco, tripled with the losses in Seattle, New York and now Minnesota all raise serious red flags.
By no means am I saying the Packers can’t win tomorrow night, but I do think it is a 50-50 shot at best. If I was a betting man that could bet against his own team, I would jump on the Vikings and bet the house. Even if the Packers win it won’t be by 7 1/2 points.
I can tell you what you want to hear and predict a Packers’ win, but my gut tells me otherwise. Vikings 23, Packers 20.