TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 13: Minnesota Vikings At Green Bay Packers

Vikings
Packers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers
Quarterback
Christian Ponder has lacked consistency. At his best, he is a decent game manager. At his worst, he is substandard. When he has to face a strong opponent that is in a desperate position to win, he doesn’t have the all-around game to give his team a legitimate chance to win.
Winner After struggling in Week 12 against the Giants, you can expect Aaron Rodgers to come through with a big effort in this game. The Packers did not protect Rodgers well enough against New York, so you can be sure that Mike McCarthy will emphasize that in practice. Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in the league and he should be ready for a big game.
Offense
Adrian Peterson is the best power back in the NFL. There is nothing fancy about his game. He has already rushed for 1,236 yards and he should have no problems exploiting the Packers’ defense. Percy Harvin (ankle) is an explosive player and the Vikings are at a disadvantage when he is not in the lineup. Kyle Rudolph can get open and make plays on third down from the tight end position..
Winner The Packers have had some problems protecting Rodgers. The running game has also been very ineffective. Yet McCarthy still keeps insisting on giving the ball to Alex Green. Jordy Nelson is an explosive downfield receiver and so is Randall Kobb. Jermichael Finley wants the ball more from his tight end position, but he has a tendency to drop the ball.
Defense
Winner The Vikings are a fundamentally sound defense that depends on positioning and athleticism. They are solid against the run and the pass. Defensive end Jared Allen has the speed to run around the corner and get to Rodgers.. Outside linebacker Chad Greenway is a solid tackler and a big hitter who can take the ball away with his hard hitting.
The Packers got pushed around against New York and they must play with more toughness. The Packers got hit in the mouth early by the Giants and they did not respond. That’s got to change in this game. If linebacker Clay Matthews can return for this game, the Packers will respond with much more forceful play. If he can’t, someone else must emerge.
Special Teams
Winner The Vikings are a threat to score on kickoff and punt returns. Harvin has explosive speed and even better instincts as a punt returner. Blair Walsh has been solid in his placekicking, making 24-of-26 field goal attempts.
It’s been an awful season for Mason Crosby. He has made 12-of-20 field goal attempts this season and he is unable to find any consistency. Tim Masthay had a poor game against the Giants in Week 12, averaging 38.5 yards on his punts. Cobb can be an explosive weapon in the return game.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings Green Bay Packers v San Diego Chargers

The Vikings have played hard this year and exceeded expectations. However, Ponder is not the kind of quarterback who can make big plays at key moments. Rodgers obviously can and he will be determined to bounce back after the Packers’ loss to the Giants win Week 12.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  2. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Learn How
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live