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Aaron Rodgers’ injury is one of the reasons why the Packers beat the Bears

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Well Womens Geronimo Allison Jersey , how was that for a season opener? Everyone, finally, doing all right about now? After looking at #Packers on twitter at half time, I’m glad that some who jumped off the nearest bridge ended up flying and those who took a long walk of the short pier were able to swim. I’m sure right about now your heart rates are close to back to normal. I’m more talking to fellow APC writer Matub on that one. For a little context, he sent our APC group chat updates on his bpm during the fourth quarter. He hit 121 on the Cobb touchdown and 109 after the Nick Perry sack to end the game. Reading the papers on Monday morning, there were many articles on how the Packers won Sunday night. Mostly, they were talking about how amazing Aaron Rodgers played, on one leg, after being carted off the field. Some were about how Matt Nagy played so conservative when he should have went for the throat and there were even some giving credit to how stout Mike Pettine’s defense played after the first quarter. All are noteworthy reasons to why the Packers had one of the most remarkable comebacks in recent memory. However, the real reason the Packers won that game was BECAUSE of the Aaron Rodgers injury. That’s right, if Aaron Rodgers would not have gotten injured and carted off, the Packers would have lost the game.Before you head to the comments to roast me on that take, let me explain. Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin’s game plan for the start of the game was an absolute mess. Nothing was working in the first half and the Bears defense absolutely dominated the Packers in every facet of the game. I don’t know if it was lack of playing time in the preseason, but the offensive line was a mess. Corey Linsley and Justin McCray made Akiem Hicks look like he was Warren Sapp. They had no answer what so ever for his bull rush. Bryan Bulaga just didn’t have the speed or time to prepare for the freak of nature that is Khalil Mack. As for the play calling, there were far too many deep drop backs for Rodgers. That gave Mack and the Bears plenty of time to get to Rodgers as the secondary was able to keep the Packer receivers in check for any of the mid to deep routes. The lack of blocking and good coverage led to a lot of scrambling and improvisation, and that played right into the hands of the pass rush of the Bears.Further proof of that is what happened to DeShone Kizer in his limited action. The pass rush and coverages led to Kizer making some very questionable decisions. While some will blame Kizer for the way he played rather than the play calling, I see that as a ridiculous argument. He’s only 22 years old and been with the team and playbook for about six months. He’s basically a rookie out there and it’s unrealistic to expect him to play at a NFL starting caliber right now. Brett Hundley had been with the team for three years and, arguably, had a better grasp on using his talent and the fundamentals of the offense — and we know how that ended. Stay patient with Kizer this year.McCarthy tried to call the game the same for Kizer as he did for Rodgers and it gift wrapped a Khalil Mack pick-six (something McCarthy admitted regretting in his Monday press conference). It just added insult to the Rodgers injury and now everyone was not just wondering what the future held with Rodgers but how bad would this game get before it was over.Now, usually McCarthy and company usually don’t completely abandon their game plans. They like to make small tweaks here and there but never completely change the way they are calling the game...that is, until Rodgers was injured but was deemed healthy enough to play in the second half.The second half started and it was like a completely different coaching staff was calling the plays. The reason it seemed that way was because the injury forced them to call the plays differently. The Rodgers injury limited his mobility and that made McCarthy and Philbin look at plays to make Rodgers get rid of the ball as quickly as possible.Gone were the snaps under center, gone were the deep drops, and while Rodgers did scramble when he had to, gone was anything with rolling out or excessive movement. As Rodgers put it after the game, “I was basically a statue out there.” The most unexpected thing was that it was just what the Packers needed. The quick passes neutralized the pass rush. Rodgers was barely touched because he was getting rid of the ball so quickly. Other than the Geronimo Allison touchdown and the Davante Adams 51-yard reception, there were very few, if any, passes that were actually caught more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. The Randall Cobb touchdown happened on third and ten; Cobb caught the ball at the sticks and he made everyone miss for the last 65 yards. Those short passes showcased the playmaking ability of the receivers and showed that short routes could be turned to gold. Now, would McCarthy and Philbin have changed the play calling if Rodgers didn’t get hurt? As I mentioned earlier Youth JK Scott Jersey , McCarthy has been frustratingly stubborn at making wholesale adjustments during a game and why would you ever call plays to limit the mobility of Aaron Rodgers? You wouldn’t. So it’s easy to imagine that they wouldn’t have changed as much as they had to and it would have been a similar story to the first half for the Packers.While the Aaron Rodgers injury scared Packer Nation to it’s core, be hopeful that it appears to be nothing serious and be thankful because it delivered a victory over the Bears. And for those like me, who live on the Wisconsin/Illinois border where half the area cheers for the Packers and the other half for the Bears, be thankful you don’t have to listen to Bears fans gloat until the Week 15 rematch.NFC North 2018 Previews: Minnesota Vikings by the numbers Green Bay Packers fans like to laugh at the Minnesota Vikings and their lone championship, but even though the franchise has been shut out of the big game more than just about anyone else, it’s worth noting they are consistently the rival most likely to cause trouble for Green Bay. Rick Spielman took over the front office in 2012 after a disastrous 3-13 season and immediately turned things around. Replacing Leslie Frazier with the defensive-minded Mike Zimmer was a big first step, in conjunction with taking a very scientific approach to player acquisition and team construction. Few front offices would be deft enough to deal with a severe injury to an up-and-coming quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), pull off a trade for an above average replacement (Sam Bradford), and when he was lost the following year, coax a great offensive season out of Case Keenum. Perhaps most impressively, they resisted the urge to overpay any of these people.The Vikings are, unsurprisingly, led by their defense, but few teams have managed to create the balance the Vikings enjoy. Most of their core stars are young and signed through at least 2020. They are one of the most well-run franchises in the NFL, and should be Super Bowl contenders for the foreseeable future.OffenseThe Vikings have a dominant defense and I basically have nothing bad to say about it, so let’s start with the offense, which has more questions than you may expect. On paper, this all looks pretty great. Running back Dalvin Cook will return from a torn ACL, and in the four games he did manage to play last year he was quite good. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry while contributing in the passing game. Most would agree that Kirk Cousins is an overall upgrade on Case Keenum, while Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are among the best receivers in football, and likely the top duo. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is fine.Last season, the Vikings were excellent as Keenum, of all people, led the league in DVOA. The run game struggled a bit with the loss of Cook, but overall they were the 5th best offense in football. That’s a great accomplishment for a team that was highly successful last season, eventually running into the Philly buzzsaw, but the Vikings are very likely to come back to the pack, and back behind the Pack of offense this season.The Cousins ConundrumEven if Cousins were to be a top five quarterback, the odds of replicating Keenum’s season from a year before would still be remote. Keenum Womens Davante Adams Jersey , due to talented receivers and a highly intelligent coaching staff, played well above his true talent level and produced a sensational season. Keenum was especially deadly in the red zone, where Minnesota as a whole ranked 2nd in passing DVOA, 70.1% above average. Only Philadelphia was better, which should tell you just how important Red Zone passing is. The Rams were 3rd, New England 4th. Last June I wrote a piece about this very thing, as Aaron Rodgers is one of the best all time at passing in the red zone, and in goal-to-go situations. It is one of the key things the separates him from average quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins, for all of his attributes, sticks out just as much as Rodgers, but not how you’d like it:Cousins doesn’t have great arm-strength, and as windows start to tighten near the end zone, he becomes less effective in a hurry. He wasn’t the quite as bad last season, but Washington still ranked 18th in passing DVOA in the red zone, and they fell to 23rd in goal-to-go situations. Cousins throws an accurate deep ball and, for a team that realizes his limitations, he can be an effective player. If Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray can power the ball in in goal-to-go situations, it won’t matter as much if Cousins struggles. The problem is that replacing passing with running, even in near the end zone, isn’t efficient, and even a good offense will lose something without the threat of a pass. The fact is that Cousins is likely to be worse than Keenum in general, just because Keenum was so good a year ago, but he’s also likely to be worse in this very specific way. It’s a hidden weakness of Cousins that can really derail an offense, and Minnesota has to deal with it.What About Diggs and ThielenDiggs and Thielen are great, and they are much of what made Keenum so good. The problem is that the Vikings have a big depth problem behind them. Laquon Treadwell has been a total bust so far, and while Kendall Wright is a decent backup, that’s all he is. They haven’t spent a high pick on receiver since Treadwell, and Stacy Coley hasn’t really impressed yet either. The fact is that the Vikings are paper thin behind their big two, and because Cousins will be so reliant on his weapons for production Youth Aaron Rodgers Jersey , an injury to either would be devastating. They’re also working with a new offensive coordinator with John DeFilippo taking over for Pat Shurmur, and while DeFilippo may be just fine, change isn’t always good for an offense — especially an offense that was clicking nicely thank you very much. The Vikings are likely to field an above average offense, and maybe even a top 10 unit, but there’s now some ceiling based on their choice of quarterback, and a pretty low floor based on lack of depth.DefenseThe defense, on the other hand, is outstanding, and weaknesses are few and far between. The Vikings may have gotten lit up by the Eagles in the playoffs, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. The Eagles are one of the smartest teams in the league, and they figured out everyone last year. Mike Zimmer knows how to put a defense together, and he has the talent to execute, with Shelden Richardson (late of Seattle) joining Everson Griffen, run-stuffer Linval Joseph, and Danielle Hunter to form a truly outstanding line. Quarterback-injurer Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are both above average, and the secondary outside of Tre Waynes is one of the best in the league and is as deep as it is good. Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith make life easier on even the weaker players, and the secondary ranked in the top 10 in DVOA guarding every receiver category except the slot, where they were 15th. They are bringing back every core player from that defense, and most of the truly important pieces are under contract for the next three years. The Minnesota defense is well-constructed and smartly run. They are likely to be a thorn in the side of the Packers and every other North team for years to come, and beating them will take the kind of creativity that you really only get out of Philly and New England. OverallThe Vikings’ defense will keep them in almost any game, and automatically gives them a solid eight-win base, but there are some cracks in the offense, and I expect them to take a fair step back. If Cousins is his normal self they’ll likely be an 11-12 win team, but if anything goes wrong and if they wind up kicking more field goals than they score touchdowns, they may find themselves in a very competitive NFC wild card chase.

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