After an exciting game Thursday night, time to look forward to the Packers game Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Vikings. Here are my stat projections for the upcoming game.
It seems like every year the Packers start off to a sluggish start in game one. After the starters miss most, if not all of the preseason, they enter the regular season with the training wheels still attached until at least the second quarter. I don’t expect any of that to change this year. It should be a slow start but each drive should have increased production. Several injured playmakers will be suiting up, this will help quarterback Aaron Rodgers locate more targets.
Packers Passing Attack
Aaron Rodgers: 25/35, 245 pass yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 3 rushes, 15 rush yards, 0 interceptions
Rodgers should have a standard outing against the Vikings with nothing special on the stat line. He will put up top 15 fantasy stats for Week one as I expect some games will end up in shootouts whereas others will be lopsided due to blowouts. Expect Rodgers to move the ball around to everyone and throw to the open man.
Packers Dynamic Rushing Duo
Aaron Jones: 15 rushes, 62 yards, five receptions, 40 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown
AJ Dillon: 15 rushes, 48 yards, one rushing touchdown, three receptions, 20 receiving yards
During training camp, Head Coach Matt LaFleur pointed out that both star running backs will receive a 50-50 timeshare this season. Last season it was close but Jones definitely received more touches. I expect both running backs to receive similar touches in the rushing attack with Dillon getting the goal line touchdown. Jones will be used more in the receiving game as he usually is and will receive one of Rodgers’s passing touchdowns.
Packers New Receiving Group
Sammy Watkins: Five receptions, 52 receiving yards
Christian Watson: Six receptions, 58 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown
Randall Cobb: One reception, eight receiving yards
Romeo Doubs: Two receptions, 45 receiving yards
Robert Tonyan: Three receptions, 22 receiving yards
With top receiver Allen Lazards still nursing that injured ankle, he has missed three straight practices and will most likely be held out of game one at this point. We’ll find out more when the final injury report is released. If he plays, he’ll take targets from Sammy and Christian as well as some of their yards. The focal point in the receiving attack should be on Sammy Watkins and rookie Christian Watson.
Randall Cobb will probably get a couple of targets but only secure one ball for a first down. Tonyan is on track to suit up after logging several limited practices so expect him to get some looks and catches. Rookie sensation Romeo Doubs will have a couple of catches from lobs thrown by Rodgers.
Packers Special Teams
Mason Crosby: Three extra points, two field goals – 35 yards and 38 yards
Pat O’Donnell: Three punts, 46 punt yard average, two punts inside the 20
Mason Crosby has logged in a full practice and will be the kicker on Sunday. This will be his 242nd consecutive start with the Packers. After a successful knee scope procedure that he had gotten done in early August, he looks to put his poor 2021 performance to rest and start this season strong. New Packers punter Pat O’Donnell will bring his veteran experience to a special teams squad that has struggled in the past in all areas.
Packers Fortified Defense
Green Bay Defense: Two sacks, one interception, 24 points against
With two new rookies Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, this team will be the Mean Green Machine. The defense has been a struggle lately but this should be the best Packers defense that Green Bay has had in a while. Cornerback Jaire Alexander is healthy after his injury last season and will look to bounce back with second-year Eric Stokes and electric Rasul Douglas. Expect this trio to hold down opposing receivers from breaking away.
The linebackers, edge rushers, and beast mode Kenny Clark should be able to penetrate the opposing offensive line and find the quarterback. A quick release off the line will provide less time for the opposing quarterback in the pocket and less accurate throws. The Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins, isn’t perfect and will throw at least one interception and get sacked twice. The sensational Vikings wide receivers will prove to be a handful for the Packers at first but shouldn’t last all game.