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Packers Prepped For Deciding Shootout


The first two times the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings got together this season, the teams racked up a combined 130 points in just 120 minutes of play. Many players in the Green Bay locker room are expecting more of the high-flying, high-scoring action this Sunday in the third and most crucial meeting of the series.

Understandably, members of the Packers offense are licking their chops for the game after scoring 68 points - 34 in each contest - and finding the end zone eight times against their NFC North Division rivals, who sport the 28th-ranked defense at the end of the regular season.

Wide receiver Javon Walker knows that he and his teammates may have to match or even better their standard of 34 points if they want to emerge victorious over the Vikings for a third time in nine weeks.

"We both have offenses that can attack at any time, so I'm very confident that we're going to put up some points," Walker said. "We're going to need to put up points to win because they're an explosive offense too, so we're going to do what it takes to pull out this victory."

What might be somewhat surprising is the fact that even some members of the defense of the Green and Gold are anticipating another shootout.

Cornerback Al Harris said he and his fellow defenders are going to do whatever it takes to win and isn't concerned with how many points they give up, as long as it's at least one less than the Packers score themselves.

"If they score 99 points and we score 100, we win," said Harris. "It's going to look bad on the defense, but we're trying to get wins.

"They've got a really talented group and they're going to make their plays, but we're just trying to get wins."

Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher is confident in the Packers' defense, but he still is focused on putting up as many points as possible as to not leave anything in doubt.

"I think we need to score points," the lineman said. "I think our defense has shown the last couple of weeks - especially the second half of the Viking game and against the Bears - that they can get the job done, but we know that we're called upon to score a lot of points and if you just look at the track record from the first two games, we had to put up 34 to win.

"So we plan on putting up a lot of points whether or not we have to. We're going to try to score every time we touch the ball."

You can add Brett Favre to the list of those expecting the scoreboard operator to have a busy afternoon.

"We assume - as they've done the last two games against us - that Minnesota will score a lot of points," he said. "I don't see why we would think differently. But we hope they don't."

The quarterback said there are many ways of trying to counter-attack a team that has a high-powered offense, but his preferred method is just to put the ball over the goal line as much as possible. He tossed out a few rhetorical questions before giving his response.

"(Should you) run the ball and keep the opposing team off the field or score points? What's more important?"

"I say score. There's no substitute for scoring points. If you score every time you get it, it would be hard for the opposing team to beat you. So, if we could rush the football and keep them off the field but still score a lot of points, that would be the ideal way to go about it, but I just don't know how realistic that is."

Whatever their methods are, Sunday's Wild Card game is shaping up to be a wild one indeed. If the Packers can come out firing on all cylinders, expect a lot of points and a lot of happy customers at Lambeau Field.

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