Packers vs. Vikings: Five key matchups


1. Marshall Newhouse vs. Jared Allen—The Vikings defensive end is the most feared pass-rusher in the game and he created havoc in the Packers' backfield in the first meeting between the two teams. Newhouse will likely get help, but neutralizing Allen begins up front and at all times it must be remembered that the quarterback being protected is the most valuable player in the league.

2. Packers defense vs. third down—The Vikings were nine of 16 in third-down conversions in the game in Minnesota on Oct. 23, and getting off the field on third down continues to be a major problem for the Packers this season, as the defense ranks 27th in that category. That's a trend that needs to be reversed in the second half of the season.

3. B.J. Raji vs. Adrian Peterson—No, Raji is not solely responsible for stopping Peterson, who rushed for 175 yards against the Packers in the Metrodome three weeks ago. It's the responsibility of 11 men to stop Peterson, but it begins at the heart of a defense, and Raji is without question the heart of the Packers' run-defense.

4. Packers pass-offense vs. Vikings pass-defense—Aaron Rodgers lit up a depleted Vikings secondary for 335 yards and three touchdowns, and given the Vikings' No. 5 ranking against the run, the burden for moving the ball would again seem to fall on Rodgers and his receivers, against the league's 30th-ranked pass-defense.

5. Packers linebackers vs. Christian Ponder—Ponder's roll-outs and half-rolls have to be cut off and he needs to be kept in the pocket, where he might not feel as comfortable at this early stage of his career as he does closer to the sideline and on the move. Additional coverage - Nov. 11

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