With many NFC North divisional games approaching, I thought this might be a good opportunity to ask an intriguing question about this weekend’s matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears: Who do most Packers fans typically want to win this game? Let’s pretend that we’re in the land of make believe and that the natural answer of “neither” is not an option.
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Bear Down or Skol Vikings??
It would seem logical to think that the largest determiner is “which scenario helps the Packers most?” Obviously, the Bears are closest to the Packers in the divisional standings so it would seemingly benefit Green Bay more if the Vikings were to win. The Bears are the better team of the two as long as they have a healthy Jay Cutler at quarterback. They pose the bigger threat to the Packers’ chances of winning the division and with no guarantee of a wild card spot, getting into the playoffs at all.
Another argument could be made that the Vikings are already having a much better season than most thought and the Packers don’t want to have to contend with a hot Minnesota team when they finally meet in two weeks. Minnesota is still over .500 and has shown that they can play with any team on any given day. I cite their impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers earlier this season who, at the time, were undefeated and playing better than any other team at that point. The Vikes have also swept the Detroit Lions already this season.
Matchup-wise, the Bears still seem to pose the biggest challenge for Green Bay. The Bears defense is channeling their inner “Packers of 2009-2011” and taking the ball away at an astonishing rate this season. They would give the Packers a dose of their own medicine if they were to seal a key victory with a turnover. The Chicago defense is scoring almost as many points as their offense is and the offense hasn’t exactly been horrible when Cutler is behind center. The Packers have faced the Bears already and fared well in that game so Green Bay knows they can go toe-to-toe with the Chicago.
The Packers have yet to face the Vikings and won’t do so until December. That’s extremely late in the season to be seeing a divisional opponent for the first time. Both the Packers and Vikings have a good sense of who they are and what they are capable of. As with many divisional games around the league, you can often times throw the records out the window when trying to determine who should win. These teams are familiar with each other despite the changes on each roster.
The Packers have winning streaks against both of these teams and each would love nothing more than to derail Green Bay’s hot streak and knock them down a notch. Both will be coming hard after the elusive win and to keep their playoff hopes alive. I think the Bears have more to bring to the table and it makes my choice in this argument simple: a Bears loss would benefit the Packers more.
A Chicago victory puts all the pressure on Green Bay to win an extremely tough matchup at New York followed by a home game against the Vikings. With Minnesota’s defense flying under the radar and playing well and Adrian Peterson in vintage form, a win is anything but given in that contest.
While I think Green Bay can certainly win themselves to a division title, any amount of help is never a bad thing. Minnesota is already a game behind the Packers and has yet to see the Houston Texans, Bears twice and Packers twice. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Packers will, at the very least, split with the Vikings. That puts all the pressure on Minnesota to play catch up. The Packers hold only a slight edge over Chicago despite having the same record. As we speak and by virtue of having beaten the Bears in week two, the Packers are a half game ahead in the division standings.
A Viking win this weekend could put a different spin on this debate as both they and the Bears would have identical 7-4 records. But for now, it’s a no brainer to me. The Packers and Packer fans should be more supportive of the Minnesota Vikings in this week’s game.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: