Saturday, January 05, 2013

Injuries To Ponder and Winfield Might Be The Key To The Packers Playoff Game

My prediction was that if the Green Bay Packers stop QB Christian Ponder then the Vikings have almost no chance of winning. Here's what Bill Barnwell wrote at Grantland:
So if we assume that Peterson and Rodgers have productive days, it feels like the game falls on the shoulders of Christian Ponder. Ponder had just about the best game of his career on Sunday, and the Vikings were only able to win by three. Ponder went 16-of-28 for 234 yards with three scores and no picks, notably hitting Jarius Wright with a perfect 65-yard bomb up the seam.
CB Antonie Winfield's broken hand is another major concern, he was only able to play until halftime last week and QB Aaron Rodgers torched his replacement, but Ponder's the key. And the elbow injury he suffered last week on a hit by S Morgan Burnett might either limit him or keep him out of the game. From Kevin Seifert at ESPN:
I did a little snooping this evening, and here's what I can tell you: Ponder's injury is more than a simple bump or bruise, but if there is real concern about his ability to play, it's being kept well under wraps. The injury might be significant enough for the Vikings to have No. 3 quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson in uniform for the first time this season, but it would be a real surprise if Ponder doesn't start, as ESPN's John Clayton reports
His replacement would be QB Joe Webb, who's only taken 3 snaps this season and more of a threat as a runner than a passer. He might bring a new dynamic to the game, but Ponder's a good threat to run in his own right, so I don't think the Packers' defense would have to adjust much to Webb. Without any game reps, and probably few first team reps all year in practice, Webb's already questionable accuracy would have to be rusty. Plus, I don't think any NFL team should expect to win without the ability to pass under any circumstances.

The Packers have been dealing with their own injuries (CB Tramon Williams has been sick this week, WR Jordy Nelson has a bad knee, and WR Randall Cobb is coming back from an ankle injury) but all three should play on Saturday night. The Vikings would have been at a disadvantage if everyone is healthy, but injuries to Ponder and Winfield might cripple their passing offense and defense.

1 comment:

Jack Niemuth said...

Hey it's Niemuth just checking in. Have you gotten my last few emails?