VikesCentric is written by Twin Cities football writers Bo Mitchell of SportsData, Arif Hasan of Vikings Territory, Aj Mansour, who hosts Minnesota Vikings Overtime on KFAN, and Joe Oberle a long-time Minnesota based writer. The VikesCentric crew crunches numbers, watches video and isn't shy about saying what's on their minds.

VikesCentric: How to beat the Packers in Lambeau

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Packers, Brett Favre, Vikings road games Updated: January 5, 2013 - 1:11 AM

The Green Bay Packers spent most of the 1960s building a mystique on the "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" – a line, incidentally, that NFL Films legend John Facenda never once uttered, but hey, when has Chris Berman let the facts get in the way of a good story? Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer and the great Vince Lombardi dominated the NFL, winning five NFL championships (including the first two Super Bowls) from 1961-67. 

That mystique was put on hold for a 25-year period during which the Packers made the playoffs just twice, but it was resurrected in 1993 when a good old Southern boy named Brett Favre picked up where Starr, et al, left off. Through the 2001 season, the Packers had played 13 postseason games at Lambeau Field, and they had won 13 postseason games at Lambeau Field. 

Since 2001, however, the fabled Lambeau mystique has gone AWOL. The Packers are just 2-4 in their last six home playoff games: 

  • 2002 Wild Card – Falcons 24, Packers 7
  • 2004 Wild Card – Vikings 31, Packers 17
  • 2007 NFC Championship – Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)
  • 2011 Divisional Round – Giants 37, Packers 20

Along the way, a few trends have emerged, both in the Packers' Lambeau losses and in their two wins (both over the Seattle Seahawks, in 2003 and 2008). The following points lay out something of a blueprint for the Vikings to follow if they want to pull out a win tonight. The path to victory might appear to be common sense on the surface, but the stats behind the concepts should help illustrate their importance.

For the Vikings to beat the Packers tonight at Lambeau, they need to do the following:

1. Score first – The Falcons took a 24-0 lead into halftime (whereupon announcer Bob Trumpy uttered the often-replayed line, "The silence you hear … is Lambeau Field"). The Vikings jumped out to a 17-0 cushion in the first quarter. In 2007, the Giants led 6-0 before the Packers got on the board. In 2011 the Giants led 3-0 and took a 20-10 cushion into the locker room at halftime. The best way to get a team out of its gameplan is make it play from behind. Plus, with alcohol sales being cut off at halftime, if the Vikings lead in the third quarter the stands might empty out fast. (Of course, it's not a guarantee – Seattle scored first in both of its losses at Lambeau – but it's still your best bet.)

2. Win the turnover battle – In their four losses, the Packers coughed up the ball 15 times – nine interceptions (including four by the Vikings against Favre in 2004) and six fumbles – and had just two takeaways. In their two wins over Seattle, the Packers turned it over twice and forced two turnovers.

3. Run the ball effectively and stop the run – This could be a chicken-or-egg phenomenon, because teams often run the ball more when they're protecting a lead, but you still have to be effective to make that strategy work. In Green Bay's four losses, their opponents averaged 136 rushing yards and chewed up the clock by running the ball an average of 34 times per game. The Packers averaged just 21 attempts and 84 yards in those losses. In their two wins over Seattle, Green Bay outrushed the Seahawks by an average of 157 to 39 yards.

4. Make them work for their passing yards – The Packers have been a passing team since Mike Holmgren and Favre came to town in 1992. They're going to move the ball through the air. Just make them work for it. In their four losses, Packers quarterbacks put the ball up an average of 39 times and completed just 55.8 percent of those passes, with nine interceptions and an average gain of 6.2 yards per attempt. In their two wins, Favre averaged 30.5 passes and had a 72.1 completion percentage, with no picks and an 8.1-yard average per attempt.

Sounds simple, right? Four easy steps to victory at Lambeau Field. Again, all four points are pretty much common sense to win most any game, but in the playoffs, sometimes it's good to remember that the best approach is to keep it simple.

Patrick Donnelly is a Senior Editor at SportsData, a contributor to the 2012 Vikings Yearbook, and has covered the Vikings for FOXSportsNorth.com, Viking Update and the Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @donnelly612.

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Minnesota 14 2nd Qtr 0:19
Miami 7
Baltimore 0 2nd Qtr 3:40
Houston 9
Detroit 7 2nd Qtr 0:30
Chicago 7
Cleveland 3 2nd Qtr 0:50
Carolina 10
Atlanta 12 2nd Qtr 0:03
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 10 2nd Qtr 0:17
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 6 3rd Qtr
Pittsburgh 10
New England 7 3rd Qtr
NY Jets 10
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Oakland
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Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 32 2nd Half 15:36
Army 35
Ferris State 54 2nd Half 14:27
Bowling Green 42
San Francisco 48 2nd Half 10:40
Cleveland State 43
Oregon State 44 2nd Half 7:48
Quinnipiac 49
Coastal Carolina 26 2nd Half
Central Arkansas 27
Holy Cross 9 1st Half 9:53
Canisius 14
Southern Miss 15 1st Half 10:45
Georgia State 20
Western Carolina 7 1st Half 13:36
UNC-Asheville 12
Creighton 5 1st Half 10:09
North Texas 14
Maryland 13 1st Half 11:35
Oklahoma State 9
Cornell 18 1st Half 11:17
Radford 17
Vermont 8 1st Half 10:26
Saint Louis 12
Loyola-Maryland 9 1st Half 10:38
Stony Brook 9
Reinhardt 10 1st Half 13:58
Winthrop 10
Ark-Little Rock 16 1st Half 9:43
Green Bay 17
TX-Pan American 19 1st Half 9:14
Nebraska Omaha 16
Alabama State 10 1st Half 11:35
Evansville 15
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
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ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
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South Carolina
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Boston College
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Bradley
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Georgia
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Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
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Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 36 2nd Half 10:57
(1) South Carolina 63
Fairleigh Dickinson 49 2nd Half 7:20
Brown 55
Buffalo 45 2nd Half 12:53
Long Island 45
Bucknell 51 2nd Half 9:13
Mount St Marys 35
Stony Brook 53 2nd Half 9:49
Wagner 58
FIU 58 2nd Half 10:09
Wofford 49
Duquesne 29 2nd Half 12:38
Providence 36
Maine 36 2nd Half 9:43
William & Mary 39
Alabama State 30 2nd Half 12:34
Samford 40
TX-Pan American 31 2nd Half 9:35
VA Commonwealth 50
South Dakota St 51 2nd Half 11:24
Marist 57
Saint Josephs 38 2nd Half 7:51
(5) Notre Dame 54
Radford 35 2nd Half 12:34
Virginia Tech 46
(3) Texas 31 2nd Half
(4) Texas A&M 32
Rhode Island 25 2nd Half
Bryant 22
South Florida 9 1st Half 15:54
Penn State 7
Sam Houston St 11 1st Half 11:19
TCU 20
Evansville 9 1st Half 11:16
IUPUI 14
(14) Maryland 19 1st Half 11:31
Coppin State 10
Mercer 18 1st Half 9:31
Coll of Charleston 17
NC A&T 0 1st Half 19:22
Chattanooga 0
Princeton 15 1st Half 13:11
Monmouth 9
Eastern Illinois 20 1st Half 9:23
Lehigh 23
Rider 17 1st Half 9:38
Binghamton 18
SC State 6 1st Half 13:15
Clemson 4
Fairfield 12 1st Half 10:43
Iowa State 18
Richmond 30 1st Half 9:12
Eastern Kentucky 16
Cleveland State 24 1st Half 8:51
Morehead St 25
Kent State 10 1st Half 12:19
Colgate 12
South Alabama 5 1st Half 7:49
UAB 32
Saint Peters 2 1st Half 12:16
Navy 15
Youngstown St 13 1st Half 9:04
Pittsburgh 26
NJIT 7 1st Half 13:00
Lafayette 12
Davidson 6 1st Half 13:39
Charlotte 11
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
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Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
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(6) North Carolina
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(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
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Alabama
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(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
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Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
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UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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