Minnesota @ Green Bay (+1.0)
Power rankings: Minnesota 14, Green Bay 19
When Minnesota has the ball:
The Vikings offense sits at 14th in both DVOA and EPA/play. Kirk Cousins is currently PFF's 7th highest graded passer, completing 68.9% of his passes and gaining 7.3 yards per attempt. The offense took a major hit when they lost Justin Jefferson to a hamstring injury, who will remain out for this one. That leaves Jordan Addison, KJ Osborn, TJ Hockenson, Brandon Powell, and Alexander Mattison as the top receivers by projected targets. Addison is a rookie out of USC - taken 24th overall in this years draft - who had easily his best game against the 49ers last week, catching 7 balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. It was his first game this year going over 70 yards, and his first PFF game grade above 71. Hockenson is one of the better tight ends in football, but he's currently battling a foot injury - although his limited status on Thursday suggests he's likely to play. The offensive line is a solid unit, particularly at the tackle positions (LT Christian Darrisaw and RT Bryan O'Neil). Despite the strong offensive line, Alexander Mattison has struggled as a runner, gaining just 2.60 yards per attempt after contact, which ranks 38th in the league. Backup running back Cam Akers has been even worse this year, gaining 2.19 yards per contact after attempt. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that the Vikings have been much better passing (14th in DVOA) than running (24th), although it's worth mentioning that those passing numbers include games with Justin Jefferson.
Green Bay's defense has had a tough year, ranking 27th in defensive DVOA and 21st in EPA/play. They're currently 15th in pressure rate (30.4%) despite blitzing 18th most often (26.6%). Their pressure primarily comes from Rashan Gary - who will be mostly matched up against O'Neil. Gary's 29.6% pass rush win rate is currently the best in football. Gary leads the team with 26 pressures, followed by DT Devote Wyatt (19), DT Kenny Clark (15), and DE Preston Smith (13). The defense could get a big boost with LB De'Vondre Campbell (ankle) possibly returning - Campbell has missed the last three weeks, but his limited participation in both Wednesday and Thursday's practice bodes well for a return. In the secondary, CB Jaire Alexander has been a disappointment - the All Pro corner is currently allowing a near-perfect 155.8 passer rating into his coverage, missed last week's contest with a back injury, and did not practice on Thursday. The good news for the Packers is CB Rasul Douglas and S Rudy Ford have both stepped up, proving some stability to the secondary. The Packers defense is simply too talented to be playing this poorly, and I'd expect their efficiency numbers to regress in a positive direction as the season continues.
When Green Bay has the ball:
The Packers offense is 17th in DVOA and 12th in EPA/play. Jordan Love is having a below average season, ranking 24th in PFF grades, completing 57.5% of his passes, and gaining 6.5 yards per attempt. I've written a few times on this site about the age of Love's receivers - all wide receivers and tight ends with 11 or more targets are either first or second year players. Christian Watson - the projected top receiver on the Packers, had a late start to the season due to a knee injury and has duds in 2 of his 3 games. Luke Musgrave, a promising 6'6 rookie tight end out of Oregon, has yet to surpass 50 receiving yards in a game. The best of the bunch has been Romeo Doubs, but he's dealing with consistency issues as well - including a dud in week 7 against a bad Raiders defense where he had 1 catch for 4 yards. The Packers could very well have a bright future for their young pass catchers, but for now, they aren't doing Love any favors. The good news for the Packers is their offensive line is playing well, and both their running backs (Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon) are healthy.
The Vikings defense is 15th in DVOA and 19th in EPA/play. They are the most blitz-heavy team in the league (55.4%), but they're generating pressure at just a 28.9% clip, which is 19th most. The Vikings may feel that blitzing is necessary for them to generate pressure, but that hasn't worked on Love so far this season. Love has a much better PFF grade against the blitz (73.3) vs when not blitzed (56.5). Further, all 7 of Love's interceptions have come against 4 man rushes. Danielle Hunter has generated 27 pressures on the year, but the Vikings haven't had much