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Closing the book on Packers pass protection

Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- One more Minnesota-Green Bay post before we head back to NFC North headquarters.

The Vikings sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers 14 times in two games this season. Here is how the Packers’ pass protection fared on a per-game basis against the Vikings and in the Packers’ other five games:

According to ESPN Stats & Information, 12 of the Vikings’ sacks came against “standard pressure,” meaning four or more pass-rushers. So how did they do it?

Nathan Easler of ESPN’s Next-Level research has a statistics-based theory. The Packers have long struggled to balance their play calling between the pass and the run under coach Mike McCarthy, but against the Vikings it’s been a particular problem. Here are Easler’s breakdowns:

As you can see, the Packers passed almost 75 percent of the time against Minnesota and about 54 percent of the time against their other five opponents this season. That’s partly a function of significant deficits in both games, as well as a respect for the Vikings’ run defense. But no matter what the circumstances, it makes it easier on a defensive line when three out of every four plays are going to be a pass.