There is no better way to start off a full Sunday slate of action than with a pivotal divisional showdown from the NFC North. The Packers are finally healthy once again, and coming off of a big victory last week in Dallas, are riding a wave of momentum as they enter Minnesota.
For the Vikings, they’re back to Case Keenum at quarterback but are still battling key injuries to Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs. Sitting at 3-2, they know this is crucial game to staying afloat and keeping pace with the powerhouse Packers.
Following a tough defeat with the Panthers back on TNF, we’ll hope the Sunday slate is kinder to us. Read on below the odds for full game breakdowns, analysis, and a betting prediction to get your week started off on the right note.
Packers vs. Vikings Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -3.5 (-105)
@ Minnesota Vikings +3.5 (-115)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Vikings Pick:
Aaron Rodgers did it again last week in Dallas, but expect a stiffer opposing defense on Sunday. He’ll again be without David Bakhtiari in Minnesota and that should be a bigger loss given the Vikings’ stout defensive front. Without Bakhtiari, it’ll now force the porous Lane Taylor to go up against Everson Griffen, which he simply has no shot doing. Bryan Bulaga also returned from injury recently – but it’s clear he isn’t at 100%. The Vikes’ have a great defensive line, one that constantly can apply pressure. Look for the duo of Griffen and Danielle Hunter to be surrounding Rodgers for much of Sunday’s contest. Don’t expect things to be as easy when it comes to moving the chains for Green Bay on Sunday.
There is also the issue of the ground game, which Minnesota tends to bottle up pretty well. RB Ty Montgomery is returning to the fold, wearing a flak jacket for his broken ribs. It remains to be seen how effective he’ll be, given he’s received very little contact on them in the lead-up to this game. Backup Aaron Jones isn’t ready to repeat last week’s breakout showing against a defense like Minnesota’s. A non-existent ground threat will force Rodgers into 3rd-and-long situations and a very pass-heavy offense. Look for Minnesota to account for this by laying off and solely focusing on limiting the aerial attack. The Vikes’ secondary is not the best, but they should be able to cope given that’s the only way I see Green Bay hurting them on Sunday.
Case Keenum isn’t the best of quarterbacks, but the amount of people who talk like Keenum is a major downgrade from Bradford is absurd. Keenum rates out just as well and the Vikings are fine with him under centre. Last week when Keenum came in for Minnesota, the Vikings improved, and he’s competent enough to move the chains against an awful Green Bay defense.
Their secondary is horrible, and even though Stefon Diggs will not suit up, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen should both be able to feast on favourable match-ups. On the ground, Green Bay has also surrendered 100-plus rushing yards in each of their past four outings. Jerick McKinnon looked ready to be a lead back last week and he should pick up where he left off as a result. The Minnesota offense is by no means prolific, especially without Diggs – but look for them to be able to do a lot of things against this Packers’ stop unit.
The Vikings are also an exceptional team at home and they clearly perform at a different level in front of their rabid base. They’re 11-3 against the number in their past 14 games at home and these Packers-Vikings rivalry games always seem to be very close – decided by one score. Look for this one to go down to the final possession, and I’ll side with the home team to hang around.
PICK = Vikings +3.5 (-115)