It’s always exciting when these two bitter rivals play — even if it seems wrong for a key NFC North game to be decided inside where it is comfortable instead of outside in the bitter cold and snow. This game should be even more exciting than most, though. Both teams have a lot on the line, and there is history on the line as well. If Green Bay wins this one then they secure the second seed, and the Packers get the coveted bye week before their playoff journey begins. If they lose and San Francisco wins, then they would drop to the third seed and would host Chicago, Minnesota or the Giants next week. The Vikings entirely control their own destiny. Win and they are in as the sixth seed. A loss doesn’t kill their chances, though — they could still get in if Chicago, Dallas and the Giants all lose as well.
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And then there is the shot at history. All-world running back Adrian Peterson needs just 102 yards to reach 2,000 on the year, and he is only 208 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s ancient record for rushing yards in a season. Peterson has been everything for this offense all year, so you know that they will do everything they can to earn that record for him — as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of their playoff chances. Winning comes first, but the record will be on everyone’s mind.
Packers at Vikings Betting Storylines
Potential for a rematch - One interesting wrinkle here is that these teams could meet again next week if Minnesota wins and the 49ers beat the Cardinals. Typically teams don’t like to give away too many secrets if they are going to meet twice in a row or the second game will be far too predictable. In this case neither team has the luxury of leaving anything in reserve, because the stakes are too high and a loss would be too costly. By playing their very best, then, Minnesota risks giving the Packers a very accurate scouting report for next week. If the game were to get out of hand quickly with the Vikings ahead, then the Packers would quite possibly give up the fight to save their tricks for next week, so that could potentially have an impact on the total.
Green Bay against the run - The Vikings will be looking to run, run and run some more. The extent to which they are able to do so will have a big impact on how the game turns out. So will Minnesota be able to run? Quite possibly. Last time they met Peterson ran for 210 yards on 21 carries — a ridiculous 10-yard-per-carry average. Green Bay’s defense ranks just 14th in the league against the run, and since the game is in the dome the Vikings will have perfect rushing conditions. The Packers aren’t a terrible run defense by any means, but they need to be at their best to avoid the upset — and the headache of having to deal with it all again.
Minnesota versus the pass - We have looked at one team’s offensive strength, so it only makes sense to look at the other. Aaron Rodgers will succeed or fail through the air, and he has been dialed in and comfortable in recent weeks. He doesn’t put up the eye-popping yardage of some, but he’s efficient and accurate. Last time the teams met he completed more than 77 percent of his passes. Minnesota’s pass defense is 20th in the league, and it is vulnerable. The biggest advantage the Vikings have is that they can keep the ball out of Rodgers’ hands if they run the ball well. It’s no certainty that the Packers will succeed through the air. However, the conditions will be favorable, and it’s a good bet that they will.
Packers at Vikings NFL Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Packers favored by a field goal on the road, and about two-thirds of the action has been on them. The number has climbed to 3.5 in many places by now as a result, and it is likely to rest there — or even higher — by game time. The total opened at 46 and has fallen slightly to 45.5.
The “over” is 9-2-1 the last 12 times these teams have played in Minnesota. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Green Bay is 6-0 ATS in their last six as favorite.
NFL Picks: Packers at Vikings Betting Predictions
I like the Vikings, and I expect that they will run effectively in this one. In the end, though, I have to go with the better team, and that is unquestionably Green Bay. The Packers suffered a major disappointment last year, and they seem to have learned a lot from it this year. They are fiercely determined in recent weeks, and they aren’t going to let the bye slip from their grasp at this point. They will be ready, they will terrorize Christian Ponder, and they have too many weapons for the Vikings to keep up with them. They will cover.
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