Packers vs. Vikings Picks Week 16 Monday Night Football
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, Monday December 23, 8:15 p.m. ET
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Playoff Implications
There is a lot on the line for both teams in this one. Coming in, Green Bay is one of four teams atop the NFC at 11-3, and Minnesota is a game back at 10-4. The Packers have locked up a playoff spot already and can clinch the division with a win here . They need to win out to give themselves the best shot at a bye in the first week of the playoffs.
With a win, the Vikings would clinch a playoff spot and would be tied with the Packers going into the final week. The Packers would still have the tiebreak if the teams wound up with the same record because of their better record in the division, and they play the Lions in Week 17, so Green Bay would still be in command of the division. But the Vikings would at least have a chance. They close out against the Bears.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Betting Storylines
It was a popular activity early in the season to mock Kirk Cousins as a quarterback. Through the first month of the season he just wasn't any good. Since Week 5 against the Giants, though, he has thrown 22 touchdowns and just three picks and has completed more than 70 percent of his passes in eight of 10 games. He doesn't take a ton of risks and isn't always exciting to watch. And his clutch play still isn't as good as some guys. But he is completely competent right now, and he isn't a liability. Aaron Rodgers was named to the Pro Bowl this week, and his numbers justify that beyond just his reputation. But he hasn't passed for more than 243 yards in his last six games, so he isn't at his most explosive right now. Add it all up, and you have a QB matchup that is a lot closer than the instinct of casual fans might suggest.
The Vikings have posted their best offensive numbers since 2009. A big piece of that success in running back Dalvin Cook. His availability here is far from a sure thing, though, since he is dealing with injuries to both shoulders. Losing a guy with 1,135 rushing yards is never a good thing, but it could be worse. Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone have combined for 121 carries - compared to 250 for Cook - and have averaged slightly more yards per carry - 4.6 compared to 4.5. It would be easy to overreact if Cook can't go. Mattison did miss last week's game with an injury of his own as well, though, so it could be third-stringer Boone who carries a heavy load. At this point, coach Mike Zimmer has hinted that Cook will be available. Zimmer's comments on his lineup's health are notoriously hard to trust, though, so we won't know until well into the weekend what is likely to happen.
The Vikings have won two in a row, and the Packers have won three straight, so momentum is rolling on both sides. But you don't have to look very close to see that that doesn't mean much. Neither team has played a decent team in that stretch. They have picked on weaklings. Prior to the wins, the Vikings lost to the Seahawks and the Packers were crushed by the Niners. The form of the squads could be deceptive in either case.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Minnesota favored by four points at home. That number has climbed up to 5.5 widely, with six available in some spots as I write this. About two-thirds of all bets have been on the Packers so far, so the line movement suggests that sharp money has hit the Vikings. The total opened at 46.5. It has bounced around a little and is widely available at 46 now.
The Packers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven against teams with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games. They are, however, just 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 as road underdogs and 2-6 ATS in their last eight Monday Night games. The Vikings are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 games as a favorite and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 as home favorites. They are just 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games on Monday.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Predictions and Picks
The Vikings have not lost at home. They were better in their last tough game than the Packers were. And they match up well enough in key positions. I like their coaching better at this point in a situation like this, too. This is at the high end of the number of points I would be happy to give up, but I would still take the Vikings in this one at the best price I can find.
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