Note: If you're looking for the 2013 Week 8 matchup between these teams, please go here: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers Pick.
Green Bay Packers (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-5 SU, 2-4ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 27/8:30pm ET
Where: Mall of America Field
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -9.5/MIN +9.5
Over/Under Total: 47
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One of the best rivalry games in the NFL reboots this weekend as the Green Bay Packers travel to the Metrodome to tangle with the Minnesota Vikings. Both of these squads made the playoffs last season so this should have been a battle for NFC North supremacy but the Vikings find themselves in last at 1-5 and looking to tip the Packers boat for spite's sake in this one. The Packers are looking like a MASH unit with all the injuries that have hit the team but they still have Number 12 chucking the ball and need to keep winning if they want to stay on top of the division.
The online betting sites have the Packers as a 9.5 point favorite and that line has remained consistent through early betting with the over/under total set at 47. Green Bay is riding a nice 9-4 ATS mark in the last 13 conference games while Minnesota has struggled against NFC opponents, going just 1-5 against the spread I the last six conference games. The Packers have five ATS wins in the last seven games between these teams and the home team has won the last five against the spread.
Let's start with the injury list for the Packers. On offense, they will be without Randall Cobb, James Jones and now Jermichael Finley. Finley appears to have avoided a career ending injury but the TE will certainly not see the field this weekend and that leaves just Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as experienced targets. Boykin has very limited experience but gained confidence with a 100+ yard effort last week and seems to be favored by Rodgers as the outlet receiver. The defense is again without Clay Matthews and Nick Perry so the question will again be the ability for back-ups to produce as starters.
Minnesota doesn't have problems with injured players but they have plenty of issues with the healthy ones. There hasn't been a consistent performance out any of the Vikings quarterbacks and even Adrian Peterson seems to be bottled up a lot easier than in years past. The defense is near the bottom of the barrel in most significant statistics so it is pretty easy to see how they have arrived at a 1-5 record. It can't get much worse for the Vikes after giving the Giants their first win on Monday Night, or can it?
The Packers running game has been a surprise even to Packer fans and they should see success against a Vikings defense that allows over 100 yards per game on the ground. Eddie Lacy is in the mix for offensive rookie of the year and has handled the bell cow duties well in the wake of the injury woes. For once, an opposing defense may look to keep the ball IN Aaron Rodgers' hands so Lacy and the offensive line will need another good effort. Overall, the Packers are top-4 in yardage and scoring but they can struggle to find the end zone at times, which could prove problematic when trying to cover a two score point spread.
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Christian Ponder will likely get the start as news broke today of Josh Freeman's possible concussion. Freeman played as if concussed on MNF so this change may be a positive for the Vikings but Ponder has been underwhelming this season and must make some plays to get the defensive attention off of Peterson. Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson and Kyle Rudolph are all capable targets for Ponder so the skill guys are there if Ponder can make the right decision and throw. Peterson was a force last year against Green Bay but the Packers defense enters the week 3rd in rush yards allowed so again, the run game alone will not be enough to win or even win with the points.
If the Minnesota defense steps up and holds Lacy and Rodgers down, I think this would be an easy pick in favor of the Vikes as Green Bay looks content to run clock with a lead these days. I just don't see how that is going to happen and the Packers will find a way to get 26 points up. Green Bay has been covering the injuries on defense and they will limit Peterson and make Ponder move the ball instead. I can't see the offense getting anymore than 17-20 and the smart money lies with Green Bay pushing 30 so look there, even in a rivalry game with a road dog. Green Bay 28 Minnesota 16
Evergreen's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting the Green Bay Packers minus the points.
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