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the 2013 NFC Wildcard game between these teams, please go here: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers Pick.
Green Bay Packers (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-5 SU, 2-3-1 ATS), Week 7 NFL, 4:05 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 23, 2011, Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minn. TV: FOX
by Ryno, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -7.5/MIN +7.5
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The Minnesota Vikings are having a season to forget. After getting off to a miserable 0-4 start and then finally getting off the schneid with a blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals, they were sent back to reality last week with a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. And the Vikings finally realized it’s time to move on from Donovan McNabb, as they transitioned to Christian Ponder as their quarterback in the fourth quarter. Whether or not Ponder gets his first start against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday is still up in the air at time of print, but either way it’s been a disappointing season for the Vikings.
And the disappointment is likely to continue on Sunday when the Vikings host the undefeated defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. It will take a mammoth effort, even at home, to upset the Packers. The Vikings are not a confident bunch right now and their quarterback situation is up in the air.
It’s not that McNabb has been turning the ball over. He has only thrown two interceptions and hasn’t lost any fumbles. But he hasn’t been able to move the ball effectively, despite having the benefit of arguably the best running back in football in Adrian Peterson. McNabb has just 1,026 passing yards in six games and just four passing touchdowns. Peterson, meanwhile, is doing his thing with 537 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, which makes him the league leader in that category. Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins have been the Vikings’ top two receiving targets, combining for 49 receptions and 482 receiving yards.
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Ponder looked pretty good in his time under center on Sunday for the Vikings. He was 9-of-17 passing for 99 yards and added one run for eight yards.
It seems like the Packers haven’t lost a game forever. After winning the Super Bowl earlier this year, they’ve gotten out to an undefeated start at 6-0 and clearly look like the best team in the NFL. It all starts with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who many consider the best QB in the NFL. Rodgers’ numbers are ridiculous through six games. He has 2,031 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns and three interceptions, plus another two rushing touchdowns.
Rodgers really uses his full arsenal of weapons. The leader of the pack is Greg Jennings, who has 35 receptions for 530 yards and four receiving touchdowns. But Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley and James Jones have all been excellent as well. The Packers passing attack is so dominant they don’t even need to run the ball much, but James Starks and Ryan Grant do provide Green Bay with two decent backfield options.
Whether it’s McNabb or Ponder, the keys to the game will be the same for the Vikings, because regardless they are unlikely to win the game through their passing game. The keys for the Vikings are to dominate on the ground with Peterson and step up their defense to limit (not completely stop, because that won’t happen) the Packers passing attack. That will take some serious pressure on Rodgers and some great coverage by the Vikings secondary. It’s unlikely that they will be able to slow down Rodgers, but that’s their only chance of winning the game. If Rodgers can pick apart the Vikings secondary and they can slow down Peterson, the Packers will have their way and roll over the Vikings.
The Packers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a favorite, 5-0 ATS in their last five October games, 4-0 ATS in their last four Week 7 games, 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win, and 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. The Vikings are 1-4 ATS in their last five October games, 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 games as an underdog, 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games as a home underdog, and 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these teams. The Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in Minnesota.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I usually wouldn’t touch this game as it’s a division rivarly, but with Minnesota starting a rookie QB in Ponder, coming off a short week (MNF) and how finely tuned the Packers look, there is no other choice but to lay the points with the Pack.
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