Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Minnesota Vikings (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (4-2 SU,
4-2 ATS), NFL Week 8, 4:15 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 1, 2009, Lambeau Field,
Green Bay, Wis., TV: FOX

by Badger of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Vikings +3/Packers -3
Over/Under: 47

After 16 seasons and 118 games as a member of the home team,
quarterback Brett Favre returns to Lambeau Field on Sunday as a
member of the visiting Minnesota Vikings when the Green Bay Packers host the rematch between the longtime NFC North rivals on Fox.

While all of the Favre versus his former team storylines were
regurgitated over and over again a few weeks ago on Monday Night
Football when these two teams clashed in the Metrodome, Sunday
afternoon will be the first time Favre will trot out onto the frozen
tundra of Lambeau as the enemy.

It will also be the first time as a Viking that Favre will be looking
to overcome a loss, as they were dealt their first one of the season
last weekend in Pittsburgh, 27-17. Favre threw for 334 yards in the
game, but lost a fumble that was returned for a score and later threw
an interception for another return touchdown as the Vikings faded
down the stretch against the Steelers last weekend.

The Packers come into the game with a modest two game winning streak
and a shot at closing the Vikings lead in the NFC North down to a
half-game. The Packers played perhaps their most complete game of the
season last weekend in their 31-3 victory over Cleveland. Aaron
Rodgers threw for 246 yards and three scores and running back Ryan
Grant rushed for over 100 yards (148) for the first time this season
as the Packer offense looked more like the unit that dominated the

Oddsmakers are expecting another tight matchup between these two
franchises since they set the opening point spread for the game with
the Packers listed as standard 3-point favorites at home. The number
has held at 3 points during early action at the window, although
there are a few offshore sportsbooks that have bumped the number up
the hook to Packers minus -3.5.

Its the over/under total that has seen a lot of line movement in the
early going, as it opened at 48.5 late on Sunday and as of Tuesday it
has already dropped to 47 at most books on the Internet. The books in
Las Vegas still list the total at 47.5 on their boards, so you should
be able to find the extra half-point if you so desire.

Offensively this game features two of the NFLs top scoring teams, as
Favre and the Vikings have become a quick-strike unit that averages
29.4 points per game (3rd), while the Packers and Rodgers score 26.8
points per contest (8th).

But its how they go about scoring those points that is so different.

Minnesota likes to use Adrian Peterson and the running game to set up
the passing game, whereas the Packers prefer to use the passing game
to set up the running game. With Donald Driver and Greg Jennings
getting a majority of the action, the Packers are 10th in passing
yards per game (258.3 ypg). Meanwhile, Peterson has seen less carries
each week as Favre has grown more comfortable throwing the ball to
receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (233.7 ypg 13th).

The giant question this week offensively is how the Packers plan to
block Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Allen had 4.5 of the Vikings
eight sacks back in week four, and the Packers starting left tackle
Chad Clifton is still listed as doubtful with an ankle injury he
cant seem to get over quick enough. The Packers started rookie T.J.
Lang last week against the Browns and he held his own nicely, but
theres not a single player on the Browns defensive line that can
carry Allens jock, so it will be interesting to see how Packers head
coach Mike McCarthy chooses to help Lang with Allen on Sunday.

On defense the Packers have put together two solid weeks after
getting exposed in the Vikings loss. Keep in mind that this came
against the offensive juggernauts of Detroit and Cleveland, but the
Packers have only allowed 149 total yards and 139 total yards in back-
to-back weeks with five takeaways. Overall the Packers defense is
ranked 3rd in the NFL allowing 271.3 yards per game.

The Vikings have slipped in recent weeks, giving up 367 yards passing
against the Ravens two weeks ago before rebounding to limit the
Steelers to just 259 total yards and 175 in the air. Cornerback
Antoine Winfield will be out again this week, so the Packers will
likely try to take advantage of his replacement Karl Paymah this week.

The Vikings won the game earlier this season at the Metrodome, 30-23,
to give them their second straight victory in the series. But prior
to that the Packers had won five straight, including the last three
played at Lambeau. You have to go back to the 2005 season to find a
Vikings victory at Lambeau (20-17).

For bettors, this series is straight down the middle with each team
sporting a 5-5 ATS record in the last 10 tries. Minnesota is actually
3-2 ATS in Lambeau in their last five games there, but those two non-
covers were from the most recent games in 2008 and 2007.

A few other betting trends worth note are the fact that the underdog
is 16-5 ATS in the last 21 games. The road team is also a strong 11-4
ATS in the last 15 meetings.

The under has been a strong play at Lambeau, with a 4-1 record in the last five games in Green Bay.

Badgers Pick: The Vikings and Favre took advantage of the Packers
secondary being aggressive in the last meeting, but they might be
without deep threat Bernard Berrian on Sunday so it might not be as
easy this time around. I also expect the Packers to try and slow down
the pass rush of Allen be running right at him and throwing screens
from his vacated position. I like the Packers to hold serve at home,
but my money is on the over of 47 here. Take the over of 47.