Week 8 Picks: Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS) v. Green Bay Packers (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS)
NFL Week 8
When: Sunday, November 1 at 1 pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field - Green Bay, WI
Point Spread: MIN +7/GB -7 (Bet -105 Lines Instead of -110!)
Over/Under Total: 51.5
Rivalry games are something to look forward to in the NFL. Beating a hated rival can take precedence over all else and can even turn around an otherwise lackluster season. That is the good news for the Minnesota Vikings as they find themselves in last place at 1-5, but they can mend a bruised ego this week with an upset of the Packers in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has regained a near vintage form and has the Packers looking like true NFC title game contenders. Minnesota has the advantage of some extra prep time as they come off a bye week. But the team shipped out Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore, leaving questions about the Vikings’ short-term motivations. Both teams are rather soft on defense, and we could see another repeat of Week 1 when these teams combined for 77 points in a Green Bay win.
Despite a 5-2 mark against the spread in their last seven as underdogs, Minnesota has just seven ATS wins in their previous twenty-two against a team with a winning record. Green Bay is 4-0 ATS as a home favorite, 4-1 ATS in their last five against the NFC North, and 8-3 against the spread in the last twelve against Minnesota in Lambeau. The Under has four wins in the previous five Minnesota games on the road and a 9-2 mark in the previous eleven GB division games. The Under has hit in nine of the last twelve in this series. Green Bay is getting roughly 75% of the public money through the early betting period, with 73% of bets coming in on the Over.
There hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of the Twin Cities, especially with this team expected to contend for the division and return to the playoffs. Kirk Cousins hasn’t been the only issue, but he is undoubtedly part of it with ten interceptions through six games. That has left Minnesota sitting at minus-eight in turnover differential; only Dallas is worse in that category. There have been some bright spots on offense with Justin Jefferson (28-537-3) looking like a future star across from Adam Thielen, but those two have had to provide nearly all of the output as the rest of the wide receiver group has accounted for just nine receptions. Dalvin Cook has been steady at 5.3 yards per carry and leads with seven touchdowns but missed the last game with a bad groin and is officially questionable for Sunday. However, nearly all reports are that he is healthy enough to suit up after an additional week off. The defense has been underwhelming, to say the least. Minnesota enters the week 28th in total yards allowed, 29th in passing defense, and 30th in scoring defense, allowing 32 points per game. They are giving up the third-worst QB rating on average and have netted just four total takeaways. Their thirteen sacks are middle-of-the-pack, but Yannick Ngakoue had accounted for five of those, and he is now with the Ravens. The defensive line has been alright and limited opponents to 4.1 yards per carry, so they stand a chance of again limiting Aaron Jones as they did in Week 1 when they held him to 66 yards, but that is going to put the ball in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. He took up the slack in Week 1 and threw for 364 yards and four scores en route to a 43-34 win.
Number 12 is Number 1
You don’t need to know a lot about football to understand that this team goes as Aaron Rodgers goes. This year has only cemented that fact as Green Bay’s only loss came very uncoincidentally in Rodgers’ worst game when he threw two picks against the Bucs. Those are the only two turnovers that Green Bay has committed all season, and that is part of the reason why they are among the most efficient scoring teams in the league. Their 32.8 points per game is good for 2nd but even more impressive, considering they are 14th in passing and 10th in rushing yards. Those are good stats, but several teams are ahead of them in both categories that have not put up similar point totals. Aaron Jones missed the last game with a bad calf and hasn’t returned to the practice field as of Wednesday. Green Bay could be holding him out until he is 100% as they will more likely need him later on, and they have the benefit of a capable backup in Jamaal Williams, who ran for 77 yards and a touchdown last week against Houston. Davante Adams (36-449-4) leads the team in catches and yards and will look for a repeat of Week 1 when he finished with 156 yards and two scores. Robert Tonyan has come on to be a valuable target at tight end, and he leads the team with five touchdown grabs. He is currently listed as questionable with ankle and knee injuries. The injury list for Green Bay on the defensive side is relatively long with Kevin King, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Darnell Savage, and Rashan Gary all tagged as questionable. Za’Darius Smith’s status is the one to watch closely as he leads with six sacks, but there is some depth to the Packers rush with nine different defenders recording at least one sack so far.
The Pack will Prevail at Home
A quick tour around Vikings Twitter will tell you everything you need to know about how their fans feel about this team. Spoiler alert, no one is happy. I don’t think they will be satisfied with the result this weekend either, as Green Bay has a legitimate talent edge with those key contributors playing at a high level. Especially troubling for Minnesota is their 29th ranked time of possession and 28th ranked 3rd down offense. Green Bay is 3rd in TOP and 4th on third down conversions, so look for the home team to have control. The Packers defense is very pedestrian in many categories, leaning on the old bend-don’t-break methodology, but they become significantly better when playing with a lead. I see Minnesota falling behind and allowing Rodgers to dictate the pace, ultimately leading to a 31-21 Packer win.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Green Bay. Bet your Week 8 NFL picks FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie!