In one of the biggest games of Week 17, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Green Bay Packers in an NFC North showdown. The game is scheduled for 4:25 EST at Mall of America Field and will be televised locally on FOX. Oddsmakers currently have the Packers listed as a 3-point road favorite with the total posted at 46.5 points.
Why Green Bay Will Cover
The Pack needs a win to secure the 2nd seed and a wild-card round bye next week. A win would also guarantee them a home playoff game in the divisional round; January in Wisconsin would be a huge advantage for them.
Aaron Rodgers is playing better than he has all season. He is a master at picking apart defenses with his pinpoint accuracy and stellar decision-making. He rarely forces the ball into tight coverage and, when pressured, can improvise outside of the pocket giving his receivers time to get open deep. In the last five games against Minnesota, he has completed over 73% of his passes with 14 TD’s and only 3 INT’s – not surprisingly, he has won all 5 matchups.
The Pack is getting healthy on both sides of the ball. Expected back for this game are Jordy Nelson and Alex Green on offense and DE Jerel Worthy on defense. Minnesota will still be missing offensive star #2 in Percy Harvin, while Brian Robison, Antoine Winfield, and even Adrian Peterson are on the injury list – with the first two questionable.
The Packers have dominated on the road against teams with a winning record at home, to the tune of 19-7 ATS in the last 26 such games. This year, the Pack is 9-6 ATS, and a respectable 4-3 on the road.
Why Minnesota Will Cover
They win and they’re in – it’s that simple. If the Vikes win this game, they’ll most likely visit Green Bay on the tundra in next week’s wild-card round.
Peterson shredded the Packers defense for 210 yards just four weeks ago, and needs 208 to set the single season rushing record. Expect as heavy a dose as he can take, upwards of 30 carries, as the Vikings will do all they can to chew up yardage and clock, effectively keeping the ball out of Rodgers’ hands.
The Vikings defense will also be big in this game, as they stack the box and bring seven or eight men frequently, limiting Rodgers big play chances and holding them to dump-offs and screens. The Vikes have 39 sacks this year and Green Bay has allowed 46, a potential recipe for disaster for their passing game.
Minnesota is a stellar 4-1-1 ATS in their last six homes games, while Green Bay struggles on filed turf to the tune of 1-4 in their previous five games. Additionally, the home team has covered the spread in four of the previous five games in this series.