Banged up Vikings Meet Packers in Key NFC North Game
The NFC North Title is on the line as the Green Bay Packers battle the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football on ESPN. The Packers know they’re going to the playoffs. They can clinch the NFC North tonight at the expense of the Vikings. It would be sweet for Packer fans to win the division and keep the Vikings as a wildcard team.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Vikings -4.5; O/U: 47
The stakes for Minnesota are the division and home field advantage of some sort. The Vikings have already clinched an NFC Wild Card berth by virtue of the Rams losing to the 49ers. They can still take down the NFC North title by beating Green Bay, then winning their season finale at home versus the Chicago Bears AND the visiting Packers lose or draw against the Detroit Lions.
It was way back in Week 2 when the Vikings visited Lambeau Field and lost 21-16 as 3-point underdogs. Minnesota has arguably outplayed the Packers since then, especially on defense. QB Kirk Cousins may have deserved a Pro Bowl spot ahead of his Green Bay counterpart as well. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was an even bigger snub than Cousins.
The Vikings’ fourth-ranked ground attack has run roughshod over teams throughout the season. The health of the team’s potent backfield appears to be headed in the wrong direction. With Pro Bowl selection Dalvin Cook and backup Alexander Mattison nursing injuries, the Vikings will need to rely on Kirk Cousins in tonights game.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Although Green Bay walked away with a 21-16 victory in the NFC North rivals’ first encounter, Cook gashed the club for 154 yards on 20 carries , including a 75-yard touchdown. Cook likely will be a spectator due to shoulder and chest injuries. while Mattison may stand next to him with a bum ankle. Third-stringer Mike Boone figures to get the start.
While the Vikings are attempting to secure a playoff berth by remaining undefeated at home, the Packers can wrap up the NFC North title should they post their fourth straight victory. “We have the inside track at the 2-seed,” Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Obviously, we have an opportunity to wrap up the division, which guarantees a home game and the third seed, at worst. I like our chances. I like our football team.”
Green Bay is 11-3 on the season. Aaron Jones showed glimpses of what became a career season by erupting for 150 scrimmage yards (116 rushing, 34 receiving) the first time these teams met. It was also the first of his five multi-touchdown performances. Jones continued his torrid play with two more scores in Sunday’s 21-13 victory over Chicago. The stellar outing gave him 17 (14 rushing, three receiving) on the season. That is the most by a Green Bay running back since Ahman Green had 20 in 2003.
Defenses solely can’t focus on the run game with Davante Adams on the outside. The talented wideout collected at least seven receptions for the sixth time this season on Sunday. Adams also had seven catches for 106 yards in the first meeting this season. He was held without a touchdown grab in that game. Adams has reached the end zone in each of the previous three games against Minnesota.
Minnesota is 10-4 on the season. Cousins traditionally has fared well against Green Bay. He has thrown for 1,372 yards and 11 touchdowns and a 112.8 passer rating in four career games. The 31-year-old threw for just one score for the second straight week in Sunday’s 39-10 romp over the Los Angeles Chargers. An opportunistic defense paved the way with seven turnovers.
Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery last week. He became the youngest player to reach 50 career sacks after racking up an NFL third-best 13.5 in 14 games. Safety Harrison Smith is headed to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl after getting his third interception of the season last week. He had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Week 2 encounter with the Packers.
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The Dart Throw: Packers 21, Vikings 17
Monday Night Football Trends
- Trend Over is 6-1 in Vikings last 7 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. Hit % 85.70% (7) O/U 6|1 Push 0 W/L
- Under is 6-2 in Vikings last 8 games as a home favorite of 0.5-3.0. 75.00% (8) 2|6 0
- Under is 5-0 in Vikings last 5 games as a home underdog. 100.00% (5) 0|5 0
- Under is 11-1 in Vikings last 12 games as a home favorite of 10.5 or greater. 91.70% (12) 1|11 0
Green Bay Packers
- Trend Over is 8-1 in Packers last 9 games as a road underdog of 0.5-3.0. Hit % 88.90% (9) O/U 8|1 Push 0 W/L
- Over is 4-1 in Packers last 5 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. 80.00% (5) 6|1 0
- Under is 5-1 in Packers last 6 games as a road underdog of 3.5-10.0. 83.30% (6) 1|5 0
- Over is 5-1 in Packers last 6 games as a road favorite. 83.30% (6) 5|1 0
Packers vs Vikings H2H Meeting Trends
- Trend Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Minnesota. Hit % 100.00% (5) O/U 0|5 Push 0 W/L
- Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings. 80.00% (10) 2|8 0
- Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Minnesota. 20.00% (5) 0 1|4
- Home team is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings. 85.70% (7) 0 6|1
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