The Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers are set to square off in NFL playoff betting action this week at Lambeau Field. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Minnesota Vikings Notes: If not for what the Indianapolis Colts did this year, more would be praising the work of the Vikings. They won just three games a campaign ago, and they fired back this year to go 10-6 to get into the playoffs in one of the more remarkable turnarounds that the league has seen in quite some time. It wasn’t easy, but they definitely earned it with wins over these Packers and the Houston Texans on the road in back to back weeks just to get into the dance. It’s the first time that we have seen QB Christian Ponder playing in a big time game since college though, and he was never exactly known as a big game player in Tallahassee either. The Vikings won their final four games of the season, and they were underdogs in all four of those games. They actually haven’t been favored in a game since way back on October 25th, and they have lost half of the games that they played as favorites this year. Minnesota actually went 7-3 SU as the underdog in games.
The hopes and dreams of this team rely on the legs of RB Adrian Peterson. The argument could be made that Peterson should be the MVP of the league this year in spite of the fact that it is an award that is always biased towards quarterbacks. All Day ran for 410 yards in two games against the Packers this year, including rushing for 199 yards to fall just shy of the all-time rushing record, set by RB Eric Dickerson almost three decades ago. That being said, it was still one of the best seasons that a back has ever had, and all of this comes from a man that tore his ACL just over a year ago that didn’t get a chance to go through a normal offseason. We can’t even imagine what Peterson might be able to do with a full offseason regiment.
Fortunately for Minnesota, it is a really healthy team right now. The only real question mark is that of starting DB Antoine Winfield, who is playing through a broken hand. Odds have it, he’ll be out there on Saturday. The piece that is missing to the puzzle is that of WR Percy Harvin, who hasn’t played in weeks after suffering a season ending ankle injury.
Green Bay Packers Notes: Green Bay had the tough task of going into Minneapolis last week, and the loss took the team out of the No. 2 slot in the playoffs and forced it into action this week. The Packers, of course, remember last year’s playoff game against the New York Giants, one in which a 15-1 team crashed right out of the playoffs with a huge thud. In fact, the last win the Green Bay had at home in the playoffs was back in 2007, the final season before the legendary QB Brett Favre skipped town. The Packers did lost twice down the stretch, but we have to remember that this team was once 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS. Since then, they went 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS, numbers that are every bit as good as those of any team in the league.
If you look at the basic stats this year for the Packers, there really isn’t anything all that notable. The team ranked just 13th in the league in total offense, largely thanks to a rushing attack that didn’t have a single back this year with more than 464 rushing yards. The defense meanwhile, ranked 11th against the pass, 11th overall, and 11th in scoring. The stats were still there for some of the biggest players on the team, as QB Aaron Rodgers still threw for 4,295 yards and 39 TDs, while LB Clay Matthews had 13 sacks in spite of the fact that he played in just 12 games this year. That being said though, there were some bad games that really skewed these numbers. Parlay that with some injuries that have lingered throughout the whole season, and the makings were there for some suspect team numbers.
The good news for Rodgers it that his receiving corps really seems to be solid at this point. WR Randall Cobb did sit out last week with an ankle injury, but he is going to be back in this one. In spite of the fact that both WR Greg Jennings and WR Jordy Nelson have both missed plenty of time this year, but are listed as probable on the injury report for this week. So too, is S Charles Woodson, who hasn’t played since breaking his collarbone in Week 7. The bad news for Rodgers is that his ground game is still all beaten up. RB Cedric Benson has been on IR for over a month, while RB James Starks has a knee injury and isn’t expected to play. RB Alex Green, the team’s leading rusher, suffered a concussion two weeks ago, and is still considered up in the air. What’s left at that point? RB DuJuan Harris, playing on his third different team this year, started for the Pack, and though he had a good game with 70 yards on 14 carries, he isn’t the man that you want to be relying on as your only real tailback in a playoff game in freezing cold weather.
Head To Head: These two teams met this year, and this is going to be the rubber match of the series. The Vikings won last week 37-34 on a last second field goal to get into the playoffs, while the Pack took a 23-14 decision here at Lambeau Field at the outset of December. Minnesota is just 4-8 ATS in the last 12 meetings in this series, and it is 1-5 SU and ATS on the Frozen Tundra since 2007. These two Black and Blue Division rivals have met 104 times in their history, but this is only the second time ever in the playoffs. That one playoff meeting? A 31-17 win for the Vikes right here at Lambeau Field in 2005.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.