Minnesota needed a victory in its season finale against the Packers just to get into the playoffs and it came up big in a 37-34 shootout as a three-point underdog at home. It will now have to do it again this week as an underdog on the road. The Vikings finished the regular season 10-6 after winning just three games in 2011 so anything is possible on a team that does not know the word quit. They went 5-2 down the stretch both straight-up and against the spread with the total staying UNDER in four of their final six games.
Last Sunday, Adrian Peterson torched Green Bay for 199 yards on the ground to fall just nine yards short of setting the NFL record for most rushing yards in a single season. If he can come anywhere close to that number on Saturday night then Minnesota has a chance. It will also need a much better effort from a defense that held its opponents to an average of 21.8 points a game this year.
Green Bay has to be kicking itself for last week’s loss after an 8-1 run in its previous nine games put the team in prime position for a first-round bye. Instead, the 11-5 Packers will have to take the longer and more difficult route to get back to the NFC Championship Game. Overall, they finished 11-5 SU and 9-7 ATS. Green Bay posted a 7-1 SU (5-3 ATS) record at home this season verse the Vikings’ 3-5 record both SU and ATS on the road. The total went OVER the 45.5-point line in last week’s contest but it has stayed UNDER in five of Green Bay’s previous six games.
It is hard to know what you will get from the Packers’ defense week-to-week, so this game will ultimately come down to Aaron Rodgers and an offense that finished the regular season ranked 13th in the NFL in total yards but fifth in scoring with an average of 27.1 points a game. While Rodgers did not duplicate his MVP performance from a year ago, he did throw for 4,295 yards and 39 touchdowns while completing 67.2 percent of his passes. The good news is that his favorite receiver this season, Randall Cobb has been upgraded to probable after missing last week’s game with an ankle injury.
Lighting rarely strikes twice especially within six days and in a game played at Lambeau Field. The Packers did get tripped-up last week but the overall momentum is still there to counteract all the energy that Minnesota will bring into this game. This one ends up getting ugly as Green Bay rolls onto the next round. Green Bay 31 Minnesota 17