Minnesota (10-5) at Green Bay (10-5)
When: Sunday, January 3rd 2016
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: NBC
Minnesota will try and capture the NFC North title tonight in Lambeau Field – a place they haven’t won since Brett Favre was quarterback. The Packers can also win the division in this winner-take-all game. The loser will have to play on the road next week as a 5 or 6 seed, while the winner will host a Wild Card team. The Vikings suffered a 23-20 loss at Arizona in Week 14 – their third loss in four games – but have since won two in a row in convincing fashion. The beat the Bears 38-17 two weeks ago and the Giants 49-17 last week. Both of those were home games. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions over his last three games, but he was sacked six times in a 30-13 home loss to Green Bay on November 22nd. Adrian Peterson was held to 45 yards on 13 carries in that game as well as the Packers thoroughly dominated Minnesota. The Vikings have lost 11 of their last 12 in Green Bay, but it hasn’t been Peterson’s fault lately. He has 455 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games at Lambeau. Minnesota is very solid against the pass, but can be run on. They allowed Eddie Lacey to gain 100 yards on them back in November. This will be Minnesota’s third prime-time game in four weeks as the NFL closes out the regular season.
Green Bay was riding high with a three-game winning streak until they were embarrassed last week in Arizona 38-8. The Packers surrendered nine sacks to the Cardinals and Aaron Rodgers completed only 15 passes for 151 yards and had two fumbles returned for touchdowns. They managed only 178 yards of offense after scoring an average of 28.3 points in their previous three games. The run game has slowed down a bit in the last few weeks as Lacy has been held to 83 yards in his last two games. Leading receiver Randall Cobb has eight receptions for only 55 yards in that same span. Though Rodgers has not had one of his best seasons, he has dominated the Vikings in the past. He has won 10 of his last 11 against them and has thrown 28 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions in those games. He was just 16-of-34 in the November game against Minnesota, but did not throw an interception. This is Green Bay’s sixth prime-time game this season and they are 3-2 in the first five.
The Packers own the Vikings at home and they were too much for them in November. I expect some of the same in tonight’s game. Look for Rodgers to have a big bounce-back game and the Packers to put a lot of pressure on Bridgewater like they did in Week 11.
Pick: Packers -3