Line: Packers -9

Two teams face off in Lambeau Field on Thursday night with identical 2-2 records making this an important division game. Both teams had inconsistent starts but appeared to make big strides in week 4 and will look to keep the positive vibe going. The Packers beat the Bears 38-17 on Sunday. Quarterback Aaron Rogers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns. This is after making a bold proclamation to all Packer fans by telling them to relax after the panic of the teams 1-2 start. The Vikings were led by the fantastic all around play in the first career start of first round pick quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He threw for 317 yards on 19-30 passing as well running for 27 yards and a touchdown on 5 carries. The offensive explosion is not a surprise for the Packers considering they have a future hall of fame quarterback and a proven receiving duo and a head coach with a proven track record of offensive success. The Vikings are a surprise largely due to the all around brilliance of Bridgewater who replaced an injured Matt Cassell and will be looking to build on an amazing 1st start provided he is able to overcome an ankle sprain that the team has determined as mild.

The Packers dominated the Bears on both sides of the ball. Prior to the game you could argue that the Bears have the superior wide receiver duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. At the end of that game there was no comparison as the Bears had minimal success through the air while the Packers showed their passing game will continue to be amongst the elite. All four of Rogers touchdown passes were split amongst Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Nelson has been the most prolific receiver in the league this season with 33 catches for 459 yards, on Sunday he had 10 of those catches and 108 of those yards to go along with 2 touchdown grabs. Cobb had been playing poorly by his standards for the last few weeks but he broke out of his slump with 7 catches for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. It is very rare that a team wins a game that they are outrushed in 235-56 but that is what happened against the Bears. Packers running back Eddie Lacy continued to struggle as he has not rushed for more than 50 yards in any game thus far. The team will need to find a better pass/run balance if they want to continue to win.

The Vikings are starting to play with the passion that 1st yeard head Coach Mike Zimmer displays. Bridgewater was fantastic all around and wasn’t the only big surprise. Running back Jerick McKinnon carried the ball 18 times for 135 yards. Veteran running back Matt Asiata had 20 carries for 78 yards and 3 touchdowns. When they weren’t running the ball all over the place they were completing passes as well led by Jarius Wright who had 8 catches for 132 yards.

At press time Bridgewater was listed as questionable. If he doesn’t play the Vikings will be in trouble, if he does play he provides an interesting element and adds interest to the matchup. (please note the pick is based on the assumption that Bridgewater is playing)

Pick: Vikings +9

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