Week 17 is completely division games so that big divisional showdowns can decide the season’s playoff picture. That is exactly what is happening in Minnesota this week. The Packers and the Vikings face off with a lot on the line for both teams. Basically, Green Bay needs this win to secure a first round bye. If that comes to pass and Chicago beats Detroit (Bears favored by 3 points) then Minnesota is out of the playoffs. If Green Bay wins and Chicago loses then Minnesota needs the Redskins to beat Dallas in order for Minnesota to get the 6th seed. If Minnesota wins then they are the NFC 6th seed regardless of the Chicago-Detroit outcome or the Washington-Dallas outcome. If Green Bay loses they will take the 3rd seed and play Minnesota again in the wild card at Lambeau Field unless the 49ers lose to Arizona; in that case the Packers still get the first round bye.
The Vikings were in Green Bay on December 2nd and lost to the Packers 23-14. The game was not even much of a competition as Minnesota scored its 14 points all in the 2nd quarter. That shouldn’t have been much of a surprise as the Packers were then 5-1 at home and the Vikings were 1-5 on the road. However, on the season the Vikings are 6-1 at home and the Packers are 4-3 on the road. Notably the Vikings have beaten the 49ers and the Bears at home.
Here’s the big catch, Adrian Peterson is dealing with abdominal soreness. That seems pretty vague, and he is expected to start, but if he is half a step slower in a big game that could make all the difference. Since losing to Green Bay, the Vikings have blazed a path over Chicago, St. Louis and Houston, riding Peterson’s running ability all the way to the win. Minnesota has struggled against passing teams this season and if their run game is not on point this week they won’t be able to combat Green Bay’s scoring ability.
Green Bay is hoping to return WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring), S Charles Woodson (collarbone), RB Alex Green (concussion) and DE Jerel Worthy (hamstring) for this week. All players are reportedly close to being OK’d to go but keep updated on these injuries throughout the week. Returning some or just one of these players could really help the Packers. That said Green Bay is on a 4 game win streak and looking very good right now.
What Green Bay earns in offensive yardage on average, Minnesota gives up on average; what Minnesota earns in offensive yardage on average, Green Bay gives up on average. That would suggest that the score should be close to each team’s points scored averages making the game about 27-23 for Green Bay.
However, division games are usually closer so it’s not a surprise that the last matchup was a slightly lower score. It does tell us that Minnesota can probably squeeze out a few extra points, especially at home. The odds give a score of about 24-21. But, Minnesota has averaged 24.7 points per game at home this season. And Green Bay has averaged 23.7 points per game on the road. Minnesota’s home record should remind everyone of Seattle’s home record and what they did to San Francisco last week. Betting Green Bay to cover the spread could be a big risk this week. The way these NFC North teams play each other it would be tough to go over 45.5 points. It is also entirely possible that Minnesota wins at home.
Sportsbooks offering NFL Betting for US Players:
Sportsbooks offering NFL Betting for Canadians: