The second of four wildcard games this weekend features the Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers. This game is a virtual repeat of Week 13 when these two teams met at Lambeau Field. The outcome of that game was a 23-14 win for Green Bay. In that game Green Bay earned more yards, had fewer turnovers, earned more first downs and held the ball for longer. Then last week Minnesota had its revenge winning 37-34 at the Mall of America Field. Minnesota played Green Bay so well that while Green Bay won the stat sheet by a small margin, it wasn’t enough to catch up to Minnesota who led the whole game.
Green Bay is the favorite to win this game with a spread of 8 points and the over/under is at 46 points. These odds suggest a score of 27-19 for Green Bay
The biggest reason to pick Green Bay is that they are 7-1 at home this season! Their only loss at home came in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. Furthermore the only close game that the Packers have had at home was their 28-27 win over New Orleans. Every other home game that they have won has been won by a margin of at least 7 points.
Given Green Bay’s tremendous home record it is worth considering their season averages at home. Their points scored average at home is about 29 points. Their season points allowed average is 17.5 points. If we take this as the outcome of this weekend’s game then 29-18 is very close to what the odds are predicting. On the road this season Minnesota has scored an average of 21.9 points. On the road Minnesota has allowed an average of 22.9 points. Minnesota is 3-5 on the road.
If you compare these score averages to each team’s complete season averages you see only slightly better performances by Green Bay and slightly worse performances by Minnesota. But if you look at the averages since each team’s bye week (Minnesota Week 11 and Green Bay Week 10) you get Minnesota scoring an average of 23.5 points and allowing an average of about 21.2 points. Green Bay is scoring an average of 27.7 points and is allowing an average of 21.3 points. Therefore, looking at these averages a number of ways still leaves Green Bay on top, but, more often, not by 8 points.
Some big injury news for Green Bay is that super star S Charles Woodson has been cleared to play after breaking his collar bone after missing 9 games in a row. Unfortunately for the Packers, WR Randall Cobb has not yet been declared ready for this week after missing last game with an ankle injury, keep an eye on this injury because Cobb was a productive and active target for QB Aaron Rodgers in the Week 13 matchup. Minnesota has CB Antoine Winfield listed as questionable as he fractured his hand in Week 16; even with a cast he had to leave the game last week against the Vikings.
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