NFC North Reporter
The Vikings are comfortably within the playoffs and enjoying for seeding to shut out their season, a luxurious not afforded to their opponents and division rivals, the Inexperienced Bay Packers. As soon as 4-8 with most declaring their season misplaced, the Packers gained their final three video games. They need to win out the remainder of the season to present themselves an opportunity on the postseason.
Their playoff possibilities sit at 29% in response to the New York Occasions simulator. With a win on Sunday (3:25 CT on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app), they go as much as 51%. With a loss, all the way down to 2%. So far as the Packers are involved, they’re already enjoying playoff soccer.
The excellent news for Inexperienced Bay is that they need to.
That current sturdy play has led Vegas to make the 12-3 Vikings 3-point underdogs headed as much as Lambeau Discipline. However seeding issues for Minnesota. They nonetheless have an off probability on the No. 1 seed, and subsequently a first-round bye, in the event that they win each their final video games and the Philadelphia Eagles lose each their remaining contests. Philly has New Orleans at house this coming weekend, who nonetheless aren’t mathematically eradicated contemplating what a cluster the NFC South is that this season. The Eagles will seemingly be with out quarterback Jalen Hurts once more. Then they get the New York Giants to complete their season, a workforce that is also enjoying to get into the postseason.
Inexperienced Bay Packers
The purpose is, Minnesota has issues to play for and profitable out can be of their finest curiosity. The Vikings sit within the second seed and if that holds, they’d at present find yourself with the Washington Commanders as an opponent. In the event that they fall to the third seed, they’d face the No. 6 workforce, which is at present the New York Giants — a workforce they wanted a 61-yard last-second area purpose to get previous simply final weekend.
Information surfaced on Wednesday that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a knee harm throughout Sunday’s win in Miami. When requested if that places his standing for this Sunday’s sport doubtful, Rodgers mentioned it could not. He is already performed via a damaged thumb and rib harm this season; what’s yet another?
He sat out Wednesday’s apply however known as it a ‘veteran relaxation day’ reasonably than harm relaxation. Inexperienced Bay may additionally get left deal with David Bakhtiari again into the lineup after he underwent an emergency appendectomy on December 2. Working again Aaron Jones practiced Wednesday, as did proper deal with Yosh Nijman and guard Elgton Jenkins, albeit in a restricted capability. Extensive receiver Christian Watson did not apply, as anticipated, because the breakout rookie offers with a hip harm that knocked him out of Sunday’s sport towards the Dolphins.
The offensive line is getting more healthy in time to face a Minnesota protection that has three sacks in every of its final two video games. The final time these two groups confronted off, in Week 1, Vikings go rushers bought to Rodgers 4 instances — however that was with a way more rudimentary model of the Packers offensive line.
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Minnesota’s offensive line may nonetheless be missing, with heart Garrett Bradbury re-aggravating a again harm in a automotive accident simply as he was trending to return. Cousins has been sacked 11 instances within the final two video games. That being mentioned, he is nonetheless managed to get the ball out to 1 Justin Jefferson, who’s on an unprecedented tear and leads the league in receiving yards. He is put up triple digits in his final three video games and set a franchise document with 223 receiving yards the final time he performed a division opponent in Week 14 towards Detroit. He’ll be going towards a Inexperienced Bay protection that has produced key takeaways, however struggled in different respects.
Matchup to look at: Justin Jefferson vs. Packers corners
Jaire Alexander has been assigned receivers earlier than, shadowing opponents’ No. 1 receivers as Inexperienced Bay’s No. 1 cornerback. However Jefferson is almost unstoppable and it has been Rasul Douglas who has give you extra interceptions as of late. Douglas got here up with the game-clinching choose on Tua Tagovailoa in Miami final weekend and has give you two interceptions in his final two video games, 4 on the season to this point.
Key stat: The Vikings’ +5 level differential is the bottom for an NFL workforce 12-3 or higher for the reason that merger. It is 44 factors decrease than the 2016 Raiders, who began 12-3 with a +49 differential.
Prediction: Inexperienced Bay has solely scored greater than 30 factors as soon as this season averages 20.9 factors per sport, their lowest since 2017. The issue for Minnesota is, the Packers are hitting their stride. They need to have each working backs wholesome and a minimum of Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as receivers obtainable. Plus, Rodgers’ sheer will to get into the postseason is a strong drive, even when it means throwing 31-yard bombs to 38-year-old Marcedes Lewis. I’ve a sneaking suspicion the Packers find yourself on this 12 months’s dance.
Packers 29, Vikings 27
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Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You’ll be able to comply with Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
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Publish date: 2022-12-29 07:13:02
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