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Stage is Set for NFC North Showdown Between Vikings and Packers at Lambeau Field

Stefon Diggs #14 of the Minnesota Vikings catches a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have had a number of spirited battles over the years, and the bitter NFC North rivals will renew acquaintances for the first time in the 2018 NFL season at historic Lambeau Field in Week 2. Sportsbooks opened the Packers as 1.5-point home favorites with a total of 46.5.

  • The total has gone UNDER in six of the Vikings’ last seven games against the Packers (avg. combined score: 37.71).
  • The Vikings are 5-0 SU in their last five games vs divisional opponents.
  • The Vikings are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Packers.

Vikings vs Packers Game Center

Vikings are looking like a well-oiled machine already

The Vikings looked rock-solid in their season-opening 24-16 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers and saw their Super Bowl odds increase from +1100 to +800 as a result. Newly signed quarterback Kirk Cousins was impressive in his Vikings debut, completing 20 of 36 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. The defense was its usual dominant self, collecting three interceptions against Jimmy Garoppolo and holding the 49ers backfield to only 90 yards.

Minny has had no problems with NFC North foes

After winning the NFC North in two of the last three years, Minny is no stranger to succeeding within the division, as the Vikings are 5-0 SU in their past five vs North opponents. That includes the Packers, evidenced by the Vikes going 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five matchups with Green Bay. Minnesota is 2-1 SU and ATS in its last three trips to Wisconsin.

Once again, Rodgers puts the team on his back

Green Bay’s 24-23 come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bears is a game that won’t be soon forgotten, and the status of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the biggest question mark entering this game.

Rodgers, who was carted off the sidelines before halftime in Week 1 with a knee injury, returned in the third quarter to help the Packers erase a 20-point deficit en route to ending the night with 286 passing yards (20/30 completions), three touchdowns and zero picks. Rodgers is listed as questionable for the game, but even if he plays, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be at 100 percent.

Is another UNDER in store between the Pack and Vikings?

While the Packers escaped the contest with a win, they weren’t able to cover the -7 spread, and they left a lot to be desired on defense. If you’re expecting Green Bay’s defense to rebound and contain the Cousins-led Vikings, the UNDER will likely appeal to you. In the last seven meetings between the clubs, the UNDER is 6-1, with an average combined score of 37.7 points. In light of last week’s win, the Packers are now 26-9 SU in their last 35 home games.

Why I’m picking the Vikings to cover

Rodgers’ heroic performance against the Bears has overshadowed the Packers’ awful first half and their leaky defense throughout the game. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook looks fully healthy after recovering from last year’s season-ending knee injury and is primed to expose a Packers defense that couldn’t contain Jordan Howard, and Cousins has already developed a great rapport with wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The Vikings have proven they can win at Lambeau and are simply too good to be underdogs in this spot.