Let’s face it, the Minnesota Vikings need this game infinitely more than the Green Bay Packers.
If the 5-1 Packers stub their toe and get upset by the Vikings today at Lambeau Field, it’ll be a mere blip on their road to the playoffs.
However, if the Vikings lose as expected – they are a six-point underdog – it’ll be devastating. The Vikings are 1-5 and their hopes of making the playoffs are already on a respirator.
That’s why, even though the Packers should annihilate the injury-riddled Vikings, this could be a dangerous game for them. The Vikings are fully cognizant that a loss would, for all intent and purpose, end their season — even though they aren’t even at the halfway mark of it.
The Packers’ offense has been clicking virtually on all cylinders ever since Week 1 when they carved up the Vikings and their inexperienced secondary for a 43-34 victory. Aaron Rodgers figures to carve them up again today.
Rodgers, who completed 32 of 44 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns against Minnesota in the season opener at Minneapolis, should benefit this time from an injury-decimated Vikings secondary. Minnesota cornerbacks Mike Hughes (neck injury) and Holton Hill (foot injury) won’t be available. Another cornerback, Cameron Dantzler, will be available but only after being activated from the COVID-19/reserve list and not practicing all week.
All signs point toward Rodgers and Davante Adams posting some crazy numbers again (Adams caught a franchise record-tying 14 passes for a 156 yards and two touchdowns in the first game).
But the Vikings, as they clearly demonstrated in Week 1 against the Packers, can pile up points, too. Wide receiver Adam Thielen is a big-time threat and fellow wide out Justin Jefferson is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith form one of the better tight end combos in the league and veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has struggled mightily this season (11 TDs, 10 interceptions), is coming off a 343-yard, three TD showing against Atlanta. Lastly, Dalvin Cook is one of the most explosive backs in the league.
There’s no question the Vikings possess firepower and can light up the scoreboard. But can they score more points than the consistently potent Packers? Probably not.
Prediction: Packers 34, Vikings 24.