Add Vikings +3.5 To Your Week 17 NFL Picks vs. Packers

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, January 3, 2016 9:19 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 9:19 PM GMT

In a game being played for the NFC North, one team has a clear advantage on Sunday Night Football. Our handicapper looks at the last regular season game of the year and gives you the value NFL pick.

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NFL Pick: Vikings +3.5

Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

In the final regular season game of the year the NFC North is on the line, as the 10-5 Minnesota Vikings visit the 10-5 Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. This game has been flexed to prime time on Sunday Night Football, so all eyes will be on this matchup and it should be heavily wagered. The early opening line has the Green Bay Packers favored by 3.5 points, with the O/U total listed at 48 points.

These teams met just six weeks ago which will be in the minds of all bettors. In that Week 11 matchup the Packers won easily by a score of 31-13. Their key to victory was getting up on the Vikings early, as they took a 19-6 lead at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. This forced the Vikings to abandon their strength, running the ball behind Adrian Peterson, and second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater just couldn’t get it done in the passing game.

The “Beat Green Bay” t-shirts that head coach, Mike Zimmer, handed out before the game ended up being a pretty bad idea as well. The Vikings came out too amped up and couldn’t get out of their own way. This led to the Vikings playing the striped 12th man that Week 11 game, as they finished with 8 penalties for 110 yards versus just 4 penalties for 19 yards against the Packers. That nearly one-hundred-yard discrepancy can not be overlooked as it is likely to be reversed in this game.

Both teams are dealing with injuries this week. Actually, it would be pretty odd for a team not to be dealing with injuries in Week 17 of the NFL. But for the Packers, the injuries on both the offensive and defensive lines are quite numerous. On Wednesday LT, David Bakhtiari, was completely held out of practice while the other four offensive linemen were limited. Three starters on the defensive line of the Packers were also held out of the lineup. This does not bode well for defending the rushing attack of the Vikings and Adrian Peterson.

Of course, Adrian Peterson himself sat out of practice on Wednesday as well, but should be fully ready to go on Sunday. The only other non-participant for the Vikings this week is defensive tackle, Linval Joseph. Overall, the Vikings only had eight players on their injury report as opposed to the Packers sixteen. This edge in health is not insignificant, especially as both teams have a playoff date locked up and could be tempted to sit a starter for an extra week to get him ready.

Green Bay is coming into this game after being simply outclassed in the desert by Arizona 38-8 as a six-point underdog on the NFL odds board. The Vikings on the other hand, completely whooped up on the New York Giants at home to the tune of 49-17. It is a similar setup to the Week 11 game, where the Vikings were coming off of a five-game winning streak with the Packers were coming off of a three-game losing streak. I do look at that game against Arizona as a marker for the current state of these two teams though, as the Vikings were able to almost come away with a win on the road just two weeks before Green Bay got hammered.

Because of the current injury situation and the likely reversal of the penalties that plagued the Vikings in Week 11, I think a repeat of the result of that game is unlikely. This should be a much closer game that the Vikings have a real shot to come away with a win in. For that reason, I’m taking any points I can get in this matchup – and like the hook available at 3.5. Take the Vikings +3.5 at Heritage for one of your Week 17 NFL picks.

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