The Vikings have looked much better of the last month or so, going 2-1-1 with wins over Philadelphia and Chicago, a draw with Green Bay and a close loss to Baltimore.
This Sunday they're not given much of a chance in Cincinnati, with the NFL odds showing the Bengals favored by as many as nine points. The O/U ranges from 47.5 to 48.5.
Though Minnesota has covered in four straight weeks, we believe the streak comes to an end today.
For one, the Bengals are going to want to bounce back well after a 10-point loss to Pittsburgh last week. They were never really competitive in that game and Marvin Lewis couldn't have pleased with his team's performance, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The main reason we like Cincinnati is because of their complete dominance at home this season.
The Bengals are still unbeaten at Paul Brown Stadium, and that's both straight up and against the spread. They've beaten Indianapolis (42-28), Cleveland (41-20), New England (13-6), Green Bay (34-30), Pittsburgh (20-10) and the New York Jets (49-9).
When you add in the fact Minnesota has yet to win on the road (0-6-1) in 2013 and you can see why we're thinking Cincinnati's the play, regardless of how many points they're favored by. The Bengals still have a ton to play for, so motivation isn't a factor, and we simply think they'll wear down the Vikings, with Cincinnati's rush defense showing up (98.7 YPG allowed, #5) helping keep AP at bay.
Pick: Bengals -9
Aaron Rodgers won't be making his return, but the Packers have looked good under Matt Flynn lately and they're hoping he can lead them to a third straight win this afternoon.
Looking over the top sportsbooks, we find Green Bay favored by the smallest of margins (-1), while the total is at 44.5.
The Packers couldn't have looked worse when Rodgers went down. They went winless in five straight games, which includes home losses to Chicago and Philadelphia, road defeats at Detroit and the New York Giants, and a tie with Minnesota. The offense couldn't get anything going and the defense certainly wasn't doing Flynn and company any favors either.
But the tides have turned here over the past couple of weeks. Flynn has looked a lot more comfortable and his play has inspired Green Bay to consecutive wins over Atlanta (22-21) and Dallas (37-36). That come-from-behind win over the Cowboys was especially sweet.
As for the Steelers, they've gone a solid 4-2 SU (5-1 ATS) over their previous six games, with their losses coming on the road at Baltimore and at home to Miami. However, look at their efforts on the road and you seen they've gone just 2-5 straight up outside of Pittsburgh.
You know Lambeau Field is going to be crazy for this one and it's hard to go against that type of atmosphere, especially with so much on the line.
Still very much alive in the postseason race, we're looking for Flynn to make enough plays to lead the Packers to another hugely important win. As such, let's add Green Bay as minimal favorites to get the cover.
Pick: Packers -1