NFL Picks: Vikings To Cover +3.5 In NFC North Title Game vs. Packers

Jake Walker

Saturday, January 2, 2016 9:07 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 9:07 PM UTC

The NFC North title and the No. 3 seed in the playoffs will be on the line when the Vikings visit the Packers. Green Bay is favored by 3.5 points on the NFL odds board.

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NFL Pick: Vikings +3.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


The Minnesota Vikings (10-5) and the Green Bay Packers (10-5) have already secured playoff berths, but the ramifications of this game will be huge, as the winner will host a wild card team in the first round while the loser will play on the road as the fifth or sixth seed.


Minnesota Vikings
After three losses in four games, including a 23-20 setback at Arizona, the Vikings dominated the Bears and the Giants to stay in contention for the NFC North title. 

Teddy Bridgewater has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions over his last three games, but he was sacked six times in the first meeting against the Packers, a 30-13 loss. Adrian Peterson was held to 45 yards on 13 carries in that game.

The Vikings rank sixth in the league, giving up just 19.3 points per game, but they're vulnerable against the run, as they gave up 100 rushing yards to Eddie Lacy in the last meeting with Green Bay.

Minnesota averages 23.0 points per game. Bridgewater has completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 3,132 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Stefon Diggs has 712 receiving yards and four touchdowns and Adrian Peterson leads the running game with 1,418 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, the Vikes allow 19.3 points and 343.8 total yards. 


Green Bay Packers
The Packers ended a three-game losing streak with their convincing 30-13 victory at Minnesota on November 22, but they suffered a 38-8 beatdown at Arizona last week. Green Bay was averaging 28.3 points during a three-game winning streak, but they finished with just 178 total yards against the Cardinals. 

Aaron Rodgers had two fumbles returned for touchdowns last week and he posted his second-lowest totals in completions (15) and yards (151). Eddie Lacy has been held to 83 rushing yards in his last two games while Randall Cobb has just eight receptions for 55 yards in that span.

Rodgers has completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 3,530 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Randall Cobb has 792 receiving yards and seven touchdowns and Eddie Lacy leads the ground game with 724 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Green Bay defense allows 20.2 points and 353.7 total yards. 


Stats to Consider & Key Matchup
- Aaron Rodgers is 10-1 in his last 11 games against the Vikings. He has 28 touchdowns and three interceptions in that span.

- Adrian Peterson has 455 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his last three games at Lambeau Field, including the playoffs. 

The difference in this game will be the matchup between the Packers Run Defense vs. Peterson. Minnesota's offense runs through Adrian Peterson, plain and simple. Just look at Peterson's splits in wins and losses this season.



The last time these two teams met, the Packers run defense held Peterson to just 45 rushing yards on 13 carries with one touchdown.

Before that game, Peterson had rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of his 14 games against the Packers.

Peterson leads the league with 1,418 rushing yards, 94.8 rushing yards per game and 20.5 carries per game and he is tied for second with 10 rushing touchdowns.

- Minnesota is 1-11 in the last 12 meetings at Lambeau Field. The Vikings haven't won at Green Bay since 2009, when they had former Packers quarterback Brett Favre under center.


Betting Trends
The Vikings are 12-3 ATS, 5-1 ATS as an underdog, 6-1 ATS in road games and 10-2 ATS when playing with six or less days rest.

The Packers are 2-0 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points, 4-3 ATS in home games and 1-3 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.


Final Analysis
The Packers are favored by 3.5 points on the NFL odds board but they have looked like a shell of themselves in recent weeks. The Vikings can run the ball, they have a solid defense and Teddy Bridgewater can make plays when needed and manage the game. I like getting more than a field goal with the Vikings. Take Minnesota to cover +3.5 with your NFL picks.

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