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The Minnesota Vikings have quickly put the taste of last season’s disappointment behind them in Week 1 action by handily moving past the Atlanta Falcons in convincing fashion. It was fueled by balanced play on both sides of the ball that saw them showcase much of the potential that many had hitched their hopes behind last year after the arrival of Kirk Cousins.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers got their season off on the right track by easing past the Chicago Bears in what was a close game on the road. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are hoping to continue that success at home with a strong showing against yet another NFC North division rivals in Week 2 at home.
All of this sets up what should be an entertaining matchup on Sunday afternoon between these two teams eyeing strong pushes toward the division title and much more.
Vikings hoping to carry momentum into Lambeau Field
Coming off a season of failed expectations, the Vikings got off to a strong start out of the gate to the 2019 campaign as they eased past the Falcons 28-12 at home in Week 1. Much of which was dictated by the play of their defense that held Atlanta in check for much of the contest as they forced three turnovers including going 2-of-8 on third-down conversions while converting 1-of-2 red zone trips. Although Matt Ryan was able to throw for more than 300 yards in the loss, he struggled to get anything going against the Vikings stout defense that has been their calling card over the last few years. This will continue to be the case, which will keep them afloat when their offense struggles at various points of the season. That said, there was some balance from that side of the ball in the season opener as Minnesota was able to pace themselves past them in a couple of fashion despite the Falcons finally getting on the board in the fourth quarter of the contest.
Zimmer talks about the rivalry with Green Bay.
“When I first got here, this was a team you had to bet every time in order to get to the top of the division. I don’t think that’s changed any,” Zimmer said. “I think I’ve had to learn throughout the six years or whatever how big that the fans treat this.
“We always pretty much approach it the same way,” Zimmer added. “They’re a really good football team and in order for us to do what we have to do, we have to beat them.”
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 9, 2019
This was an effort that finally saw third-year running back Dalvin Cook show that explosive playmaking ability that the team has been quite high on in his first two years in the league. It was just his inability to stay healthy as he struggled to stay healthy on the field due to nagging injuries over that span. However, he looked the part in Week 1 action as he was the driving offensive factor for the Vikings as he rushed for 111 yards on 21 attempts with two touchdowns along with hauling in a pair of catches for nine receiving yards. Cook’s ability to be a factor in the ground game has helped bring much-needed balance to the team and ease the pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins from carrying the load behind his arm, which he struggled to do so in his first campaign with the team last season. In fact, Cousins completed 8-of-10 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. It was one of the quietest games of his career, but he didn’t need to play a bigger role as the presence of Cook in the running game allowed for the teamwork from behind that. The matchup against the Packers defense will be a bit of a challenge, but the emergence of the former Florida State back should be a guiding light on the road for the Vikings that will push them past their division rivals.
Packers hoping to pick up offense
Like the Vikings, the Packers are coming off a disappointing campaign that saw them fall short of reaching the playoffs despite a tremendous amount of expectations laid forth. Green Bay struggled to find consistency on the field last season that was also impacted by injury. However, they were able to put that behind them in Week 1 action against the Chicago Bears by gutting out a 10-3 win on the road to start of their 2019 campaign on the right foot. The Packers didn’t have a strong offensive showing by any means as they were able to do just enough to get by their division rivals as star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was able to complete 18-of-30 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown in the win. Rodgers made the most of what he could do against the Bears stout defense despite the team averaging 3.7 yards per play, 13 total first downs, and converted just 2-of-12 third-down attempts. It simply wasn’t an impressive win by any means, but the Packers just did enough on that end of the field to move them past the Bears last Thursday night. At the same time, it was the play of their defense that was true game-changers.
Long distance call ☎️
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 6, 2019
This saw them limit Chicago to just three points, including allowing only 16 first downs, 3.9 yards per play, 46 rushing yards, forced a turnover, and recorded five sacks. The Packers defense had their fingerprints all over the game that dictated it in their favor when all was said and down. It’s what had moved them past the Bears and made their 10 points on the road from the offense just enough to secure an impressive win. This saw them be able to continue to bring pressure on Mitchell Trubisky while limiting the number of big plays from Chicago offense. However, if Green Bay hopes to move past the Vikings, it’s going to need a much strong offensive effort than what they put forth in the season opener. Minnesota also possesses one of the league’s best defense and that could prove to be a stiff challenge for the Packers to overcome. In fact, this may be the difference in the contest as the Packers defense has shown they can hold their own, it’s just a matter if Rodgers can lead the offense to a strong enough outing.
- Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the NFC North.
- Packers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win.
- Packers are 0-4 ATS in their last four games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Vikings are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games in September.
- Vikings are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game.
- Vikings are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.
Updated on Sep 15 at 4:35am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Packers have gone from -3 down to -2.5 and that is consistent with the fact that the Vikings have garnered 54% of the bets.
Injury / Weather Report
Minnesota’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: LB Ben Gedeon, OG Pat Elflein, and DB Mark Fields
Doubtful: DB Mike Hughes
Out: DB Mackensie Alexander
Green Bay’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: DB Ka’Dar Hollman and OT David Bakhtiari
Out: WR Darrius Shepherd and LB Oren Burks
Gametime Weather: Cloudy with temps around 69.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is one of the most difficult games to pick this week since both of these are quite evenly matched, which is evident by the point spread between these two teams with it essentially being a pick’em if you take out the home-field advantage of the standard three points. Nonetheless, the Vikings showed some promising balance offensively in Week 1 that saw fully what Cook is capable of while their defense played well. This should carry on the road and push them past the Packers.
Prediction: Minnesota +3
Full-Game Total Pick
Like their Week 1 matchup against the Bears, the Packers are in store for yet another tough game matchup facing a top tough defense in the league. Meanwhile, Green Bay defense displayed that they are vastly improved in a Week 2 contest that should be dictated by that side of the ball making points difficult to come by. All in all, it’s a game that will see their respective defenses lead the charge in another low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Under 44