Packers-Vikings: How we picked it
WESTON HODKIEWICZ (11-4)
PACKERS 24, VIKINGS 19
It’s always fun to sell a few NFC North champion caps and talk about divisional dominance, but the Packers desperately need to play well in this game. The 30-13 win over Minnesota on Nov. 22 remains one of Green Bay’s most impressive victories in a season in which little has come easily. Coach Mike McCarthy feels there’s too much negativity swirling around his 10-win team, but it’s been hard to spin many positives after the Packers won only four of their last nine games. This is a golden opportunity to generate momentum against a playoff-bound team. Plus, if they can’t beat anyone in their division at Lambeau, how can the Packers honestly expect to win during the playoffs?
RYAN WOOD (11-4)
PACKERS 20, VIKINGS 17
You can make good arguments for why the Minnesota Vikings could pull off the upset Sunday. They're a good team with arguably the best player on the field (Adrian Peterson) and, frankly, they probably want to win this game more. A NFC North title would mean a lot in Minnesota. In Green Bay, it would just be another step toward the hardware the Packers really want. So it's tempting to pick the Vikings, but I keep thinking about Nov. 22, when the Packers traveled to Minnesota. We haven't seen the Packers overwhelm an opponent all season like they did in that 30-13 win against the Vikings. It's hard to see how that will change in barely more than a month, especially with the game now at Lambeau Field.
PETE DOUGHERTY (12-3)
PACKERS 24, VIKINGS 21
The Packers are a 3 ½-point favorite, but the Vikings are the better team of late. Teddy Bridgewater is maturing as a quarterback, and it’s hard to see the Packers holding Adrian Peterson to less than 50 yards rushing like they did in their blowout win in the Twin Cities. That said, with home field and the NFC North title on the line, the guess here is that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will muster just enough offense to prevail.
STU COURTNEY (11-4)
PACKERS 23, VIKINGS 20
The Packers have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Vikings, and a big part of their recent success has been Minnesota's inability to stop the Green Bay running game. In five career games against the Vikings, Eddie Lacy has rushed for 94, 110, 105, 125 and 100 yards. Making matters worse for Minnesota, the Vikings likely will be without run-stopping defensive tackle Linval Joseph (doubtful with a foot injury). Back in November, the Vikings were just the right tonic for an ailing Packers team and that figures to be the case again Sunday night.
ROBERT ZIZZO (9-6)
VIKINGS 21, PACKERS 17
A Green Bay loss actually looks like the best scenario if the Packers are to make a playoff run. Not that they would try to lose Sunday, but a Packers loss means a wild-card round trip to beatable Washington, potentially followed by a division-round trip to Carolina. That sure beats a wild-card home game against dangerous Seattle or trying to beat a team (Minnesota) three times in the same season, followed by a trip back to Arizona. Regardless, the Green Bay offense continues to founder, and there's no reason to believe it will recover against a strong Minnesota defense.