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Monday Night Football Handicapping

Week 1 Odds – Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

While the Minnesota Vikings, (8-8 SU, 7-7-2 ATS, 8-7-1 O/U in 2007, 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U in 2008 preseason) enter the 2008 regular season as the popular pick to win the NFC North after the Green Bay Packers, (13-3 SU, 12-3-1 ATS, 12-4 O/U in 2007) idiotically decided to part ways with Hall of Fame-bound quarterback Brett Favre.

Minnesota Vikings +3 Points -120
Green Bay Packers -3 Points -110

The fact of the matter for BetUS NFL betting enthusiasts is that the Vikings haven’t won anything as of yet and will have to earn each and every one of their victories on the field in 2008 despite the lofty expectations surrounding their franchise and their own stated goals of returning to the postseason in 2008.

However, if the start of the 2008 NFL preseason is any indication, the Packers could be in big trouble in this divisional matchup as they have gone 0-2 so far while scoring just 23 points and allowing a whopping 54 points in just two contests. That includes the pathetic effort in Saturday’s 34-6 loss to the lowly San Francisco 49ers.

One of the best ATS teams in the league in 2007, the Packers are off to a dismal 0-2 ATS mark and have yet to show up on defense after posting solid ATS marks both at home (6-1-1) and on the road (6-2 ATS) in 2007.

Led by Favre, the Packers used their prolific offense to go over the O/U in 12 of their 16 total contests, including a 5-3 O/U mark at home and impressive 7-1 O/U road record.

The Vikings also posted solid ATS records, both, at home (4-4 ATS) and on the road (3-3-2 ATS). Minnesota also used its above average offense to go Over their set O/U totals in eight contests, going 6-2 O/U at home but just 2-5-1 O/U on the road.

Green Bay ranked second in total offense and passing offense under Favre last season, averaging 370.8 Total Yards per game and 271.0 passing yards per contest. Before naming bruising Ryan Grant as the team’s starting running back, the Packers struggled mightily to run the ball and ended the 2007 season averaging just 99.8 yards per game on the ground, (14th). Green Bay also ranked fourth in scoring last season, averaging 27.2 points per contest.

The Vikings ranked 13th in total offense last season, averaging 335.9 total yards per game, including ranking first in rushing offense, averaging 164.6 rushing yards per contest. The Vikings are hoping to improve their dismal passing attack as they averaged just 171.3 passing yards per game last season. Minnesota also ranked 15th in scoring, averaging 22.8 points per contest.

The Packers ranked sixth in points allowed last season, limiting their opponents to just 18.2 points per game, while the Vikings fielded the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in 2007, allowing just 73.8 rushing yards per game. Minnesota’s 32nd-ranked pass defense (264.5 yards per game) will likely not be tested anywhere near as much by the Packers in this Week One matchup with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback as it would have been with Favre under center.

Green Bay had just 46 total yards of offense in the first half against the Niners, with Rodgers going 9-for-18 for 58 yards while failing to get the Packers into the end zone, while getting sacked four times and watching his receivers dropped a couple of excellent throws.

Analysis: While the Vikings are certainly not a lock to win this road contest by any means, I genuinely believe that is exactly what’s going t happen in the first regular season post Brett Favre contest in Packers history. I hate to say it, but Aaron Rodgers should ask to be traded right now as he is in a now-win situation with the Packers for the remainder of his career.

Expect things to get ugly in a hurry for the Packers this season, starting with this NFC North divisional matchup against their longtime foes.

NFL Free Picks: Vikings 24 Packers 20

Minnesota @ Green Bay

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