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Packers vs. Vikings Gambling Preview/Prediction

NFL: Favre faces old friends

Green Bay & Minnesota will be playing for more than just Brett Favre when they get together on Monday Night Football.

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The Vikings are 3-0, thanks in large part to Favre’s last second heroics last week. They have won five straight games as divisional hosts but are 2-3 ATS in that span. They are also just 3-9 ATS in their L12 at home overall.

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The Packers are 2-1, playing a second straight road game before being off next week. They are 17-7 ATS on the road under Mike McCarthy and 14-5 ATS in divisional games. This head-to-head series has seen some significant trends, particularly the games in Minnesota, where dogs are on a 13-3 ATS run, and the OVER is 6-1.

The Vikings may not have ranked at the top of Green Bay’s rivalry list—that’s been reserved by the Bears for decades—but the addition of quarterback Brett Favre certainly catapults Minnesota at least to rival. The two teams have met 95 times, and the Packers own a 49-45-1 edge, including victories in six straight. It’s unlikely, however, that any of the prior meetings had as much emotion on the line.

Minnesota’s offense is slowly rounding into form with Favre, the future Hall of Famer, running the show. Though his numbers are well below those of his Green Bay career, last week’s game-winning 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with two seconds left shows he can still pinpoint a target.

Adrian Peterson has been a nightmare for the Packers defense—he ran for 295 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s two meetings—and continues to punish every opponent.

Back near the top of the leaderboard in rushing yards (357) and touchdowns (four), Peterson takes aim at a Green Bay defense that was torched for 141 yards by Cedric Benson in Week 2 and 117 more by Steven Jackson in last week’s 36-17 win at St. Louis. Defense, in general, is becoming an issue for Green Bay, though the most important area that needs to be addressed is on the other side of the ball.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who replaced Favre, finds himself on the move more than a taxi driver in rush hour. Sacked 12 times already, limited time in the pocket has taken the deep completion, a staple of the offense given the youth at wide receiver, almost out of the playbook. Greg Jennings, the biggest home run threat, was held without a catch by Cincinnati in Week 2, but returned to the scorebook with two grabs for 103 yards in St. Louis.

Given the state of the Minnesota run defense—it’s been nothing short of phenomenal, allowing an average of just 91.3 yards per game—most teams are often forced to move the ball through the air. But the Vikings secondary can be just as tight as the line. It allowed just 188 yards passing in last week’s 27-24 win over San Francisco.

A late bloomer in terms of his career and a late starter during the season, Ryan Grant continues to struggle on the ground, and some of the problems can be attributed to the issues with the line.

PREDICTION
The Vikings will have no trouble keeping the Packers at arm’s length, much like the sixth-grade bully picking on a third-grader. The losing skid against Green Bay ends, and a once formidable enemy stamps his allegiance as a new best friend.

MINNESOTA 33, GREEN BAY 24

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