After several long months of waiting, the National Football League is back. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will jump right into the action against their divisional rival Minnesota Vikings. There is plenty of history between the two NFC North teams, but the Vikings are actually a club that Rodgers “struggles” against. In his career, Rodgers is only 16-10-1 against the Vikings, a mark he looks to improve on Sunday.
The biggest storyline of the off-season in Green Bay was the wide receiver room. National media hates the Packers receiving core, and Rodgers says the group has plenty of room for improvement. “We’ve got to be way more consistent. A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area,” said Rodgers during training camp.
What exactly does that room look like? Well, veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb will do their best to slide into the lineup along Allen Lazard. Behind the “starting” three, rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs have plenty to prove, and plenty of room to grow in the Packers offense. While Rodgers does not have the top tier receiver he is used to having, 12 has always been able to get it done no matter who is on the field.
In Minnesota, the time to win is now. Head Coach Kevin O’Connell has plenty to prove with stars all across the roster. The loaded offense with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson will do their best to help out a defense that will have their hands full with Rodgers and his running back duo in AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones.
Date: Sunday, September 11th
Start Time: 3:25 p.m. CT
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Points Spread: MIN +1.5 (-110) | GB -1.5 (+110)
Moneyline: MIN (+125) | GB (-105)
Over/Under: O 47 (-110) | U 47 (-110)
Betting on divisional games is always rough, especially during Week 1. With the dynamic pieces that both teams have on offense, it may be wise to take a good hard look at the over in this game. There are some documented struggles for the Packers against Minnesota in Rodgers career, but Green Bay should be the clear betting favorite in this game. Favor the over, and consider the GB spread and moneyline if you are feeling saucy.
This football game very well may come down to the running backs. If either ground game gets on a roll, keeping the ball out of the hands of the opposition's offense will be huge for both teams. Dalvin Cook has scorched the Packers in the past, and the Green Bay running back duo can beat you in every phase of the game.
There will be some eyes on stars returning from injury that could have a huge impact on this game. Minnesota’s Za’Darius Smith will hit the field after missing most of last year in Green Bay. For the Cheeseheads, Jaire Alexander is back healthy, and the offensive line may receive a big boost. All-Pro Left Tackle David Bakhtiari is slated to return to action, while All-Pro lineman Elgton Jenkins could return as soon as Week 1.
Ultimately, Green Bay has the advantage at every phase of football. Shut out the noise about the Packers wide receiver group and enjoy a defensive lead team with a special teams unit that should no longer haunt Matt LaFleur at night.
Final Score: Green Bay Packers 31, Minnesota Vikings 20
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