The MINNESOTA and the GREEN BAY will both be gunning for a victory on 12/24/2016 at 1:00 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 24, 2016
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
|111||MINNESOTA||-7 (-110)||43 (-110)||230
TV: 1:00 PM
PREDICTION: GREEN BAY , MINNESOTA
Oddsmakers currently have the GREEN BAY listed as -7 point favorites versus the MINNESOTA, while the game’s total is sitting at 43.
GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Once upon a time, the Minnesota Vikings were 5-0 and the NFL’s last undefeated team.
Only a month ago, the Green Bay Packers were 4-6 and all but ruled out of the playoff picture.
Both teams flipped the script. When they play at Lambeau Field on Saturday, it’s the Packers (8-6) who have a chance to clinch a playoff berth, thanks to a four-game winning streak. The Vikings (7-7), on the other hand, are on the brink of elimination after losing seven of their nine games.
“Both teams have endured a lot of injuries,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
Injuries defined the path to Week 16 and what amounts to a possible elimination game.
Running back Eddie Lacy’s season-ending ankle injury and a rash of injuries at cornerback, in particular, sent the Packers tumbling at midseason.
But with questions swirling about the futures of coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson and the play of two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have regrouped. Since Rodgers proclaimed the Packers could “run the table” following a lopsided loss at Washington, they are 4-0. With some help, they could get in the playoffs this week; if they win this game and next week at Detroit, they’d win the NFC North.
“Not if you don’t finish it off,” Rodgers said when asked if there’s pride in battling back into the playoff picture. “Like I said after the game, you know what it feels like to be 4-6. That’s a tough situation to be in. It’s frustrating, it’s a struggle, it’s a grind. Luckily in those situations, we’ve stuck together, didn’t have any fracturing in the locker room. No finger-pointing, no unnamed sources coming out (and) taking shots at guys. We stuck together, and I think we all believed that sometimes in this business it just takes one to get going. We got that first one, then we came home and won a couple. We won a tough one on the road. Now we’ve got two left,. Win them both and we’re in and we’re division champs. That’s the goal at this point.”
The Packers have gotten somewhat healthier. Rodgers said his injured calf should be “closer to 100 percent” and cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have played the last four games together following groin injuries. They’ve played a role in Green Bay’s whopping 10 takeaways the past two weeks. The sore spot is at outside linebacker, where Clay Matthews has been ineffective the past three games with a shoulder injury and Nick Perry has missed the last two games with an injured hand.
Perhaps key for Green Bay’s playoff hopes is the emergence of Ty Montgomery at running back. The converted receiver rushed for 162 yards against Chicago on Sunday. Montgomery and waiver-wire pickup Christine Michael combined for 207 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
“Everybody wants to keep talking about Ty as a receiver, and that’s fine – I think he broke 12 tackles in the game in Chicago,” McCarthy said. “And Christine Michael’s just getting more and more comfortable with not only the scheme but the guys he’s playing with.”
Unlike the Packers, the Vikings have been unable to right the ship. While Sam Bradford has done well in place of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, there are three starting offensive tackles on injured reserve and running back Adrian Peterson returned last week following an 11-game absence.
Those injuries add up to these painful numbers: 25th in scoring (18.9 points per game), 31st in total offense (301.5 rushing yards per game), 32nd in rushing per game (70.6) and 31st in yards per completion (9.8).
“Obviously, we’ve battled some injuries, which has made it tough,” Bradford said. “There’s weeks that we’ve come out and we’ve played really well, and there’s other weeks where we haven’t. On offense, I think we’ve got to be a little bit more consistent because there have been times where we’ve done some really good things out there, and there’s other times where we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot and hold ourselves back.”
Rather than provide a spark, Peterson’s return resulted in the Vikings’ worst performance of the season, a 34-6 throttling at home by Indianapolis. By halftime, the Colts led 27-0 and had a 21-2 edge in first downs. Peterson carried six times for 22 yards and one fumble in 12 snaps.
“It sure wasn’t a very pretty performance that we had,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “We’re going to have to regroup and get back with it. There’s nothing we can do about anything that’s happened in the past. We’ve got to move forward.”
The Indy game notwithstanding, the Vikings’ defense was strong all season. It’s allowed 17 points or fewer in eight of 14 games and ranks among the NFL leaders in passing yards, passer rating and sacks. In their last two games against Green Bay, Minnesota has given up a total of 27 points.
The Vikings have three Pro Bowlers on that side of the ball with defensive end Everson Griffen, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith. Smith has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.