We’ve reached the final road game, and the second-to-last game overall, of the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 regular season. They’ll travel to Wisconsin to finish their home-and-home series with the Green Bay Packers, and they need a win to keep their incredibly slim postseason hopes alive.
As we have every week, we have your prediction widgets from our friends at The Crowd’s Line for your predictions for this week’s game.
I really, truly wish I could have a more positive outlook for this afternoon’s game, folks. But after the “performance” that this team put together last week with their season on the line, there isn’t a whole lot that fills me with confidence. The Vikings are stumbling all over the place and are now in danger of finishing the season below .500 after their 5-0 start, while the Packers have won four straight and appear to be headed towards a Week 17 clash with the Detroit Lions for the NFC North division title.
When these two teams met back in September, the Vikings pulled out a 17-14 win, largely on the strength of their defense. They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times that night and forced three turnovers, and both of those things went a long way towards their victory in Week 2. In order for them to have any sort of a chance this afternoon, they’re going to have to put together a similar type of defensive showing. They’re capable of it, certainly, but last week they got absolutely ripped by an Indianapolis offense that was starting three rookies on the offensive line and was missing significant pieces at the skill positions. The apparent return of Harrison Smith will likely help out significantly, but the rest of the defense needs to play at the level they were playing at early in the season in this one.
When Minnesota has the ball, they’ll be facing a Green Bay defense that has improved in recent weeks, but still has its weaknesses. They have significant injuries in the linebacking corps, and with Sam Shields still on the shelf and Damarious Randall hurting, Stefon Diggs could be in line for the sort of performance he had in the first matchup between these two teams. If the Vikings’ offensive line can give Sam Bradford time to find Diggs (and Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson), they can get chunks of yardage against the Green Bay defense. The Packers are still very good against the run, but Minnesota’s run game continues to be historically awful, so at this point that’s no concern anyway.
On paper, this would appear to be a pretty even matchup, at least when it comes to the Green Bay offense against the Minnesota defense. However, after last week’s egg-laying at U.S. Bank Stadium, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings regrouping and getting out of Lambeau Field with a third consecutive win in this series. Besides, this is 2016. . .is there any other way it can end for Vikings fans in a year where they started out 5-0 and the Packers were dead and buried in mid-November than for Green Bay to find a way to win the NFC North again?
Packers 24, Vikings 14 to officially close the lid on Minnesota’s 2016 season.
That’s what I’ve got, folks. What are you thinking for this week’s game?