Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5, 46)
Odds provided by BetUS.com.
Revenge in the Air
It’s been two years in the making, but it’s finally here. Brett Favre is facing the Green Bay Packers.
Emotions will be running high in the latest renewal of this longstanding division rivalry. For his part, Favre has tried to downplay the storyline this week by giving it the ‘it’s just another game’ treatment.
“It’s a Monday night game, the only game playing and there’s more excitement because of that,” Favre said. “But you can’t treat it any differently. Trying to keep your emotions in check any time is part of it. But I think that’s a key part to any player’s success, too, is you want to be excited, emotional. If it doesn’t mean a whole lot, you shouldn’t be playing."
Aside from the emotional side of the game, Favre playing against his former mates also has more tangible aspects. The Vikings’ coaching staff has consulted with Favre extensively this week in hopes of gaining insight into how to stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy’s West Coast offense.
“There’s still some guys on the club he’s familiar with on their offense, and some of the things schematically that they’re doing, there’s some familiarity,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier told local media. “We’re picking his brain as much as we can to try to get some insight.
Favre was placed on the injury report for the first time this year because of a sore foot. While it limited his practice time, it’s not expected to a concern come game time.
Grant-ing a Wish
Yes, the Packers rushing attack ranks in the bottom half of the league through three weeks and it faces one of the league’s top rush defenses behind a patchwork offensive line. But things may not be as bad as they seem.
Packers’ running back Ryan Grant has excelled against the Vikings in three games since he became the Packers’ starting running back late in the 2007 season. The veteran out of Notre Dame has combined to rush for 286 yards on 53 carries against the Vikings, an average carry of 5.4 yards, and has rushed for two touchdowns.
On the run
The Packers run defense has allowed consecutive 100-yard rushers to drop to 23rd in the league in run defense and now must tackle Adrian Peterson, the league’s top rusher with 357 yards. Peterson has been especially productive against the Packers in the team’s four previous matchups. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in three out of those four games, including a 192-yard performance in the teams’ final meeting last season.
It appears the Packers will be without the services of starting left tackle Chad Clifton for the second straight week because of an ankle injury. If he’s unable to go, Daryn Colledge will again get the call and draw the responsibility of blocking standout defensive end Jared Allen. Defensive linemen Johnny Jolly (abdomen) and B.J. Raji (ankle) were also added to the injury report as limited participants in practice Friday.
The Vikings come into this one in pretty good shape health-wise. The major concern is All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson, who is listed as questionable with a back injury. He practiced on a limited basis Saturday after missing the first two practices of the week. Punt returner Darius Reynaud is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Bernard Berrian or Jaymar Johnson will take over return duties if Reynaud is unable to go.
These teams split their two meetings last year. Green Bay beat the Vikings 24-19 as 1-point home favorites in September and Minnesota came back to avenge the defeat with a 28-27 win as 2.5-point home faves.
Oddsmakers opened with the Vikings favored by 3.5 points, but the line grew with players backing the home team. BetUS is dealing Minny -4.5 with the total sitting at 46.
Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog. Packers are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 road games. Vikings are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Vikings are 1-4 in their last five games as a home favorite. Over is 7-1-1 in the last nine head-to-head meetings in Minnesota.