Green Bay (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0)
When: Sunday, September 18th 2016
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: NBC
The Minnesota Vikings will open a brand-new state-of-the-art U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night against rival Green Bay Packers. This will also be the debut of QB Sam Bradford after he was acquired right before the start of the season when starter Teddy Bridgewater went down at the end of the preseason. Minnesota was rescued by its defense in last week’s 25-16 win at Tennessee with backup Shaun Hill throwing for 233 yards on 18-of-33 passing and Adrian Peterson managing only 31 yards rushing on 19 carries. A 77-yard interception return and 24-yard fumble return for touchdowns sparked a run of 25 unanswered points for the Vikings after they were held off the scoreboard in the first half. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was the lone offensive star with seven catches for 103 yards, while Minnesota’s defense recorded a pair of sacks after tying for seventh in the league last season with 43.
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Green Bay has no such problems on offense with Aaron Rodgers leading the way again. Rodgers threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another in last week’s 27-23 victory at Jacksonville. While Rodgers has at least two touchdown passes in 11 of the past 13 meetings against the Vikings, he couldn’t beat them at home in the regular-season finale that gave Minnesota the NFC North title last season. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed the entire 2015 season after tearing a knee ligament, had six catches for 32 yards against Jacksonville. Eddie Lacy, who had 61 yards on 14 carries in Week 1, has rushed for 100 yards in five of the last six meetings with the Vikings. The Packers held the Jaguars to 48 yards rushing but were burned for 320 yards through the air by Blake Bortles.
Green Bay will look to spoil the home opener at the new stadium and get some revenge from last year’s Week 17 loss. Minnesota really struggled on offense last week and may again until Bradford gets comfortable with the new system. The Packers have covered two of the last three played in Minnesota. I think they get the job done tonight in prime time.
Pick: Packers -2.5