Green Bay (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0)
When: Sunday, September 11th 2022
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium,
Time: 4:25 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Green Bay -2/49
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The projected top two teams in the NFC North will waste no time getting things started this season, as the Green Bay Packers visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Green Bay has dominated the division for years behind Aaron Rodgers, but the Vikings are much improved and have a potent offense that can compete with anyone. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins has put up big numbers in his career, throwing for at least 4,000 yards in six of the last seven seasons. He is also the only QB to record seven straight seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes. He has multiple weapons including running back Dalvin Cook and wideout Justin Jefferson. The Vikings will look to get back into the playoffs under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell.
The Packers meanwhile, are coming off a terrific 2021 regular season that saw them earn the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but lost 13-10 at home to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round. Rodgers is the two-time reigning NFL MVP and ranks fifth in league history in touchdown passes (449) and 10th in passing yards (55,360). However, his favorite target is gone. Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams is now in Las Vegas, while Allen Lazard is dealing with an ankle injury that could keep him out Sunday. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon form a solid backfield, while linebackers Rashan Gary and De’Vondre Campbell anchor the defense. The Packers are just 2-4 in their last six trips to Minneapolis, including a 34-31 setback in Week 11 last season.
The Packers had a stressful offseason after losing Adams to Las Vegas, but they also had to deal with Rodgers, who ultimately eased off his trade demands. With questions at wide receiver heading into Week 1, the Packers could run the ball more. The Vikings were one of the worst defenses in 2021, allowing 130.7 rushing yards per game. Still, no matter who lines up at wide receiver, Rodgers is sure to find them and put up big numbers once again this season. The Packers are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games in September and 5-2 ATS in their last seven Week 1 contests. Green Bay will host Chicago next Sunday night.
The Vikings finished 8-9 a year ago, but seven of those losses came against teams who made the postseason. This year’s schedule looks more manageable and could translate into a playoff run. Minnesota is 10-16-1 all-time against Rodgers and have dropped five of the last seven against the future Hall of Famer. The defense was improved in the draft by taking safety Lewis Cine and corner Andrew Booth Jr., while stealing away pass rusher Za’Darius Smith (44 1/2 sacks and 53 tackles for loss over 91 career games) from the Packers. Last season, the Vikings averaged 25.0 points per game and 262.8 total yards per contest behind Cousins. Cook rushed for 1,159 yards, while Jefferson recorded 1,616 receiving yards. The Vikings are 20-7-1 against the spread in their last 28 games as a home underdog.
This is a terrific Week 1 matchup between the top teams in the division. Minnesota has the offense to keep up with Green Bay and an improved defense that just might be good enough to make a run in the postseason. The Vikings have been great as a home dog in recent years, going 20-7-1 ATS. Minnesota wins a close one.
Pick: Vikings +1.5