The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the Green Bay Packers (12-3), who could inch closer to another No. 1 seed.
But Green Bay’s last loss was 34-31 in Minnesota in Week 11, and it is the only loss with Aaron Rodgers available since Week 2. Below, we’ll take a look at the early NFL odds.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
Sunday, January 2, 2022 – 08:20 PM EST at Lambeau Field
The Packers (11-4 ATS) are a 6.5-point favorite over the Vikings (8-7 ATS) at many of BMR’s top sportsbooks. The Vikings have played 12 straight games decided by fewer than nine points, and only two teams in NFL history have had longer streaks with the record belonging to the 1989-90 Chargers at 14 games. Can the Vikings keep it close again, or will Green Bay get a more comfortable win after just beating the Ravens and Browns by a combined three points?
Week 11 Recap: Vikings 34, Packers 31
In Week 11, the Packers had another one of their slow starts and trailed 16-3 in the first half and 23-10 in the third quarter. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was playing with his new toe injury at the time, but his rally attempt led to one of his finest games of the season. He threw for a season-high 385 yards, averaged a season-high 11.67 yards per pass, and had a season-high 148.4 passer rating.
Green Bay took a 24-23 lead in the fourth quarter before Kirk Cousins led the Minnesota offense to another touchdown. Rodgers immediately hit a huge play for a 75-yard touchdown to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but that left the Vikings plenty of time in a 31-31 game. Cousins narrowly avoided another interception and led Minnesota to a game-winning field goal at the buzzer for a 34-31 win.
Both quarterbacks threw for over 340 yards and three touchdowns. Dalvin Cook had 86 rushing yards and a touchdown for the Vikings. Leading rusher Aaron Jones was out for Green Bay, but A.J. Dillon had 53 yards on the ground. Both star wideouts, Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson went over 100 receiving yards and each caught two touchdowns. Which offense regresses from this shootout?
The Vikings were one of the most aggressive defenses at blitzing Rodgers 14 times in the game on 33 throws. It produced two sacks and 10 pressures for one of the best pressure games of the season on Rodgers, but the overall results were still not good.
Rodgers pulled off the difficult feat of having his season-best game is completed air yards per pass (7.3) and his season-best game in YAC per completion (9.4) in the same game. Rodgers had five completions of 25-plus yards.
Cousins hit his own share of big throws, but the Packers would love to have a few plays back on near interceptions, especially by safety Darnell Savage Jr. late in the game. If Cousins is going to be that charitable again, the Packers may finish better at home after intercepting Baker Mayfield four times on Christmas.
Since Week 11
Green Bay has won four in a row, but it is troubling how the team has allowed at least 22 points in the last five games. Through 10 games, the Packers allowed 18.0 points per game, good for third in the NFL. But over the last five games, the Packers have allowed 28.8 points per game, the fourth most in that time.
The defense did return interceptions for touchdowns against the Bears and Rams, and they eventually stopped Baltimore on a game-deciding two-point conversion in Week 15, and they picked off Mayfield on Christmas to stop another game-winning drive attempt. But this defense has not played as well as the first 10 games, and the Vikings are certainly a formidable foe.
The toe injury is just something Rodgers will have to manage for the rest of the season. While he was noticeably limping through the Cleveland game, it so far has not hampered his play. Since the Minnesota game, Rodgers is completing 70.6% of his passes, has thrown 16 touchdowns to zero interceptions, and his 125.3 passer rating would beat his 2011 season record (122.5).
This is why he’s the MVP leader again. Add Allen Lazard and Jones, who both missed Week 11, to the offense and the Packers should be lethal again in this matchup. As for the Vikings, this team has been on a “win two, lose two” run since Week 5. If that pattern continues Sunday, this would be another loss.
Minnesota’s defense has been rather lousy when not playing the Bears. The Vikings nearly blew a 29-0 lead to Pittsburgh, and despite intercepting Matthew Stafford three times, they lost wire-to-wire to the Rams on Sunday after having at least a 6-point lead in each of the first 14 games this season.
Over the last three games, Cousins has thrown four interceptions and is averaging just 6.65 yards per attempt. Through 12 games, he had 25 touchdowns to three interceptions and was averaging 7.52 YPA. Since Cousins joined the team in 2018, Minnesota is 10-10 ATS as a road underdog, which is tied for the seventh-worst win percentage.
The Packers are 6-1 ATS at home this season. Since 2019, head coach Matt LaFleur is 18-8 ATS at home and 11-5 ATS in division games for the best records in the league in that time.
Rodgers has not lost three games in a row to the Vikings since 2008-09. He is the favorite for his fourth MVP, and with a road game in Detroit in Week 18, this game is basically the only thing left standing in Green Bay’s way for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
If Dallas loses to Arizona in the afternoon, a Green Bay win clinches the top seed. I like the Packers to seize the moment on Sunday night and beat the Vikings by at least a touchdown to close your Sunday NFL picks.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.