October 24th, 2010
I am going against my better judgement and picking the Vikings to win at Lambeau Field tonight in Brett Favre’s second visit back to Green Bay. The Vikings have not played a complete game yet in the 2010 NFL season, have a record of 2-3, and need a victory tonight to keep pace in what is turning out to be a very mediocre NFC.
If the Vikings win, they’ll even their record at .500, will be a half-game ahead of the Packers, and will only be a half-game behind the Bears for first place in the NFC North. The Bears are dropping back, record-wise, to where I thought they would be. There were not a good 3-0 team in September. And the Packers should probably be in a position where even a loss to the Vikings at home wouldn’t matter much. But it would. A lot.
The Packers, along with the Saints, have to be the most disappointing team in the NFC. They have tried to overcome some very important injuries, especially on defense, but have not had much success. They, like the Vikings, lost at home to the Dolphins, and their three losses have been by a combined nine points. The defense has held up pretty well, but the Packers’ offense, picked to be one of the best coming into the season, hasn’t looked the part. They have no running game behind a less-than-decent offensive line, which is important against the Vikings, as the purple should be able to consistently drop six or more defenders into coverage. I don’t think this is the night for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers receivers to turn their season around.
The Vikings have probably been even worse offensively than the Packers. Adrian Peterson has been running strong through the first one-third of the season and has been hanging onto the ball, which is what everyone wished him to do. He’s making defenders miss and is breaking tackles. After only scoring nine points in each of their opening two losses, the Vikings have scored 20+ in their last three games, going 2-1.
The Packers get linebacker Clay Matthews back on the field, but I doubt he’s 100% after sitting out last week with a hamstring injury. Brett Favre, Randy Moss, and the rest of the Vikings passing game had another week to get in sync, so I expect them to be better tonight. Percy Harvin is just as explosive as last year and Visanthe Shiancoe should find some seams after disappearing the last couple games. The Packers’ secondary is still without two starters, and they haven’t faced an offensive unit as capable as the Vikings.
The Packers are at home, Favre has to overcome his slow start and off-the-field distractions, and the Vikings offensive line has to give some better protection, but I think the purple come out with a victory. They have the most upside, the most to prove, and cannot fall any further back in the NFC. It could be ugly, especially if Favre doesn’t play as well as he did last year against his former team, but the Vikings will get it done.