Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Time & Location: Saturday 1:00 PM EST; Lambeau Field; Green Bay, WI
Previous Meeting: 2017 Week 6, Vikings Won 23-10
The Green Bay Packers streak of playoff appearances officially ended at eight with the Atlanta Falcons victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. Along with their playoff hopes being shut down, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was shut down for the final two games of the season to continue to rehab his collarbone in preparations for next season. The Packers roster has been decimated by injuries all season long, and this week is no different as, in addition to Rodgers, cornerback Demetri Goodson also headed to injured reserve, Davante Adams is out with a concussion after the hit by Thomas Davis last week, and Nick Perry is doubtful. The Vikings injury report is much shorter with only tackle Riley Reiff truly questionable among major contributors. Brett Hundley has a difficult day ahead against a strong Vikings defense.
After an absolutely miserable season last year with the Los Angeles Rams, Case Keenum starting for the Vikings was viewed as a death sentence, but he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Per Pro Football Focus, he’s been the seventh overall quarterback by their ratings, and he should have no troubles picking apart the struggling Packers pass defense. Even prior to the injuries, the defense had failed to improve much over last season’s 31st overall ranking last season. The team currently ranks 24th and Keenum will feast until the lead starts to get out of hand and allows Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon to run out the clock.
After multiple strong weeks from running back Jamaal Williams, he was stifled by the stout Panthers defense and appeared to cede his lead role back to fellow rookie Aaron Jones who was the more effective back on the day. Head coach Mike McCarthy has stated that, with the team missing the playoffs, he has already begun evaluations for next season, because missing the playoffs is not ok for what this teams’ standards are. Ty Montgomery is on injured reserve, so the team will need to evaluate these two running backs for next season to figure out the running back pecking order moving forward. Against the tough Vikings defense, that ranks second in total yards this season, it could be tough to tell much. However, the Vikings pass defense ranks third in the NFL, so moving the ball will be difficult in the air and on the ground.
Brett Hundley threw three interceptions in the previous matchup against the Vikings and looked completely overwhelmed. He has yet to throw a touchdown at home in his career and only has this week left to pull it off, as the Packers on the road next week against the Detroit Lions. Hundley’s favorite target was Adams, who will be out this week and give him even fewer weapons to work with. If he is going to get his first home touchdown pass, he will have to get very lucky against a brutal matchup that should result in a season sweep for the Vikings.
Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 27, Green Bay Packers 13
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