Green Bay Packers (0-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-0)
When these two teams met last season, the Packers won both matchups, outscoring the Vikings by 18 points and winning the first down rate battle by 10.32% between the two games. The Packers also won more games overall, winning the NFC North at 13-3, with the Vikings settling for a wild card at 10-6. However, overall, the Vikings actually outplayed the Packers on the year, with edges in first down rate differential (+3.34% vs. +1.15%), point differential (+104 vs. +63), and DVOA (+15.4% vs. +7.7%).
There is a lot of talk about how the Packers didn’t do anything notable to improve their weaknesses this season, but the Vikings had a much worse off-season and are missing key contributors from last season. On offense, they traded away Stefon Diggs, who was their top wide receiver last season, and replaced him with a rookie first round pick. On defense, defensive end Everson Griffen and defensive tackle Linval Joseph left in free agency. The Vikings brought in Yannick Ngakoue and Michael Pierce to replace them, but the latter opted out of the season, while the former will start the season as a replacement for other starting defensive end Danielle Hunter, one of the top edge defenders in the league, who will miss at least the first 3 weeks of the season with injury. Without him, the Vikings have a very underwhelming defensive line, with Ngakoue as their only real threat.
The Packers are missing an offensive lineman to do injury, but have arguably the deepest offensive line in the league, with 6 capable starters on the roster. Overall, I give the Packers a 3.5 point edge over the Vikings based on the current state of their rosters. This is technically a road game for the Packers, but the Vikings won’t have any fans in the stadium due to pandemic restrictions and the Packers don’t have to travel far. This line favors the Vikings by 2.5 points, but my calculated line is the opposite favoring the Packers by 2.5. I don’t love line value between -3/+3 because so few games are decided by 2 or fewer points, but the Packers are worth a small bet at +2.5 and there’s good value with the money line at +120 as well. If this line moves up to +3, I will increase this bet.
Green Bay Packers 23 Minnesota Vikings 20 Upset Pick +120
Pick against the spread: Green Bay +2.5