Minnesota Vikings (7-8) at Green Bay Packers (12-3)
The Vikings need to win this game in Green Bay to keep their playoff hopes alive and unfortunately their slim playoff odds might have effectively already fallen to zero before this game even kicks off, with the Vikings losing quarterback Kirk Cousins to the COVID protocols and set to start backup Sean Mannion, a 7-year veteran who is starting his first real game this week, with his two career starts both coming in meaningless week 17 games where his team was resting starters.
For spread purposes though, this line has compensated by swinging to favor the Packers now by 13 points, so I still like the Vikings’ chances of covering. The Packers stand alone with the league’s best record at 12-3, but they haven’t been dominant in most of their wins. As a result, they rank just 11th in the NFL in point differential at +59 and, in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Packers rank 7th, 19th, 32nd on offense, defense, and special teams respectively and 17th in overall mixed efficiency.
They have been better at home, which has been the case throughout Aaron Rodgers’ tenure, as Rodgers’ QB rating is about 10 points higher at home in his career and the Packers are 50-23 ATS at home in games Rodgers starts and finishes in front of crowds with fans, but this line still seems a little bit too high, as the Vikings still have a talented #1 wide receiver in Justin Jefferson, a strong running game, and a defense that is at least competent. I don’t have any confidence in the Vikings, but I would take them at this number for pick ’em purposes as my calculated line is Green Bay -10.5.
Green Bay Packers 26 Minnesota Vikings 14
Pick against the spread: Minnesota +13