Opinion corner: Plenty at stake for Pack, PurpleI stand by the assumption that no football fan worth their weight in pork rinds would have predicted the Minnesota Vikings have a shot at the playoffs this year.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
I stand by the assumption that no football fan worth their weight in pork rinds would have predicted the Minnesota Vikings have a shot at the playoffs this year.
If it wasn’t for Adrian Peterson having a monster season there’s no doubt that Sunday’s game would have an entirely different meaning.
But that’s not the case and a win Sunday means a playoff berth for a team that won three games last season, or a first-round bye for a team that’s won nine of its 10 last games.
Along with Sunday’s upset at Houston, and the early-season win against the 49ers, the Vikings are one more upset away from shocking talking heads across the country.
Too bad the Vikings face a Green Bay squad that after Sunday’s domination of Tennessee (55-7) is officially on a serious roll.
The Pack holds the No. 2 seed in the NFC for the playoffs, so a win is necessary to clinch that first-round bye. Otherwise, the 49ers would have to lose to Arizona and the Seahawks do the same against the Rams — if the Vikings prevail.
Sunday’s border battle was moved back to 3:25 p.m. on Fox for the national spotlight with so much on the line.
Last season when the Packers clinched a first-round bye, they ended up getting throttled by the Giants on New York’s run to the title.
While this writer doesn’t want to see history repeat itself, a number of Packers could use the rest to get healthy. Running backs Alex Green and James Starks, and offensive lineman Jeff Saturday are a few difference makers that could use an extra week of rest.
The Green and Gold is also recovering from injuries at the right time with Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson returning for this weekend’s tilt.
For Minnesota this is a chance to prove the naysayers wrong, and they’ll no-doubt have a very lubed-up Metrodome crowd behind them.
The last time the two teams met Peterson ran for 210 yards, which takes away the need for effective quarterbacking, good thing for Minnesota.
All Day is only 208 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s all-time season high record. He will be given every opportunity to break that mark.
Blair Walsh has also turned into Pro Bowl worthy source of field goals, while Mason Crosby probably has second thoughts about lacing up his shoes, not to mention kicking anything longer than 40 yards in a hostile environment.
I believe Jarred Allen is going to keep Aaron Rodgers honest in the first half and the Vikings will hold a lead going into the break. But the late game heroics of the last season’s MVP will outshine this year’s candidate on offense as the Vikings come close, but ultimately Green Bay rolls into the bye week and the Vikings pack it up for the season.
With Vegas giving the Packers three points I would feel confident making a bet. Green Bay 27, Minnesota 20.
Ben Rodgers is a frequent contributor to the Opinion Corner