Kirk Cousins of the Vikings and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers shaking hands

Aaron Rodgers is hoping to lead the Green Bay Packers past the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL Season. Photo from @Climb_ThePocket (Twitter).

  • The Packers kick off their 2020 season with a divisional match-up with the Vikings
  • Kick-off is at 1:00 pm ET at US Bank Stadium in Minnesota
  • See the odds and game preview, below

Last season, the Packers and Vikings fought over the NFC North crown for 12 weeks.

Both started 8-3, but the Vikes stumbled and the Pack thrived late. Green Bay won the division with a 13-3 record while Minnesota finished 10-6.

After an off-season of changes, each still has division-winning dreams, and Sunday’s game in Minnesota will be a huge first step toward that goal for one team.

Week 1: Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total at DraftKings
Green Bay Packers +118 +2.5 (-109) Over 45 (-110)
Minnesota Vikings -143 -2.5 (-112) Under 45 (+110)

Odds as of Sept 11th.

Both finished above .500 ATS in 2019, as Green Bay went 10-6, and Minnesota went 9-7. Their cover percentages were 62.5% and 56.2%, respectively.

In terms of Packers vs Vikings betting trends, Green Bay has received 85% of the action. The spread slipped to 2.5 at the beginning of September, with the total dropping from 46 to 45.

Packers Aiming to Repeat Success vs Vikings

Last season’s games came at opposite ends of the schedule. Both Week 2 in Minny (21-16) and Week 16 at Lambeau (23-10) were won by Green Bay.

Aaron Jones was the bright spot for the Packers in both.

Aaron Jones: Week 2 & Week 16

23 Carries 23
116 Rushing Yards 154
4 Receptions 2
34 Receiving Yards 6
150 Total Yards 160
1 Total TDs 2

While Minnesota fans weren’t too upset with Xavier Rhodes or Trae Waynes walking, the absence of Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen will be felt. The Vikings thought they had addressed both of those needs, but Michael Pierce opted-out. Then they traded for Yannick Ngakoue, but Danielle Hunter ended up on IR this week.

All of this brings Armon Watts, Shamar Stephen, and Jaleel Johnson into the spotlight. Watts was the only one of those three to grade above 60 (60.7) in run defense per PFF, with none of the trio earning a grade above a 70 overall.

Where Does Vikings Offense Go Post-Stefon Diggs?

The Vikings’ most significant move on offense was trading Stefon Diggs. They’ll likely feel the impact in Week 1.

Regardless of whether he was happy last year, Diggs continued to produce for the Vikings.

Receiver TGT/REC Yards TD Drops Rating when Targeted Receiving Grade
Stefon Diggs 91/63 1,132 6 6 110.7 78.4
Adam Thielen 47/30 418 6 1 131.9 76.0
Other Vikings WRs 63/44 594 4 2 105.4 66.5
Vikings TEs 101/83 736 8 2 114.1 65.9

His  receptions were down from his career-high 102 , but he set a new high in yards with 1,130. He did all that while having seven weeks where he finished with fewer than 50 yards.

It’ll be interesting to see what Minnesota throws at Green Bay. While talented, it’s tough to expect rookie Justin Jefferson to have a Diggs-like impact right away. There’s a chance we could see more two-tight end looks with Irv Smith expected to make a second year jump.

Packers’ Pressure? Cousins Can’t Like That

In two games against the Packers last year, Kirk Cousins was sacked six times and pressured 40 more. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith (no relation) accounted for four sacks and 17 hits/hurries. In total, Cousins dropped back 71 times.

The Packers’ swapping Christian Kirksey for Blake Martinez didn’t make them more formidable. But this is a front that caused the Vikings trouble last year.

Who Strikes First in NFC North Showdown?

While the Packers didn’t have a flashy off-season, they have one thing that’s supremely important in a weird year like this: consistency.

They have some questions along the offensive line, but the play-makers are there and in-sync with Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings have some questions on both sides of the ball that they’ll have to iron out on the fly.

This should be a low-scoring game in which the Packers will find a way to come out on top.

The Pick: PACKERS (+118); UNDER (+110)

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