The Green Bay Packers head to Minnesota to face the Vikings with playoff spots, seeding, and records on the line. The game will be at 4:25 pm eastern time, and will be shown on FOX.
Why you should watch: There are several reasons to watch this game, none bigger than two long standing rivals facing off with serious playoff implications on the line. If the Vikings win, they are in the playoffs no matter what happens to everyone else. They can still lose and get in, but they would certainly like to avoid that situation. The Packers can seal a number 2 seed and a first round bye with a win, but could also retain that seed with losses by San Francisco and Seattle. Needless to say, both teams have a lot to play for. Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, needs just over 200 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single season record for rushing yards, and he gashed Green Bay for 210 yards in their last meeting, meaning this feat is entirely possible.
What to watch for: As mentioned, Adrian Peterson torched the Packers defense last time they met for over 200 yards and several big plays. One particular play was a long touchdown run in which he broke tackles and outraced everyone up the sideline, in a dominant effort that ultimately could not lead the Vikings to victory. This time around, he will be at home and have the crowd on his side, and he will be running to try to help clinch a playoff spot that the Vikings have longed to have since the Brett Favre era ended. If the Packers can not stop him again, they could be in for a long day and could see their grip on a first round bye slip away.
Key Matchups: The recurring theme for the Packers offense has been that if Aaron Rodgers has time, they are unstoppable. The move to bench Jeff Saturday last week seemed to help, as Rodgers carved the Titans like a turkey in a 55-7 route. If Rodgers has time again this week, something similar could happen. Jared Allen and the Vikings front seven will have other ideas, and this matchup will be very important for both teams. When Rodgers is under pressure he is not as effective, but the Vikings have not consistently generated pressure this season.
The Pick: The Packers will book themselves a first round bye and a home game in the second round by beating the Vikings 24-20 in what should be a close game. The Vikings could still get in with a loss, so nothing will really be decided in the NFC Playoff picture until after the Sunday night game between the Cowboys and Redskins. Needless to say, Sunday should be a very busy and exciting day in the NFL.