Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Prediction: MIN 17, GB 27 (Line: GB by 8)

When do these teams not play? Just last week the Viking secured their playoff spot by winning a close one in Minnesota when Christian Ponder suddenly played just like a real quarterback. A really good one at that. The Vikings already lost 14-23 at Green Bay just five weeks ago and the Packers are getting nearly all their injured players back. There is a good chance that the Vikes intend to use Adrian Peterson here. This is going to be a cold one at around 22 degrees and will only get colder as the game goes on Saturday night. At least the Packers defense can stay warm running after Peterson.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI 10-28
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB 14-23
5 TEN 30-7 14 CHI 21-14
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL 36-22
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU 23-6
8 TB 17-36 17 GB 37-34
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MINNESOTA Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 20 - 170,1
RB Adrian Peterson 140,1 2-20 -
TE Kyle Rudolph - 5-50,1 -
WR Jerome Simpson - 3-30 -
WR MIchael Jenkins - 2-20 -
WR Jarius Wright - 4-50 -
PK Blair Walsh 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Vikings have had almost a magical ending to their year. They have won their last four games despite never being favored and mostly done it by Adrian Peterson steamrolling every defense despite their certain preparation against that very thing. Not to be undervalued here either has been the tremendous effort of the Vikes defense and special teams. Bottom line - the Vikings are not supposed to be here and yet they very much are. And going against a team they just beat last week.

But their last loss was also to this same team in this same venue. The Vikings hold that spot that often one or two teams will in playoffs - it would have been easier to explain why they were not in than why they are and yet you cannot count them out. Every week they get overlooked and every week they come up on the big side of the scoreboard. They've won in all sorts of ways but they were all wins.

Christian Ponder comes off a career best three touchdowns last week though he only passed for 234 yards. Ponder has not thrown an interception in three weeks and apparently benefited from defenses all watching Peterson every play. In the last meeting in Green Bay, Ponder completed only 12 of 25 passes for 119 yards and one score with two interceptions. Peterson went nuts that day but not Ponder. Until last week, Ponder had remained below 175 pass yards for six weeks and last week's 234 yards was helped by a 65-yard completion which brings it back down to 175.

Ponder bruised his elbow last week and was limited in practice but there is no concern that he'll be anything but 100% for this game. Charles Woodson has been cleared to return for this game after being out because of his collarbone and while he won't likely play the whole game, his return will greatly help the secondary. There is nothing special about Michael Jenkins, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright. Less so on the road in the cold against the Packers who have Woodson back.

This game comes down in part to what Peterson does though in the week 13 loss in Green Bay, he still ran for 210 yards and one score on 21 carries. Throw in 199 yards on 34 runs last week and the Packers alone account for almost 20% of Peterson's yardage this year. Peterson has to be considered as a lock for a big game here since he's already burned them for 400 yards this year but Ponder struggled last time and Woodson is back as well.

The Vikings could win this with defense and special teams and Peterson and it no longer should surprise anyone, but connecting the dots we know makes it less likely. Just like last week. And the week before. And...

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 5 30 16 4 13
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 14 17 18 1 13 7


Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI 23-10 11 @DET 24-20
3 @SEA 12-14 12 @NYG 10-38
4 NO 28-27 13 MIN 23-14
5 @IND 27-30 14 DET 27-20
6 @HOU 42-24 15 @CHI 21-13
7 @STL 30-20 16 TEN 55-7
8 JAC 24-15 17 @MIN 34-37
9 ARI 31-17 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 10 - 300,2
RB Ryan Grant 50 - -
RB DuJuan Harris 60,1 - -
TE Jermichael Finley - 5-60 -
WR Greg Jennings - 4-50 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 4-60 -
WR Randall Cobb - 6-90,1 -
WR James Jones - 3-40,1 -
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Packers offense may actually have all their receivers back and healthy this week for the first time since the season opener. Just last week, Aaron Rodgers passed for 365 yards and four touchdowns but was sacked five times. Greg Jennings was the lead receiver with a healthy eight catches for 120 yards and two scores and Jordy Nelson turning in 87 yards and a touchdown on three catches. Nelson is still questionable to play this week because of his knee despite playing with the pain last Sunday.

Randall Cobb was inactive to rest his ankle and knee injuries but is expected to be back and ready for a full game this week. That will probably move Jennings back out of the slot but the Packers will no doubt play around with their sudden wealth of receivers. James Jones also posted a score on his six catches for 62 yards last week and had the only receiving touchdown in the home meeting with the Vikings.

Back in week 13, Rodgers only passed for 286 yards and that one score largely because the rushing offense was doing well. Alex Green ran for 58 yards on 12 carries and James Starks scored once on his 15 runs for 66 yards.

But James Starks is still nursing a sore knee and has only practiced on a limited basis. He may not play this week. The Packers are going with the hot hand theory at tailback which mean DuJuan Harris last Sunday when he ran 14 times for 70 yards. Ryan Grant was the main runner the previous week with 20 carries for 80 yards and two scores on the visiting Titans. It makes for a messy situation to forecast since the roles and workload changes from week to week and even within a game. Grant and Harris will split duties this week in some yet unknown ratio.

Jermichael Finley played with only one good eye for most of last week but still ended with 72 yards on eight catches. He accounted for 60 yards and six receptions in the first meeting and has been more used when facing the Vikings.

This is going to be a cold game and at night at Lambeau should be loud. The Packers had some success running the ball against the Vikings in both meetings but Rodgers in the cold with all his receivers should be where the damage is done.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 2 29 1 13 21 17
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 28 7 24 20 10 6



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