Free NFL Pick: Minnesota at Green Bay 10-24-2010

October 23, 2010

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Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Sunday October 24th, 2010 8:20 PM EST

Line: Green Bay -2 1/2

Overview:

The Green Bay Packers are struggling recently. The team is 3-3, but 0-2 in their last two games, suffering two overtime losses in a row. The Vikings have struggled all season long, but knocking off the Cowboys last week has some thinking the Vikings will get on track this week. This is the perfect game to be in prime time, as Favre’s last visit to Lambeau is going to draw the attention of the entire nation.

Keys to the Game:

  • Brett Favre is going to implant one last memory in the minds of Packers fans. He has posted good games as the visiting quarterback at Lambeau and with the acquisition of Randy Moss, Favre finally has all the tools he needs to have a huge game. Another storyline is created on the other side of the ball from Favre making his final appearance in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has never beaten Brett Favre. The two can duck the questions and play the ‘just another game on the schedule’ card, but we all know Rodgers would love to come away with just one victory before Favre retires. He already fights tooth and nail to get out of the shadow the future hall of famer cast. Rodgers has done a respectable job at creating a legacy of his own, but if he can’t beat Favre in this one, there will be those that believe that no matter what Rodgers does the rest of his career, Favre did it better.
  • The Packers can’t overcome their injuries. That is no knock on Green Bay. We all knew they faced an uphill battle when their starting running back and middle linebacker were listed out as out for the season, their best pass rusher was out with a hamstring injury, their pro bowl caliber tight end was knocked out for the season and so and so forth. The snuck away with a victory against the Lions, but have not been able to finish given the holes on their roster. The Packers were a Super Bowl contender before they started dropping like flies. Given that they have been struggling with middle of the road teams recently, the Vikings could easily take advantage of a battered Packers team.
  • The Packers give up 112.3 yards a game against the run this season. That is great news for Adrian Peterson. This year, teams have been coming after Peterson with reckless abandon because Favre and the passing game have virtually been a non factor. This has turned the Vikings into the team they were before Brett Favre. All that changed when the Vikings acquired Randy Moss in a blockbuster trade. Now, the Vikings have a serious threat at wide receiver. This softens up the defense and allows AP to break loose. To make matters worse for the Packers, they aren’t solid against the run to begin with.
  • The Vikings have a top notch defense despite their record. They have only allowed 17.6 yards a game. Whatever problems the Vikings are encountering this year are the result of sloppy offensive play. The Packers began the year as a big time big play offense that could hurt you in a number of ways. While Aaron Rodgers and Co. are doing the best they can to compensate for the injuries, the number of ways their offense can be effective has dwindled significantly. The play makers are not abundant and the Packers don’t have a run game that they can hang their hat on anymore. The Packers need to perfect the few things they still have in their arsenal, rather than looking for the big thirty yard catches that made them so successful to begin the year. If the Packers can survive this flurry of injuries, they will be more successful in the long run, but their back will be up against a wall this week.

Wrap Up:

The Vikings are entering panic mode, which they made evident when they went out and made a play for Moss. They got a key victory against the Cowboys last week, but they need another one this week to launch them back into contention. 3-3 is a much more manageable record than 2-4. Going into Lambeau isn’t necessarily an easy task, but it is one that Brett Favre is accustomed to. I like the Vikings in this one. The Packers’ effort is admirable given their circumstances, but I just don’t see them remaining competitive, even if Clay Matthews limps into the game.

Free NFL Pick: Minnesota +2 1/2


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