The NFL Playoffs get underway on Saturday and we will see the Minnesota Vikings travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on NBC. Currently the odds for the game have Green Bay favored by 8 points, while the total sits at 45.5. Check out Sportsbook Spy to find out what side the Public is taking on all today's games.
Free Analysis: Minnesota needed to win its final four games of the regular season just to reach the playoffs and knocked off playoff contenders Chicago, Houston and Green Bay in those final weeks. In the regular season finale, with the Packers playing for a first-round bye and the Vikings trying to make the playoffs, Minnesota won 37-34 on a last-second field goal. Peterson carried it 34 times for 199 yards in Week 17 and averaged 159.8 yards over the final 10 games of the regular season despite being less than a year removed from major knee surgery. In two games against the Packers this year, Peterson has 409 rushing yards and 7.4 YPC , while he has rushed for 1,442 yards (5.6 YPC) and 9 TD in a dozen career games in this series. While Peterson’s performance has been consistent, quarterback Christian Ponder’s effort in the finale was more of a surprise. Ponder had a career-high 120.2 passer rating in last week's win, completing 16-of-28 passes for 234 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. But his rating hasn't even been half that number in his two visits to Green Bay where he's completed just 47.5% of his passes for 309 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT. The Vikings have some big questions on defense, as cornerback Antoine Winfield left Sunday’s game with a hand injury and is questionable. Rodgers threw for three scores with Winfield off the field. Minnesota is 24th vs the pass, but tied for 5th in sacks.
Green Bay did not have the same motivation as Minnesota last week, with the Packers' postseason spot already assured. They could have earned a first-round bye with a victory, but the “win or go home” mentality that will be there this week was not on display in Minneapolis. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has put up some pretty impressive numbers in the postseason, throwing for 1,781 yards (297 YPG), 15 TD and 4 INT, while posting a 4-2 record. He's also been incredible in the past four seasons in this series versus Minnesota, completing 71% of his passes for 2,503 yards (313 YPG), 23 TD and 4 INT. This includes his 365 yards and 4 TD in last week's loss. Rodgers will also benefit from the probable return of WR Randall Cobb (ankle), who caught 80 passes for 954 yards and 8 TD this season. Top WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are also both 100 percent healthy as well. Jennings caught eight passes for 120 yards and 2 TD last week, giving him 29 catches for 497 yards and 7 TD in the past five meetings with Minnesota. Although the Packers are not a good rushing team (106 YPG, 20th in NFL), they did chew up 152 yards on 36 carries when these teams met on Dec. 2 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay has a stronger passing defense than last year (218 YPG allowed, 11th in NFL), allowing just 161 passing YPG in the past five games. This unit will be even more formidable when S Charles Woodson (55 career INT) returns to the field for the first time since Week 7 because of a collarbone injury.
Free Pick: I like the Over in this one, but also suggest a teaser on Green bay and Baltimore tomorrow. The Over is 4-1 the last 5 in the series, while 7 of the last 9 between these teams have put up at least 50 points. Rodgers loves facing this team as he has thrown for 313 ypg with 23 TD's and just 4 INT's the last 4 seasons vs the Vikes. His WR corps is healthy once again and that should help him put up big numbers in this on vs the Vikes #24 pass defense. The Vikes will look to pound away with Petersen, but still he has a 7.4 ypc average vs the Pack this year and he has run for 6.5 ypc on the road this year. Some big plays from the run game will also set up big plays for Ponder, which should lead to Minnesota putting up their fair share of points in this one. Minnesota averages 23.7 ppg on the road, while the Packers average 27 ppg at home and I see this one hitting at least 50 points as well.
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RJ Bell's 24 Playoff Handicapping Facts For This Weekend
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NFL Free Picks: Minnesota at Green Bay Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers on Saturday (1/05/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Marco D'Angelo, with Bryan Leonard and host Scott Spreitzer.