The battle for the NFC North comes down to the wire as the Green Bay Packers (10-5) host the Minnesota Vikings (10-5) in what amounts to a division championship game at Lambeau Field in Week 17. The winner claims the No. 3 seed in the NFC and hosts a playoff game while the loser likely ends up as the No. 5 seed and headed to Washington in the wild-card round.
These two teams met in Week 11 with Green Bay winning 30-13 in Minneapolis but the rematch comes in the final week of the season with the NFC North on the line. Both teams have secured playoff sports but Minnesota aims to dethrone the Packers, who have won the division each of the last four years.
The Vikings look to win their third in a row after dismantling the Giants 49-17 on Sunday Night Football in Week 16. Minnesota racked up 368 yards of offense as Adrian Peterson led the way with 104 yards and rushing touchdown No. 10. In the first meeting with Green Bay, Peterson scored but was contained for 45 yards on 13 attempts in one of just five games Minnesota failed to reach 100 yards on the ground. Peterson enters Week 17 as the league’s leading rusher (1,418 yards) and the only running back with over 300 attempts on the season (308).
Green Bay allows 357.3 yards and 20.2 points a game but was tagged for 381 yards of offense in a 38-8 loss to Arizona last week.
The loss to the Cardinals ended a three-game win streak for the Packers that originally had them in the NFC North driver’s seat. Green Bay committed four turnovers and managed just 178 yards of total offense. Aaron Rodgers threw for 151 yards and has failed to top 220 yards passing in five of the last six games. Rodgers’ lowest completion percentage of the season (47.1) came in Week 11 against Minnesota but he did throw two of his 30 touchdowns in the victory.
With the two-headed monster of Eddie Lacy and James Starks, the Packers rank No. 10 in rushing (118.3 yards per game). Lacy rebounded from gaining just 23 yards on 11 carries in Week 15, gaining 60 yards on 12 carries against Arizona to lead the team. Lacy ran for 100 yards on 22 attempts in the Week 11 win over Minnesota as the Packers totaled 124 rush yards.
Minnesota ranks No. 18 against the run and No. 9 against the pass but allow the sixth fewest points per game of any team (19.3).
Start Time: 8:30 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC
Betting Odds: Green Bay -3
Prediction: The Packers have owned the division over the past four years but one could argue the Vikings have been the more consistent team in 2015. Green Bay’s opponents have proven the ability to keep Rodgers in check and the Packers haven’t dominated at home like we’re used to. Peterson and the Vikings win the NFC north on the road, 24-23.