The Packers and 49ers met to open the season and now for one of them, they're about to close their season too. Does that game matter? How does Kaepernick change things? Let's take a closer look at this Divisional Round match-up.
Many people expected the Packers to defeat the Vikings in the Wild Card round, including Vegas. Therefore, there isn't much change in the look-ahead line. Last week Vegas put out theoretical point spreads and the Packers were +3 dogs vs the 49ers. It re-opened at +3.25 with the option to lay a bit extra juice on either side for a favorable number.
But there's been some movement early in the week. If you like the Packers (like I do), you'll have to lay a bit extra juice just for +3 (odds from SBRforum). Will it move off the 3? It could at some point, but it would take a lot considering what a key number it is and the amount of money expected to be bet on this game.
I'm not going to take any chances and go ahead and grab the +3 now.
Much Ado About Nothing
It’s barely been a week since the Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith, but the team is already overflowing with ideas for new head coaching prospects. Of course, not all candidates are created equal, and the Bears’ long list will have to be whittled down in short order.
As reported by a variety of outlets, Chicago is known to be considering at least nine prospective coaches. Most of those are current NFL offensive coordinators, including Bruce Arians (Colts), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints), Tom Clements (Packers), Mike McCoy (Broncos), Mike Sullivan (Buccaneers) and Rick Dennison (Texans). Also in the mix are a pair of special teams coordinators (Dallas’ Joe DeCamillis and Atlanta’s Keith Armstrong) and, most remarkably, one CFL coach: Marc Trestman of the Montreal Alouettes.
It’s worth noting that Trestman doesn’t really break the mold of the other Bear targets, as he’s a former offensive coordinator for both the Cardinals and Raiders.
Last week the Vikings pulled off an impressive upset win at home to clinch a playoff spot. Their reward? Go to Lambeau field and try to do it again. That could be wishful thinking if you're a Minnesota fan, and especially if your name is Christian Ponder.
This is an interesting point spread to say the least. The Packers opened as -8 point favorites and it hasn't move anywhere since (odds from SBRforum). If sharp money loved the dog we would have most certainly seen a move closer to the key number of "7". That said, the Packers are a very public team. Perhaps sharps are waiting for the best line they can get. Either way the game sits in the teaser window at the moment. If you wanted to pair the Packers at -2 with either the Ravens or Redskins, the option is there. Personally, I don't like either of those choices.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Preview And Where To Watch Online: Peterson Running For Dickerson's Title And Playoff Berth
The Green Pack (11-4) can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings (9-6). But most neutrals will be tuning in to see whether Vikings’ half-back, Adrian Peterson can eclipse Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing yardage record. If he does, chances are he’ll have helped the VIkings clinch a playoff berth as well. The Vikings control their post-season destiny. Win and they’re in. A loss does not mean they are out but they’ll need a few other results to go their way. (Chicago, Dallas and the New York Giants must stumble). Peterson is largely what the game will come down to. If the Vikings can get Peterson going early, control the clock and keep Green Bay quarterback, Aaron Rodgers off the field, they stand a good chance of winning. Green Bay’s defence will have their hands full containing Peterson. It will require more than just the front seven playing at their best.
The Chicago Bears have one last shot to stay alive in the NFC playoff race, but they must beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday to do it. The Lions have lost seven in a row, but even if Chicago extends that slide, the Bears will need help elsewhere to secure a postseason berth.
These three factors will go a long way toward deciding whether Chicago can earn its desperately-needed 10th victory:
1. Will Matthew Stafford give the game away?
During Detroit’s losing streak, Stafford has thrown as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns. Having not found the end zone for two full games, it’s hard to believe that Stafford won’t be pressing a little to make plays in front of the home crowd.
Taking risks, however, is a great way to lose games against Chicago’s predatory defense. Detroit isn’t scoring enough points on offense to allow the Bear D to get in on the scoring action, especially after it outscored Arizona by itself (14-13) in last week’s game.
2. How healthy is the Chicago backfield?