(WLAX/WEUX) – Few could have seen this scenario unfolding at Lambeau Field Sunday.
The 5-1 Packers and the 1-5 Vikings, rivals expected to be locked in a heated duel for the NFL North title this season, are worlds apart.
Green Bay has lived up to its preseason hype as an NFC title contender, while Minnesota is a pretender, coming out of a bye week with only a triumph over lowly Houston in the win column.
Of course, the Packers are heavy favorites in the contest broadcast exclusively by FOX 25/48 in Western Wisconsin at 12 noon Sunday. But games are not won on paper and the Vikings would love to pull off the upset of their border rival on their home field.
“I don’t care what their record says,” Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said. “This is a damn good football team.”
Under LaFleur, the Packers have fashioned a perfect 8-0 record against NFC North foes in the past year.
Six weeks ago, in an eerily fan-less U.S. Bank Stadium, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams torched a young and inexperienced Minnesota secondary in a 43-34 victory.
Adams had a career day with a franchise record-tying 14 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while Rodgers threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
The Vikings are backed in a corner, literally, going into the rematch.
Three of their four top cornerbacks—Cameron Dantzler (COVID-19 reserve), Holton Hill (foot), Mike Hughes (neck), and Chris Jones (coronavirus protocol)—will or may miss Sunday’s contest.
Both team’s top running backs—Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook—are also coming off injuries and are questionable.
For Green Bay, they face a division rival Sunday and then fly West to take on the 49ers on Thursday night—a five-day stretch that may define the second quarter of their 2020 season.
Week 8 Picks
Vikings come off bye week with their season on the line. Records be dammed in rival games, but the big differences are at quarterback and in the secondary are too much for depleted Minnesota to overcome.
Packers 31, Vikings 21