Today’s afternoon NFL Sunday Football game rife with playoff implications sees the 11-4 Green Bay Packers traveling to face the 9-6 Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are already in the playoffs but can skip next week’s wild card round with a win. The Vikings can earn a birth with a win; however, a loss would reduce their odds to needing not one, not two, but three other teams to lose. One of those teams, the New York Giants, have already built a four touchdown lead at halftime in their early Sunday game.
The Packers would love to skip next week’s wild card round and can do that with a win today. A loss by the Packers would cloud their picture heading into next week. If the San Francisco 49ers or the Seattle Seahawks win, the Packers would have to play the Vikings again at Lambeau Field next week in a wild card game. The Packers can still earn a bye if both of those two teams lose, which is unlikely considering the 49ers are playing the offensively challenged Arizona Cardinals at home.
Green Bay comes into today’s game after having destroyed the Titans last week 55-7. They have won four in a row and are clicking at the right time heading into the postseason. A win today would give them five straight and make them a favorite to emerge from the NFC and appear in the Super Bowl.
The Vikings need a win to advance considering the odds of the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all losing today are slim to none. Unfortunately for them, even if they do manage to upset the Packers at home, they will have to face them again next week on the road in one of the hardest playoff venues of them all.
All eyes will be on Adrian Peterson and his quest to top Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards. He needs 102 yards to reach 2,000, which would be a huge achievement in itself, and 208 total yards on the ground to surpass Dickerson. Don’t expect Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to alter the game plan to get Peterson the record. The playcalling is designed to win the game and make the playoffs, not break a record.
Today’s NFC battle for a playoff berth and positioning kicks off at 4:25pm EST / 1:05pm PST in high definition on Fox free over the air or via a cable/satellite subscription. An alternative, though not free option is to watch the official online live streaming version via NFL Sunday Ticket here. This is a tough game to call, but my prediction is the Packers extend their winning streak and eliminate the Vikings from the playoffs by a score of 34-23.