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Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings Point Spread - Pick

Green Bay Packers (11-3 SU, 9-5 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 23, 2019 at 8:15PM EST
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: GB +4/MIN -4
Over/Under Total: 46.5

The Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football in NFC North action from Minneapolis. This is a game rife with playoff implications. In a top-heavy conference, any slipups in the last couple of weeks could prove to be costly. On Sunday, the Packers won their third in a row with a hard-fought 21-13 win over the Bears at Lambeau. At 11-3, they're in good shape postseason-wise, but there is a lot on the line and against the only other team in the running in the NFC North, this counts as a major key point in the season. It's a tough road-spot against a Vikes team that moved to 10-4 with a 39-10 road-win over the Chargers on Sunday. A win here would put them within reach of winning the division. If not, they have to hope for the best.

These familiar divisional rivals played in week two, making an analysis of that game somewhat problematic with all the different phases these teams have gone through over the course of the season. Out of all the teams still in the NFC playoff mix, these two have perhaps been through the most changes since week two. For what it's worth, the Packers prevailed 21-16 in Lambeau, covering the spread and moving to 2-0, as their defense was dominating early in the season. Lately, their offense has taken more of the lead. The same can be said for a Minnesota team that was heavily criticized earlier in the season for an offense that looked a lot like last season's. Four Minnesota turnovers also clouds the picture and that first game might not be much of a barometer at all for the purposes of this matchup.

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Hats off to the Packers for emerging from a season where there have been a lot of changes. First was the coaching change, followed by some different dynamics within their style of play. First the defense was taking over, before the offense took the lead. We now see a balanced team that is dangerous, as a defense that had a midseason slump has now given up just a combined 41 points in their last three games, with an offense that still has Aaron Rodgers going for it. A lot of people seem to view the Packers as almost a nuisance in the NFC playoff picture, but sleeping on them will come at a cost, as it already has for bettors who doubt them. They're going for their tenth cover of the season this week.

Green Bay did well to manufacture three TDs on Sunday against a tough Chicago defense in a less-than-dazzling offensive performance on Sunday. Davante Adams was over 100 yards and Aaron Jones ran for two scores, but Rodgers was subdued on 16-for-33 passing with 203 yards and the lone TD to Adams. They didn't exactly thrive against the Vikings the first time around with 21 points at home and now on the road with an offense that lacks star-power, will Rodgers be able to take advantage of a Vikings' secondary that isn't always rock-solid? Or will a struggling Green Bay offense rely on Rodgers to thrive late-game, while their defense tries to do the heavy lifting?

The Packers' defense will be facing a more dynamic Minnesota offense than the first game this season. They will also have it harder than they did last week against the Bears' offense. It was alarming to see Trubisky put up over 300 yards against this Green Bay defense, but in allowing just 13 points against a Chicago team that had been playing better, it's not so bad in an overall sense. They can make a lot of plays, as we saw on Sunday with Jaire Alexander and beefy Dean Lowry getting an interception, along with two sacks from a surging Kenny Clark. Big plays are a large part of their menace on this side of the ball and it was a big part of their winning formula the first time they beat Minnesota this season.

Since losing on MNF a few weeks ago at Seattle, the Vikings have been able to right the ship with two straight wins, giving them eight in their last ten. A defense that looked awful in the loss to Seattle has tightened up with two solid performances since, giving up a combined 17 points in their last two games. Sunday's win didn't come without a cost, as Dalvin Cook left with a shoulder injury and we'll see how he looks moving forward closer to game-time.

39-point output aside, the Vikings offense wasn't that electric, with Kirk Cousins going for 207 yards, and Mike Boone leading the rushing attack with 56 yards. They got a defensive score and four field goals so it wasn't the feeding frenzy a 39-point game would suggest. And this offense won't be able to rely on the 7 turnovers they got last week when whupping up on the hapless Bolts. But since a 2-2 start, this is a part of the team that has consistently delivered and they're hoping to do better with a Green Bay "D" that completely stymied them last time.

On Sunday, the Minnesota defense continued to see improving results and they made a big impact on the game. They got after Philip Rivers, with Daniele Hunter getting a sack, with Ifeadi Odenigbo also getting a sack and returning a fumble for a touchdown. Anthony Harris, Harrison Smith, and Mike Hughes all had picks on the day. The idea of this side of the ball getting its act together should be scary for the NFC. Then again, thriving against the Chargers and Lions the past two weeks is hardly cause for a celebration. Look for this side of the ball to be tested this week to a higher degree.

The stakes are high between these familiar rivals, with the division possibly being in the balance in this contest. Each team enters this game with a bit of a head of steam and it should be a closely-contested NFC North battle. I see the Vikings' offense being the key in this game and while Cook's status will need to be followed and figured into this equation more closely to game-time, I'm looking for the Vikings to come out ahead in this one.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Minnesota Vikings minus 4 points. Bet the Packers-Vikings MNF game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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