We have endured a rough start to our 2017 NFL picks, but despite some bad luck, we will soldier on into week six. We’re looking for some safety and value this week and we just might find it when the Green Bay Packers head over to Minnesota to battle the Vikings.
Green Bay has to be feeling pretty good about themselves, as they’re fresh off of a clutch 35-31 win in Dallas over the Cowboys. The green and gold overcame an early 21-6 hole and scored with just 13 ticks remaining to drop the ‘Boys to 2-3 and ascend to a 4-1 record.
The Packers enter Minnesota as mild favorites, but they currently sit atop the NFC North and have slowly been piecing together a balanced and deadly offense. Aaron Rodgers leads the charge, per usual, and has been lights out with 10 touchdown passes over his last three games.
Minnesota isn’t looking quite as good these days. For one, Sam Bradford is likely to miss yet another game with ongoing knee issues:
Bradford’s continued absence figures to put extra pressure on pedestrian backup quarterback, Case Keenum. Keenum won’t even get the help of rookie sensation Dalvin Cook, as the running back was lost for the season two weeks ago.
Jerick McKinnon instead aims to be Minnesota’s driving force on offense, while Keenum hopes to have the help of Stefon Diggs to slice up Green Bay’s defense.
The Vikings defend their turf at 3-2 and with a win would move into first place in the NFC North. Their solid defense and home field advantage give them a chance in the eyes of Vegas and if you want to back them, Bovada offers one of the best lines (+160).
Minnesota needs to be taken seriously here. Their defense hasn’t performed up to expectations but they are still a very talented group.
They’re also at home, this is an intense rivalry game and the oddsmakers are clearly taking them seriously, with most NFL betting sites calling this one close to the chest with Green Bay opening with a slim -3 spread advantage.
That’s all worth noting, but I’m not loving Minnesota here, especially when we can get insane value at -150 at 5 Dimes by taking the Packers, straight up.
On top of that killer value, the Packers just seem like the better team – by quite a lot.
Backing Case Keenum is never easy, either. Green Bay’s pass rush and overall pass defense has been surprisingly decent by the numbers and all it takes to really get behind them lately is a healthy Mike Daniels.
Even at home, I’m not particularly high on Keenum shredding the Packers.
The only real edge the Vikes have is with McKinnon on the ground, but the Packers should still have enough to keep him and Latavius Murray contained. With Stefon Diggs banged up and Keenum likely neutralized, Green Bay should be free to do as they please on the other side of the ball.
Betting against Aaron Rodgers in any capacity is rarely encouraged. It’s even more troubling when he’s facing Minnesota, who he has routinely destroyed throughout his impressive career.
Rodgers did struggle against a revamped Minnesota defense in this setting in 2016, but that was before he and the Packers offense got into a groove. Rodgers torched this same defense for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns in a home win later in the season.
Helping Rodgers is a slightly regressed Minnesota pass defense, which presently ranks just 20th against the pass. That looks like a matchup Rodgers can exploit, especially now that Aaron Jones has given the Packers a rushing attack, while Rodgers could have both of his top two offensive tackles back this week.
Overall, the Packers are the easy team to get behind here and we don’t lose any value with a nice -150 line at 5 Dimes. Green Bay should keep winning as they cement themselves as the clear favorite in the NFC North.