John Warner analyzes tonight’s MNF matchup between the Vikings and Packers and offers up his favorite bets for the game!
Week 16 concludes with our final Monday night game of the year. Sad! Very unfair! This has been a strange, top-heavy season, and despite that, underdogs have been cashing at a ridiculous rate throughout the course of the year.
For tonight’s finale, we have what should be an excellent divisional game with playoff implications between the Packers and Vikings. The NFC is so stacked, either of these teams could finish with a bye or as a wild card, so just a bit of high stakes being played out tonight.
The Packers are coming off three straight wins, including four of their last five. However, their schedule this season has been a joke, and they haven’t exactly been killing the teams they’ve faced. The Vikings have a chance to get revenge on a week 2 loss, and send their division rival out to play on wildcard weekend.
The Packers have had a great season, results wise, with new head coach Matt LaFleur at the helm, however, their offense has been wildly suspect for an Aaron Rodgers led unit.
They’ve been spectacularly average in just about every metric we look at, ranking between 15-20 in just about everything. If there’s a bright spot with the offense despite Rodgers clearly taking a step back this year, it’s that Green Bay has been as lethal as ever in the red zone, ranking 2nd in the league, converting 69% (nice) of their entries into scores.
Part of this has been the re-tooling under LaFleur. The Packers run significantly more this season, and a big reason for that is Aaron Jones, who is having a career year. The defense has been another key aspect to GB’s success this year, implementing a “bend but don’t break” strategy. It’s worked, to an extent, with the Packers ranking 2nd in red zone conversion rate. However, they have been trending downward in just about every other defensive metric, even with a soft schedule.
I think GB is a prime fade candidate once the playoffs start, as there is just too much quality at the top of the conference to think this team can make a run.
The Vikings have also had a good season, with an opportunity to snatch a home playoff game with a win tonight. I’m higher on the Vikings than the Packers this year. I think their defenses are about a wash, maybe a slight edge to Minnesota there. Offensively, Cousins has been fantastic outside of his first couple of weeks. We rehashed it a couple of Monday’s against Seattle, but the metrics are still the same.
Cousins has led this team to a top-10 offense in just about every category this year, they have an advantage at the skill positions, even with Dalvin Cook being out. Their defense ranks higher than Green Bay’s by virtually every metric as well.
I think this sets up very well for Minnesota, a chance to get back at Rodgers for years of torture, a home game with a chance to leapfrog GB for a decent shot at a division title and a home playoff game. I know Cousins has a penchant for not showing up in big games, but I really expect Minnesota to have the juice tonight.
Last week’s play depends on how your book grades it. I know some locals will pay out one leg on a push, others say its a loss. I got paid out on all of my books, but for the sake of being fair, I’m not going to count it since I imagine some got hosed with an L on a push.
I think the spread is a fair number, between HFA, and an edge on both sides of the ball from Minnesota, I had this one between 5 and 5.5. Like a couple of props tonight to close out the regular season before the playoffs are finally upon us!
- Thielen over 3.5 receptions -150
- Cousins over 1.5 TD passes -120
- 23-40 -14.2x