The Vikings fell to 5-4-1 after a 25-20 loss to the Bears last week and the prospects for another deep postseason run are dimming after every loss. Last week the Vikings could not contain the relentless chaos-maker that is Khalil Mack and his band of Windy City wrecking balls, which forced Cousins into a pair of crucial interceptions and a disastrous fumble by Dalvin Cook. Cousins struck for two touchdowns and went 30-of-46 for 262 yards passing with two picks but was under severe duress all night long while the Vikings’ ground attack amounted to nothing more than a whimper, garnering 22 rushing yards when the dust settled.
If you wandered over to any online sportsbook in search of Sunday’s line, you will find that most of the major offshore betting sites rated on SBR have tagged the Vikings as 4 ½ to 5 point favorites this week. Yet the truth of the matter is that Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota offense will have to do better than they did in Chicago, otherwise, this home favorite will wind up suffering a staggering loss to a divisional rival for the second consecutive week.
Fortunately, Green Bay does not pose the same defensive challenges which should allow Cousins more time in the pocket and allow bigger holes for Cook through which to blast. The last time these teams met, Cousins torched the Packers’ secondary for 425 yards and four touchdowns while the rushing game still struggled with a total of 68 yards. It was a wild one full of missed field goals and controversial penalties but when overtime ended the score was knotted at 29 and neither side felt the need to celebrate the controversial tie.
Despite the gut-wrenching loss to Chicago and the inability of Minny’s offensive line to give Cousins ample protection, there are a few silver linings. Stefon Diggs rebounded after sitting out (ribs) the Week 9 win over Detroit with a dynamite performance, hauling in 13 passes for 126 yards and one trip into the end zone. On the other side of the ball, Anthony Harris could have been wearing Bears’ uniform for all the pain he inflicted with a pair of picks and several defensive stops. Minnesota did show life in the fourth quarter with 17 points but it was too little, too late, as they could not recover from a first half that produced only a field goal.
Despite the doom and gloom, there is hope, because outside of the juggernauts in New Orleans and LA (Rams), the NFC wild-card slots are wide open due to the abundance of teams with modest records like Minnesota. There is even a slight glimmer of hope that the Vikings could catch Chicago and cop an NFC North title if things break just right. However, those dominos would have to start falling for Minnesota this coming week as they welcome the Packers to US Bank Stadium in what has shaped up as a pivotal divisional clash.
If you’re a betting guy or gal who is inclined to check out your favorite online sportsbook then you should be aware of some of the trends heading into this Week 12 tilt. Minnesota fans should take heart after they read that the Vikings are 8-2-1 against the spread (ATS) over their last 11 games in Week 12, 4-1 ATS in their last five games in November, and 18-6 ATS in their last 24 home games versus a team with a losing road record. On the flipside of that coin, the Packers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up loss, 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. NFC opponents, and 1-5-1 ATS over their last seven road games. This is a big game for both teams’ postseason aspirations but if the Vikings can start fast – for a change – they could be back in the playoff hunt!