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NFL Betting: Vikings vs. Packers Thursday Night Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 10/2/2014 12:41:44 PM

The Minnesota Vikings bounced back nicely in week four after getting shut down in week three. They’re 2-2 and are playing competitive football. Can they now take out the Green Bay Packers?

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers – Thursday, October 2

The Minnesota Vikings have more limited options at quarterback these days. That’s a true statement. Matt Cassel was knocked out with an injury in week three of the season against the New Orleans Saints. This left the Vikings with less quarterback depth than they had going into the game. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater had to enter the game against New Orleans, take his lumps in his first regular season taste of NFL competition, and experience the difficulty of making reads against professionals after starring for multiple seasons as the quarterback at the University of Louisville. Bridgewater has a bright future ahead of him, but rookie quarterbacks struggle in the NFL for the most part, and that’s if they’re even given a chance to play in the regular season during times other than garbage time or mop-up duty. Bridgewater, entering this past Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, could not have known just how well he’d play. After 60 minutes, it’s clear he’s making a lot of progress, and that he learned a lot from his game against New Orleans. Bridgewater threw for over 300 yards against Atlanta, moving the ball down the field (averaging over 16 yards per completion) and avoiding a single interception.

Bridgewater led the Vikings’ offense to a 41-point day against the Falcons. Minnesota had to be very pleased with 14 fourth-quarter points to break open what had been a close game, with Atlanta leading 28-27 after three quarters. Bridgewater showed how good he can be at the NFL level, and that’s why this game could get very interesting. Bridgewater might not be as overmatched as he was thought to be earlier in the season.

On the other hand, what has to concern the Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer is that Green Bay seems to have gotten back on track. The Packers faced a very important game against NFC North rival Chicago this past Sunday. The Packers needed to win in order to avoid a 1-3 start and the loss of a tiebreaker in head-to-head competition against the Bears. The game was the Packers’ second straight road game, and with their injured offensive line, there was no certainty that the team was going to round into form. However, Aaron Rodgers kicked things into high gear. He played at his very best in leading the Packers to a commanding 38-17 win over the Bears. Green Bay’s offense had been dormant for most of the season, but in one afternoon against a banged-up Chicago defense, Rodgers looked like the former NFL MVP he is. Bridgewater might be headed for a good season, but Rodgers is in a separate class as a player. It’s going to be very hard for the Vikings to win as it is. Winning on the road will be a lot tougher for Bridgewater. Take the Packers against the spread.

Pick: Packers -7.5

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