The 3rd Man In

Packers vs. Vikings: Preview, Prediction

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings

The Packers are in the hunt for a playoff spot. They need to win their final two games of the year and hope for some help from other teams vying for a postseason berth.

On Sunday night, the Packers (7-8) face off against the Vikings (7-8) in Minnesota. Both teams are still alive for the playoffs, making it a critical must-win game.

The Packers defeated the Carolina Panthers 33-30 last week. It was a tight contest against a below-average offense featuring a struggling rookie quarterback. The Packers’ defense nearly blew the lead and gave the Panthers a shot in the final minute to take the lead.

On Sunday, the Vikings are starting rookie quarterback Jaren Hall in place of turnover-prone Nick Mullens, who threw four interceptions in a 30-24 loss to Detroit last week. Hall has played in two games and attempted 10 passes this season after being a fifth-round pick out of BYU in the 2023 NFL Draft.

This season, the Packers’ biggest flaw has been their defense. They have allowed 352.9 yards per game, including 135.9 rushing yards per contest, which ranks third worst in the NFL. 

The Packers also tend to make mediocre quarterbacks look better than they are. With the Vikings’ talent at receiver, there is a decent shot Hall can pick apart the Packers’ secondary. They will be without their top two cornerbacks (Jaire Alexander – suspended, Eric Stokes – injured) and likely will start rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine and former practice squad player Corey Ballentine at cornerback. 

The Vikings have lost four of their last five games. They are struggling and don’t have stability at quarterback since Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending injury. While the Packers should win, I have little faith in that happening. The Packers’ defense has struggled this season, and I expect it to be the reason they lose on Sunday.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Packers 24

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