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Expert Picks: Vikings Return Home to Take on Packers

The Vikings are back in prime time this week for the second week in a row.

Minnesota (5-4-1) will take on the Green Bay Packers (4-5-1) on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Packers have had a few extra days of rest after playing the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football last week. Green Bay is coming off of a tough 27-24 loss at CenturyLink Field.

The Vikings lost 25-20 to the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Experts across the internet submitted their predictions to all NFL games ahead of the much anticipated Week 12 slate.

Let’s see what is expected in the 117th Border Battle.

Vikings 30, Packers 27, Elliott Harrison NFL.com

Although neither team might be there yet, they are both pulling dangerously close to must-win territory. Especially the Packers. If they fail in Minnesota, they will have lost for the fourth time in five games. They would also fall two games behind the Vikings (currently the sixth seed in the NFC), and if the Panthers triumph over the Seahawks, they would be 2.5 games behind Ron Rivera and Co. for a wild-card spot. The offense has been all the talk in Green Bay. The defense will have its hands full, though, against these Vikings, who hit a rhythm in the loss to the Bears when it was too late. Look for Minnesota to pick up the pace at home, especially if Packers DC Mike Pettine deploys his numbers to the back end to defend against prolific WR1 Adam Thielen (1,013 yards this season) and Stefon Diggs. That would leave Dalvin Cook to feast on a run defense that allows 4 yards or more 49.1 percent of the time, 30th in the NFL. Think Green Bay is going fishing.

Vikings 26, Packers 24, Bleacher Report Staff

This is a trap!

At least that's what our analysts fear. They'd strongly consider siding with the Minnesota Vikings as a field-goal favorite at home, but once you give a potentially furious and well-rested Green Bay Packers team more than three points in a must-win game, you've pushed it too far.

"My indigestion is back," confessed a frustrated Davenport. "The Packers have lost every game they've played away from Lambeau this year, the defense isn't especially good and the Vikings are no doubt seething after getting slapped around by the Bears in a game that wasn't as close as the score. So why am I backing the Pack here? Three words: desperate Aaron Rodgers.

"The Packers are done, but they're still in the first stage of grief about the 2018 season—denial. If this spread was three or less, I'd be on the Vikings. But it's not, so I'm taking the hook and banking on Rodgers' standing on his head and keeping this close."

Gagnon echoed that sentiment by predicting that even if the Packers lose to a superior team, Rodgers will find a way to make it a dramatic loss. The highest-rated passer in NFL history rarely goes down without a fight, and Rodgers hasn't lost by more than three points in Minnesota this decade (excluding last year's meeting, when he was hurt after throwing just four passes).

Throw in that the Packers have been blessed with extra time to prepare following a Thursday night game in Seattle and that the Vikes could be pooped following a tough Sunday night loss in Chicago, and Green Bay looks like the safer bet.

Vikings 31, Packers 24, Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

The Packers know their playoff hopes are fading along with the tenure of Mike McCarthy in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers will be game to try to save their season, but he won’t get as much help from Aaron Jones to create balance against the Vikings’ defense. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook will rebound to give Minnesota its first SNF win in three tries this season to save its wild-card playoff push.

Packers 24, Vikings 22, David Steele, Sporting News

It's a rematch of the Week 2 tie that, for multiple reasons (awful kicking, the cheesy Clay Matthews roughing-the-passer flag), should not have been a tie. That game now serves as a reminder of how average and underwhelming both teams have been despite two of the higher-profile (and well-paid) quarterbacks in the league. The loser will start to lose sight of playoff contention entering December, so there’s plenty on the line.

Vikings 21, Packers 20, Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

This is a huge game for both teams, who have been disappointments so far. The Packers are playing consecutive road games, although they have a few extra days of rest. The Packers are banged up on the defensive front, which might show up here. Go with the Vikings at home in a close one.

Packers 31, Vikings 30, Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Lose this game and that's a wrap on the 2018 season for the Packers. At 4-5-1, there is no margin of error; they're currently behind the Seahawks and Cowboys (both 5-5) for the final wild-card spot. The Vikings are coming off a tough loss to the Bears, who appear to have the NFC North wrapped up, especially with Minnesota playing at New England and Seattle after Sunday's game.

2 of 3 experts picked the Vikings, ESPN.com

It feels like the Packers are reeling and perhaps they are, but in losing road games to the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks over the past month, they were quite competitive. The schedule relents late in the season, but not before Green Bay visits Minnesota.

"I'm still in wait-and-see mode on Green Bay, but their defense can be pretty porous and Minnesota is a tough place to play," one of the insiders picking the Vikings said.

The insider picking Green Bay thought the Packers would finally notch a breakthrough road victory after coming tantalizingly close against the Rams and Seahawks.

"All the drama is going to bring those guys together," this insider said. "Whether they reach the playoffs or not, I think they can still get on a nice little run and I think it starts this week. Go back to the first game they played against Minnesota. Green Bay had that game won. The bad roughing call on the sack changed it."

The third insider thought injuries to Rodgers' receiving targets, including Jimmy Graham, would tilt this matchup in the Vikings' favor.

"Rodgers looked out of sync in Seattle and you rarely see him look like that," this insider said. "Minnesota is not what they used to be, either, especially in the secondary. I just think Aaron is trying to do too much."

This insider was curious whether Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo and Packers receiver Randall Cobb would return from injuries. He saw both as important players even though Sendejo's replacement, Anthony Harris, has played to rave reviews, collecting two picks last week.

"I think Sendejo is a difference-maker in terms of the tempo and urgency he brings to the secondary, and then Green Bay needs all the weapons it can get on offense," this insider said. "Both QBs are going to have no wind and a fast track. It is a good matchup and test to see where these two are at."

Vikings Pregame Win Percentage: 52.1 %, FOX Sports.com

WhatIfSports.com's NFL simulation engine generates predictions and box scores for every NFL game for FOX Sports for the coming week. The highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team's likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 501 times.

Vikings Pregame Win Percentage: 71 %, FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of winning each game of the season.

7 of 8 experts picked the Vikings, CBS Sports

6 of 9 experts picked the Vikings, SB Nation

5 of 5 experts picked the Vikings, USA Today Sports

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