Dec 23, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly (91) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Packers preview, pick

The Green Bay Packers gave up 285 rushing yards in the NFC Championship game last year and did absolutely nothing to address this glaring weakness. This spread has dropped below the key number of 3, giving bettors even more reason to trust the host Vikings here in Week 1.

Packers defense ready for Dalvin Cook?

The last time we saw this Packers defense, it was looking foolish and pathetic as Raheem Mostert dashed for 220 yards on the ground.  I fully expect a healthy Dalvin Cook (after signing Friday) to have the same type of field day romping through this Packer defense. Remember Week 2 last season, Cook gashed the Packers for 154 yards on 20 carries. That’s an astounding 7.7 yards per carry for all you math geeks at home.

The Packers offense is led by Aaron Rodgers, who is looking to bounce back after an underwhelming 2019 season by his standards.  The Packers offense will have an edge through the air as Devante Adams has a nice matchup against the weak cornerback group of the Vikings.

However, this will be Rodgers first game without his trusty right tackle, Brian Bulaga, so the Vikings D-line should be able to pressure Rodgers. We will have to see if a scrambling Rodgers is an effective Rodgers.

Mike Zimmer is an excellent head coach and is 11-6 against the spread with extra time to prepare.  He is familiar with Rodgers and I anticipate him to have the proper game plan prepared.

Vikings vs Packers Betting Pick

When a team can run the ball for more than 5 YPC, they generally can completely control the game.  The Packers defense will eventually run out of gas and that is when the Vikings will pull away.

If you buy into the theory that the Vikes can grind the clock, there are plenty of UNDER angles at play in this game as well. The past six meetings between these NFC North rivals here in Minnesota have played UNDER and nine of the past 11 overall. The UNDER is also 15-6 in the past 21 Vikings divisional games.

The danger to the side bet is a magical Rodgers performance, which is impossible to handicap. The past three times Green Bay opened the season on the road, they won SU as underdogs – the same situation applies here so buyer beware.

The pick: Vikings -2.5