The Packers look to start 1-0 for the seventh time in eight seasons.
Football is officially back this weekend after a surprising dominant 31-10 victory by the Buffalo Bills over the Los Angeles Rams. Green Bay will play each of them later this season, but their main focus is on Week one, a fierce tilt against rival Minnesota Vikings. Bad blood is already brewing as former Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith is looking for revenge after he accused Green Bay of treating him poorly. Another notable name making his revenge game is last year’s cornerback Chandon Sullivan, who found a new home in Minnesota this offseason as well.
Betting Line: Green Bay Packers (-1.5) At Minnesota Vikings: (O/U 46.5)
Quarterback Matchup: Aaron Rodgers versus Kirk Cousins
Four-time MVP and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers duels once again with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Rodgers is coming off a 37-touchdown season with only five interceptions leading to his fourth MVP award. Meanwhile, Cousins, who doesn’t get a lot of recognition, tossed up 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Even though Minnesota finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
Players To Watch: Sammy Watkins (GB) And Irv Smith Jr. (MIN)
A couple of pass catchers are this week’s players of the game. Watkins is known for his impressive Week one games before slowing down the rest of the season. Last season with the Ravens, Watkins finished with four receptions for 96 yards in a loss to the Raiders. Most notably in 2019, he exploded with a nine reception 198-yard game versus the Jaguars. How will he fare with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and can he repeat his magic this year?
On the other side, Irv Smith Jr. has the potential to impress this year. The former 2nd round pick was out the entire season, leading tight end Tyler Conklin to breakout. Now, Conklin is in New York with the Jets giving the TE1 role back to Smith Jr. Green Bay typically covers tight ends with linebackers and it will be interesting to see what will happen in this matchup.
Matchup To Watch: Justin Jefferson (MIN) Versus Jaire Alexander (GB)
This should be fun. One of the league’s best receivers in Jefferson takes on one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Alexander. Jefferson has the potential to break the 2,000-yard mark this season, while Alexander, who missed a lot of the 2021 season, looks to keep his island clear of passes and touchdowns. This may lead to a bigger role for Adam Thielen who may be guarded by 2021 first-round pick Eric Stokes, who looks to have a big season in Green Bay.
Last Time Around: Green Bay 37, Minnesota 10 (January 2, 2022)
Back in January, the Vikings were on the edge of playoff contention elimination while the Packers needed a win to clinch the first-round bye and home-field advantage. What looked like a good game turned into a blowout when it was announced that Kirk Cousins had COVID-19 leading head coach Mike Zimmer to start backup Sean Mannion over 3rd-round pick Kellen Mond, who has since been cut and signed with Cleveland this summer. Green Bay easily won this game as Minnesota struggled without Cousins while former Packers receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason, shined.
The Packers Three Biggest Questions
- How will the Packers’ offense adapt to losing Davante Adams?
- Will Minnesota look a lot better under new head coach Kevin O’Connell?
- How much will the crowd and atmosphere at US Bank Stadium affect Green Bay?
Bonus question: How will the offensive line hold up?
Who does America think will win?:
This game is one of the most debatable games as many are split. But America is slightly favoring the Packers in this one although most think it can go either way.
Official game prediction: Green Bay Packers 24, Minnesota Vikings 20
A Packers website picking the Packers to win? Who would have thought? Trust me, I won’t be picking them to go 17-0, but the amount of love for the Vikings this week is making the Packers underrated. Sure, they don’t have Davante Adams, but Green Bay has an elite defense, a Hall of Fame quarterback, and a great running back duo. Even better, we could be getting Elgton Jenkins and or David Bakhtiari returning from injury as well. The Packers have started 1-0 a lot this decade and as long as the game doesn’t get moved to Florida, Green Bay should be fine.
Projected player of the game: Rashan Gary (Two sacks, 4.5 tackles)
The Green Bay Packers (0-0) head to face the Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, September 11, 2022, at 4:25 pm on FOX. Check your local listings to see if you can watch it.
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