Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 NFL Week 17: Packers vs. Vikings Preview & Prediction

Happy (almost) New Year, Packer fans! And what will make it very happy is if the Packers get a win in Min! Gotta get this game against the ViQueens to keep slim playoff hopes alive.

What could go wrong? Well ... it begins with "d" and ends with "e". Specifically, defense, as in even more specifically, the Pack's defense. What a train wreck it has become especially over the last half of the season.

That has been particularly true when facing rookie and iffy quarterbacks, whom the Packers defense have made look like MVPs these last three weeks. The tales of woe in this regard are well known among Packer fans so no need to rehash here. Other than to say two players on defense that would be helpful in today's game against Minnesota's very good receivers — Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes — will not be playing. Alexander because of his well-documented error in judgement at the time of the coin-toss against Carolina, resulting in his one-game suspension by Brian Gutekunst, and Stokes because of a hamstring injury which now sees him on the IR list, which has been the bane of the Packers existence this season across many players. Oy.

Yet again today, the Packers defense will face a rookie QB, Jaren Hall, who is very mobile. And you know how mobile QBs do against this Packers defense, right? Yeah: have career games. Let us pray ...

Anyway, let's just get on with the prediction, shall we? No preview needed. We have New Year's celebrations to get to (along with the game, of course!).

The Packers offense will need a big game from QB Jordan Love
today to overcome expected lapses by the Packers defense.

The Prediction

Minnesota is currently favored by 1 to 1-1/2 points depending upon what source you are looking at. So, basically, a pick 'em game.

Both the Packers and ViQueens come into this game at 7-8. The Packers offense, statistically, have scored more points over the course of the season than have the Vikes. But Minnesota's defense have given up 32 fewer points over the 15-game span than have the Packers. In fact, the Packers offense has only scored 2 points more than its defense has given up. That helps explain our meh record at this point in the season. To the Packers advantage, statistically, is that Minnesota has a 2-5 record at home and 5-3 on the road; the Pack is 3-5 away from home. So...hmm. What to make of that?

If the Packers defense can get back to its early season form, and create at least one turnover today, they should pull off a tight win. If it once again makes a MVP out of a rookie QB, and doesn't get lights-out play from the offense, playoff chances for the Pack will go from slim to none.

Still, we're going to wear the green 'n' gold glasses yet again. We're call this game Packers 27 - ViQueens 24.