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Game of the Week: Vikings at Packers
A common conviction holds the fervor between the Packers and Bears is unmatched in the NFC North. This is a bit of a misnomer, as Chicago is not the most hated of villains in some hearts of Green Bay. That distinction belongs to the Minnesota Vikings. After all, no matter what the sporting arena, the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin rarely see eye to eye on matters. Randy Moss of the Purple and Yellow did little to pacify these waters when he infamously "mooned" the Lambeau faithful in 2005. Oh, and the relocation of a certain Cheesehead gunslinger to the Twin Cities has yet to be forgotten by those in the Badger State.
The animosity between these Black-and-Blue divisional foes should be alive and well this Sunday, as both squads are aiming for playoff positions as December draws near. This northern battle doubles as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
It's a rarity to see Aaron Rodgers and company holding their tail between their legs, but such a predicament has manifested after the Packers were on the business end of a 38-10 beatdown by the Giants in Week 12. However, Green Bay can't hang their heads too low, as Mike McCarthy's crew had won their previous five contests, and remain just a game behind the Bears for the division lead. This has been especially impressive given the team's rash of injuries, as stars Charles Woodson, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews and Cedric Benson have all missed extended action.
As is usually the case, Rodgers has been the piston that makes the Packers' engine pump. Despite the absence of some of his favorite targets, as well as a the lack of a serviceable terrain game, the reigning MVP has thrown for 25 touchdowns and nearly 2,100 yards in his last eight games. Though his protection of the pigskin has been somewhat suspect compared to past production, it's hard to argue that the Green Bay field general is not the paramount of his position.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for his Vikings counterpart. After a strong start out of the gate, second-year signal caller Christian Ponder has struggled mightily for Minnesota, correlating to a 2-4 record for the Vikes in their last six outings. With a daunting schedule down the stretch, including two dates with Green Bay, Ponder's inconsistency will have to be eliminated if Minnesota holds any aspirations of a postseason berth.
Luckily for the Vikings, Adrian Peterson is enjoying a career-best campaign. While the All-Pro back was making extraordinary progress on his offseason knee surgery, his 2012 season outlook was ominous at best near the end of training camp. Peterson quickly alleviated any apprehension in the season opener with 84 yards on 17 carries, including two end-zone excursions, and has not looked back. Entering Week 13, Peterson leads the league in rushing, averaging 112.4 yards per game on the ground, nearly 16 more yards than the nearest competition. Not bad for a cat who some imagined as washed up as late as August.
So who emerges victorious in this week's showdown on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com football simulation engine, the Packers come out on top 53.7 percent of the time by an average margin of 23-22. For the rest of this week's projections, check below:
Please note: The Seahawks-Bears, Saints-Falcons, Jaguars-Bills, Steelers-Ravens, Vikings-Packers, Colts-Lions, Browns-Raiders, Panthers-Chiefs, 49ers-Rams and Texans-Titans games were resimulated on 11/29 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 13
|@ Chicago Bears||67.2||22||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||33.9||24||Boxscore|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||66.1||28||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||66.1||25||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||35.0||21||Boxscore|
|@ Denver Broncos||65.0||26||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||64.0||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||55.7||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||53.7||23||Simulate Game|
|@ New York Jets||53.6||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Detroit Lions||52.9||27||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||53.1||21||Boxscore|
|@ Washington Redskins||46.9||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Oakland Raiders||45.9||24||Simulate Game|
|@ San Diego Chargers||41.2||23||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||39.9||20||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||63.4||23||Boxscore|
|@ St. Louis Rams||36.6||18||Simulate Game|
|New England Patriots||73.5||27||Boxscore|
|@ Miami Dolphins||26.5||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||18.7||18||Simulate Game|
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