The legend of Aaron Rodgers just added another chapter after Sunday’s dramatic comeback win over the Bears. Faced with another “what if” season when he was carted off the field in the second quarter, Rodgers made a stunning return for the second half and led the Packers back from what had become a 20-point deficit. Facing the team that did knock him out last season, ending Green Bay’s streak of eight straight playoff appearances, Rodgers takes aim at Anthony Barr and the Minnesota Vikings in an early Week 2 NFC North matchup.
Kickoff for this regular season Week 2 game is set for Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at Lambeau Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Minnesota Vikings OFF
Green Bay Packers OFF
Over/Under (Check Back Later)
While oddsmakers wait for more information regarding the health of Rodgers, the spread will remain off the board. These are the top two teams in the division and closely matched so don’t expect the line to be more than a few points if Rodgers gets the green light. If not, the Vikings will be at least a touchdown favorite.
Aaron Rodgers – Having a 300 pound lineman fall on his leg in the second quarter was enough to have Rodgers sent to the sideline and then carted off the field before halftime. Things weren’t looking good before he went down and they looked much worse during the intermission. However, injury and all, Rodgers trotted onto the field for the second half and led a glorious comeback from a 20-point deficit. Still, Rodgers was noticeably favoring his injured leg during the second half and that could impact him for a matchup with Minnesota’s top defense.
Trae Waynes – Minnesota’s starting cornerback sustained a knee injury and didn’t return to Sunday’s game. The severity of the injury is unknown, but his absence forced the Vikings to make some adjustments in the secondary.
Player to Watch
You know if Rodgers can go he’ll be on the field Sunday. He came back after being carted off the field to have a monster second half against the Bears, completing 17 of 24 attempts for 273 yards and three touchdowns after he returned to the game. Not only was Rodgers a different player, the Packers were a different team. They didn’t allow a sack in the second half and the defense gave up just a pair of field goals.
This one has some added incentive for Rodgers, though. It was the Vikings and Barr who cracked his collarbone, essentially ending the season for the quarterback and his team. Would the Packers have won the division if Rodgers didn’t sit for nine of the next 10 games? We’ll never know, but they certainly would have been better than the 7-9 mark they posted.
As good as the Vikings were defensively last season they had a hard time forcing turnovers. Minnesota ranked 23rd in the NFL with only 19 takeaways in 2017, but they are well on their way to topping that mark after forcing four San Francisco turnovers in the opener. And they came in big spots.
The first takeaway came in the first half deep in Vikings territory with the Niners about to tie the game. Linval Joseph stripped the ball and Harrison Smith recovered at the Minnesota 1-yard line to preserve a 10-3 lead. Mike Hughes had a pick-six early in the third to extend the lead to 17-3, and Xavier Rhodes and Smith picked Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter.
Free ATS Pick
Rodgers can do anything and as long as he’s behind center the Packers are a threat. In one of the more memorable games, Rodgers and the Packers completely flipped the script in the second half, overcoming a 20-point deficit to knock off the Bears. No disrespect to Chicago, but if Green Bay plays as poorly against the Vikings as they did in the first half against the Bears, the lead might be too much.
I fully expect Rodgers to play in this one, though he may be impacted by the injury. It didn’t affect him against Chicago, the Pack just made adjustments going to shorter throws to avoid the pressure. The Packers invested heavily in the secondary in the draft to compete with the likes of Kirk Cousins, and I expect Green Bay and Rodgers to be up to the challenge.
NFL Betting Odds: Packers 23, Vikings 17
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