USA punters: Sunday, September 18, 2016, 8.30pm ET, U.S. Bank Stadium
Australian punters: Monday, September 19, 2016, 10:30am AEST
Week one results:
Minnesota Vikings 25 d. Tennessee Titans 16
Green Bay Packers 27 d. Jacksonville Jaguars 23
Minnesota Vikings: ($2.07 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Green Bay Packers: ($1.79 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Minnesota Vikings: +2 ($1.92 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Green Bay Packers: -2 ($1.92 at Sportsbet.com.au)
One of the National Football League’s fieriest rivalries reignites in round two to coronate the newly built US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Green Bay Packers travel to face the Minnesota Vikings in a match that transcends the win-loss ratio, and given that both teams started the season in winning fashion, the pace should be ferocious from the outset.
Green Bay was in control for the majority of its match against Jacksonville.
The scoreline belied just how easy the Packers were doing it at times, as Aaron Rodgers returned to his MVP best – throwing for two touchdowns and running in one of his own.
The big positive for the Packers was the return of star receiver Jordy Nelson, who played his first regular season match since rupturing his ACL last year.
The 31-year-old fittingly caught Rodgers’ first touchdown throw, and ended the match recording six catches for 32-yards and a touchdown.
Nelson was happy to get through the match unscathed and victorious.
“It was great to be back out there helping the team win a game,” Nelson said.
“Getting back in the end zone is always fun, especially (to) get the first one out of the way and get the first win.”
Minnesota completed a stunning turnaround in their opening week fixture against the Tennessee Titans.
After going scoreless in the first half, the Vikings scored 25 unanswered points to stun the hapless Titans.
The most pleasing thing for Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer was the fact that they were able to eke out the victory without star running back Adrian Peterson having any impact whatsoever.
Minnesota quarterback Shaun Hill – who came in for injured starter Teddy Bridgewater –had a solid but unspectacular season opener, throwing for over 200 yards but failing to find the end zone.
Newly acquired Sam Bradford could get his debut game in purple on Sunday night, but his coach was reluctant to release any team information.
Zimmer said no decision has been made between the two men going forward, but was full of praise for his stand-in QB after his performance against the Titans.
“I thought Shaun did well,” Zimmer said.
“One of the things I told him going into the ballgame was, ‘You don’t have to be anybody else. You just have to be yourself, and that’s good enough to win. Take care of the football. Make the right plays.’
“And I think Sam’s done a nice job getting ready as well. We’ll take it one week at a time and see where it takes us.”
The Packers will be out for revenge in hostile territory given the last time the two teams met the Vikings secured their first NFC North Division crown since 2009 in a Week 17 game played at Lambeau Field.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that the only thing on his team’s collective mind is to bring the Lombardi trophy back to title town.
“Frankly, I don’t want to be flippant about it; division titles are important,” McCarthy said.
“But I don’t lose any sleep over it because we have a bigger goal. We don’t hang division title banners around here.”
The nationally broadcast game this week sees division rivals the Green Bay Packers travel to face the Minnesota Vikings clash at the freshly completed US Bank Stadium.
Both teams come in off the back of opening round victories.
Aaron Rodgers was at his peak last weekend, throwing incredible passes at will to generate the win for his side, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he will have his work cut out for him in devising a strategy to quell the influence former MVP.
“It’s a challenge, that’s for sure,” Zimmer
“Whether or not I like it doesn’t matter. We have to do it.”
The man the Packers will need to shut down is Adrian Peterson.
The man they call ‘All Day’ had an uncharacteristically quiet outing in his team’s win over the Titans, but the Vikings will be expecting him to bounce back in true Peterson form.
Adrian Peterson has eight games with 100-plus rushing yards against the Packers, including four games with over 150 rushing yards.
In his past five regular season games vs. Green Bay Peterson is averaging 132.0 rushing yards per game.
The big question is: who will take the quarterback position for Sunday in purple?
The Vikings traded a first round pick to get Sam Bradford, but Shaun Hill started last week and threw 10 of 17 passes to amass 237 yards.
The nod should go to Bradford though, which should give the Vikings deeper down field options than were presented last week.
The home side will need to be at the top of their game to subdue this Green Bay offence who has a terrific running back in the form of Eddie Lacy and a returning wide receiver (Jordy Nelson) who is amongst the best in the league.
Once the Packer juggernaut gets rolling they will be impossible to stop, and we are predicting a steamrolling on Sunday night.
Green Bay should start the season at 2-0 for the second consecutive year.
Match prediction: Green Bay Packers ($1.79 at Sportsbet.com.au)
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