Packers Host Vikings In Thursday Night Football Clash

Eddie Lacy scored his first touchdown of the season Sunday. Will the second-year running back come up big against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football?

Eddie Lacy scored his first touchdown of the season Sunday. Will the second-year running back come up big against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football?

The Green Bay Packers meet a divisional foe for the third consecutive week as the Minnesota Vikings arrive at Lambeau Field for Thursday Night Football.

Kickoff in Wisconsin is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. ET.

In a congested NFC North, the high profile divisional matchup represents a chance for both teams to make a statement and inch closer to first place.

The Story So Far

Beginning the season with three road games in four, Green Bay (2-2, 1-0 home) enter Week 5 at .500, both overall and in conference play.

The Packers split its opening games, losing to the Seattle Seahawks on the road before returning to Lambeau Field and a victory against the New York Jets.

On the road in Motown in Week 3, Mike McCarthy’s side suffered a rare loss to the Detroit Lions, in a game that saw the Packers’ offense splutter. There were no such spluttering this past Sunday as the Packers celebrated a 99th trip to Soldier Field by putting 38 points on the board against the Chicago Bears.

Now the Packers will look to move above .500 and earn a valuable win within the division.

Like Green Bay, Minnesota (2-2, 1-1 road) has been something of a Jekyll and Hyde team to start the season.

A 34-6 road win over the St. Louis Rams in Week 1 was followed by a 30-7 drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots in the Vikings’ first game at their temporary home, TCF Bank Field. In Week 3, the Vikings went into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and kept it close against the New Orleans Saints, losing 20-9.

On Sunday, the Vikings entertained the Atlanta Falcons in Minneapolis, and proceeded to pillage the NFC South team. The explosive 41-28 victory suggested that the Vikings may be good enough to be considered a contender within the division.

Minnesota’s 2-2 start is even more impressive in light of the absence of superstar running back Adrian Peterson, and the well-documented controversy that has accompanied that particular scenario. Sunday’s win was equally as impressive as it marked rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s first pro start, a start that defied his years.

The NFC North Landscape

Right now, Detroit owns top spot in the NFC North having suffered just one loss. But the Lions are by no means the frontrunners. Anything but actually.

The division, which has often provided some of the best postseason races the league has seen, is very much up for grabs right now. All four teams have shown both positive and negative traits this season, and it could prove that the team that limits those negative traits is the one that emerges as the champion in this year’s chase.

The Packers and Vikings will head into Thursday’s game riding high on the back of those high-scoring performances this past weekend. Hopefully the shortened week won’t extinguish the offenses as they arrive in northern Wisconsin.

For Green Bay, a win is almost essential. The team won’t want to be 1-2 mid way through its conference schedule. For Minnesota, a win in its first division game of the season would be a very good place to start.

Head-to-Head

Green Bay leads the all-time head-to-head series 56-49-2, and is 30-23-2 against the Vikings at Lambeau Field.

The Packers have won 15 of the last 23 head-to-head matchups, and 20 of the last 28 played in Green Bay.

The last time these two sides met (Nov. 24, 2013), the teams played to a draw, only the second time in history and the first time in 35 years that had happened.

Injury Report

Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) is looking like a game-time decision for Mike Zimmer. If Bridgewater can’t go, Christian Ponder will take to the field.

Linebacker Chad Greenway (hand/rib) will miss the game for the Vikings, as will tight end Kyle Rudolph (groin), currently out indefinitely.

Packers wide receiver Jarrett Boykin (knee) will miss the game, while linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Boyd (knee) are both listed as doubtful. Linebacker Clay Matthews is expected to play through a groin injury.

After an impressive performance in his full debut, Teddy Bridgewater is questionable for Thursday's game.

After impressing in his full debut, Teddy Bridgewater is questionable for Thursday’s game.

Check out the full injury list

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers odds for 10/02/2014

Moneyline: Green Bay (-430) opened as the favorite over Minnesota (+369) on the moneyline. At the time of writing, that number had shrunk but the Packers remain a comfortable favorite.

The Vikings are 1-9-1in their last 11 road games, stretching back to the 2012 NFL Playoffs, when they were defeated 24-10 by the Packers.

Green Bay is 13-4-1 in its last 18 home games, and has dominated the Vikings (both in general and at home) over recent years.

Spread: The spread opened at 10 but has shrunk to 8.5 with most bookmakers in the meantime.

Green Bay (1-2-1 ATS) picked up their first win against the spread in Sunday’s dominant win over Chicago, while Minnesota (2-2-0 ATS) is batting .500 against the spread.

The Packers are 4-2-0 ATS in their last six games with the Vikings, and 4-1-0 ATS in the last five the teams have played at Lambeau Field.

Total: The total opened at 50.5 but has dropped as low as 47.5 since.

The Packers (3-1-0 O/U) have favored the over in the early part of this season, while the Vikings (1-3-0 O/U) have favored the under.

The total has gone over in 10 of the last 13 head-to-head meetings, as well as five of the last seven played in Green Bay.

Both teams covered the spread in victories in Week 4.

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