Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The Minnesota Vikings were extremely excited about the home debut of Teddy Bridgewater in last week’s 41-28 in over Atlanta. The passing line of 19-30-0-317 was sharp and productive…and their total yardage victory of 558-411 opened quite a few eyes.
Of course, that was against ATLANTA, a team with a suspect defense. And, it was clearly a team that wasn’t as fully prepared for Bridgewater as was needed. No more surprises. Green Bay no knows what Bridgewater is capable of if he’s given time to throw. And, Bridgewater himself will be dealing with a bad ankle that became an issue late last Sunday. Last week may have been a high water mark (pardon the pun) for the promising youngster’s rookie campaign. If Bridgewater can’t go because of his ankle injury, then Christian Ponder will get the start in hopes of revitalizing his career.
Let’s run the matchup through JIM HURLEY’S key indicator information.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Minnesota: 2-2 (won at St. Louis, lost to N, England, lost at N. Orleans, beat Atlanta)
Green Bay: 2-2 (lost at Seattle, beat NY Jets, lost at Detroit, won at Chicago)
The Vikings won at St. Louis with Matt Cassel and Adrian Peterson, neither of whom will be on the field Thursday Night. The team has recovered emotionally from the loss of Peterson, but may go down in the dumps again if Bridgewater’s ankle injury is worse than is currently being reported. Green Bay’s 2-2 schedule is hurt by opening with a fairly tough schedule. The Jets are the closest thing to a gift on that slate, and three of the first four games were on the road.
Minnesota: 5.6 on offense, 5.6 on defense
Green Bay: 5.5 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Minnesota’s all over the place so far, so what you see is an average composite of craziness! Green Bay would have a better differential against a more balanced schedule. So, the advantage goes to the Packers after you make some mental adjustments. But, the market price is very high here…so a case could be made early that the Vikings are going to offer value. Nothing we’ve seen so far establishes Green Bay as a heavy favorite.
Green Bay: +4
It’s actually a good sign that the Vikings are even given all they’ve been through. But, rookie quarterbacks tend to be mistake prone, especially on the road in high pressure games. Green Bay is likely to win this stat Thursday, which will help make up for what wasn’t happening in yardage differential.
Minnesota: 2-2 ATS
Green Bay: 1-3 ATS (missed only home game by half a point)
The Packers got their first cover of the season last week in Chicago, and were helped in doing so by a bunch of Bears’ miscues. The team has been overpriced this season, even if they may be trending in the right direction. Minnesota is all over the place…covering twice very easily, but missing the mark badly in the first game Peterson was unavailable. In the case of Bridgewater, it looks like the market has underestimated him to this point.
Current Line: Green Bay by 9, total of 47.5
Oddsmakers are back to pricing Green Bay like they’re a Super Bowl threat, while Minnesota isn’t seen as a Wildcard contender even with last week’s good result.
Clearly, the accuracy of inaccuracy of that pointspread is going to come down to Bridgewater. If he plays like he did last week…which is possible because Green Bay’s defense isn’t anything special and weather probably won’t be an inhibiting factor…then the price is too high. We’re talking about a likely shootout. But, if Bridgewater falls back to earth and becomes mistake-prone, the evening could get away from the Vikings very quickly. That’s exactly what happened to Jay Cutler and the Bears last week…a more experienced quarterback and a better team. Aaron Rodgers will make you pay for mistakes!
So, we have a very volatile situation here. Minnesota has a chance to make this a thriller. Or, they could be blown off the field the way other recent Thursday Night losers have been. JIM HURLEY has some very strong feelings about how the evening will play out. You can purchase the final word for Thursday (which also includes college action and the baseball playoffs) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you tomorrow for more football coverage. Keep reading the NOTEBOOK for helpful handicapping information, and link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!