The National Football League is back and we have a good way to kick off the season when the visiting Green Bay Packers meet the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North Division clash. Green Bay finished 2019 with a 13-3 record and lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the conference semifinals. Minnesota ended its 2019 campaign with a 10-6 record and lost to the 49ers in the opening round of the playoffs. These are two of the divisions best and this game will be a great start to the 2020 NFL season.
Packers Make Small Roster MovesThe Packers reached the NFC Conference Finals last season but suffered a 37-20 road loss to the 49ers and they are back again for another shot at the brass ring. The Packers made very few changes in the offseason and Green Bay returns eight starters to the offensive side of scrimmage and it all starts with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers leads an offense that ranked eighth in offensive efficiency and returns from a season where the veteran quarterback threw for 4002 yards with 26 touchdowns against four interceptions.
The offensive line returns five starters from the 2019 squad and right tackle Rick Wagner joins an O-Line ranked fourth this preseason by Pro Football Focus.
Devonte Adams caught 83 balls for 997 yards and five touchdowns and returns as Rodgers number one option. Green Bay signed wideout Devin Funchess but he opted out for the season. There is not a whole lot of experience after Adams, but there is a lot of talent. That's probably why the Packers did not draft a wide receiver because they have confidence in Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Whether Rodgers has confidence in them is another story. Tight end Jace Sternberger is a new addition to the starting lineup and will take over for former tight end Jimmy Graham.
Running back Aaron Jones returns from a 1084 yard season and will be the lead back for Green Bay. Jamaal Williams also returns and had a good 2019 campaign, rushing for 460 yards with an additional 253 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
The Packers defense returns eight starters to a football team that ranked fifteenth overall; the Green Bay defense ranked ninth against the pass and twenty-third against the run in 2019. Linebacker Christian Kirksey, cornerback Chandon Sullivan, and safety Raven Green should help the Packers improve on last season’s average numbers. Preston Smith and Za'Darious Smith are the strength of the defense as they combined for 25.5 sacks last season.
Vikings Retooled DefenseThe Minnesota Vikings made plenty of moves after a 10-6 season and a first-round playoff exit but the Vikings are poised and ready for a run at the NFC North Crown. Top wideout Stefon Diggs was traded but returns eight offensive players and six defensive players the Vikings feel will lead them to a better postseason result. Gary Kubiak is the new Vikings offensive coordinator, taking over for Kevin Stefanski who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
The Vikings ranked tenth last season in offensive efficiency and leading the way is returning starting quarterback Kirk Cousins returns from a 3,603 yard, 26 touchdowns with six interception season and the veteran quarterback has four starters returning to an offensive line with a preseason ranking of twenty-third according to Pro Football Focus.
Cousins has wideout Adam Thielen and he will likely be Cousins' number one target. Thielen was banged up for much of the 2019 season but did haul in 30 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns. Rookie Justin Jefferson looks to be Diggs replacement and wideout Tajae Sharp was an offseason acquisition that could pay huge dividends for Minnesota this season.
Dalvin Cook returns and is coming off an 1135 yard, 13 touchdown reason with an additional 519 receiving yards. Look for Alexander Mattison to see some snaps after his 462 yards, one touchdown season as Cook’s main replacement.
Defensively speaking, the Vikings took a huge hit when Linvel Joseph and Everson Griffen left the 2019 fourth-ranked defense. Linebacker Eric Kendrick does return and will be looked to as the leader of a defense that lost seven starters. The secondary lost three starters from their 2019 team and will look to rookies Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney alongside returning starters Mike Hughes and Holton Hill.
- The Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1.
- Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September.
- Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on FieldTurf.