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Packers Back to Being NFC North Favorites After Hammering Vikings in Week 1

Jake Mitchell

by Jake Mitchell in NFL Football

Sep 13, 2020 · 7:37 PM PDT

Davante Adams hauling in a touchdown
The Vikings secondary could not slow Davante Adams. The Packers' WR went off for 156 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Photo from @brgridiron
  • The Packers recorded a 43-34 victory over Minnesota in the opening week of the season
  • Prior to Sunday’s result, the Vikings were favored to win the NFC North
  • Read below for a look at the NFC North after a huge weekend with two divisional matchups

The NFL season kicked off this weekend, and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers opened things up with a bang. Many expect the NFC North to come down to Minnesota and Green Bay, and with a 43-34 win on Sunday afternoon, the Packers got a big leg up in the NFC North odds.

NFC North Odds Before and After Week 1

Team Odds before Week 1 Current Odds at FanDuel
Green Bay Packers +190 +145
Minnesota Vikings +165 +240
Chicago Bears +390 +280
Detroit Lions +500 +600

Odds taken Sep. 13

Aaron Rodgers Looked Like Classic Rodgers

Perhaps the most satisfying part of Sunday’s Green Bay win was watching Aaron Rodgers operate at his best again. Last year, his first season with new head coach Matt Lafleur, had its fair share of bumpy moments, but to open this new campaign, it appears that this pairing may be much more comfortable.

Rodgers threw the ball 44 times on Sunday, completing 32 passes for 364 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. 5 different Packers had at least 4 receptions, with Davante Adams leading the way at 15 catches for 156 yards.

Supporting Rodgers was also a solid rushing game. As a team, led by Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Tyler Ervin, Green Bay averaged 4.9 yards per carry on their way to a 158-yard day.

Between that rushing day, and Rodgers being sacked zero times, the offensive line deserves a big chunk of the credit for the win on Sunday. This unit has gone through some big changes in recent seasons, but it appears they may have come out on the other side as a more cohesive unit.

Can Minnesota Bounce Back?

A simple look at the box score can be perplexing for this game. It was a dominant statistical day for the Packers, but on the other side, nothing egregious stands out for the Vikings offense. They turned the ball over just once, and converted on 50% of their third downs. Britton Colquitt punted just twice.

The concern going forward has nothing to do with the offense. Defensively, however, it’s an entirely different story.

It’s tough to figure out where to start with the defense. Perhaps the best place would be the secondary, where Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, and Anthony Harris were torn apart all day long by Rodgers. It didn’t help, of course, that the newly-accquired Yannick Ngakoue couldn’t produce a single QB pressure all day long. That was exacerbated by the fact that the team is without Danielle Hunter, the defensive end who was placed on IR last week.

The season is, of course, nowhere close to over after just one week. The Vikings undoubtedly face an uphill battle, and the head-to-head loss to Green Bay only puts them in a bigger hole.

However, there is improvement on the horizon. This is a young team, especially on defense, and they didn’t have the benefit of a full offseason due to Covid-19. Mike Zimmer is one of the better defensive head coaches in the league, and as this unit gets more experience, they should see some significant improvement.

What’s the Best Bet?

There’s no week that draws more overreaction than the first. That should be taken into account, especially with the aforementioned disruptions to the offseason preparation. It makes sense that a veteran quarterback dissected a young defense that didn’t have proper prep, but it doesn’t mean the NFC North race is decided.

The Vikings offense looked good, and this defense should take a step forward in the weeks ahead. The odds jumped from +165 to +240 after the loss, and that is a number to take advantage of. Minnesota is a good football team that can absolutely win this division, and one defeat, even in-division, doesn’t change that.

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