The Vikings will conclude a rigorous 3-game pre-bye stretch of games this Sunday by heading to Lambeau Field for their 2nd contest of the season against division and border rival Green Bay. The game marks the return of QB Brett Favre to the stadium he called home for 16 seasons.
When the Vikings and Packers kick it off on Sunday at 3:15, it will have been less than one month since their previous meeting and the Vikings will be coming off 2 consecutive tough games against physical AFC North foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh, while the Packers are coming off games against the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns in the previous 2 weeks.
The hype surrounding this game will be largely centered on Favre’s return to Lambeau and the 2nd matchup against his former team and predecessor Aaron Rodgers. But don’t allow that to overshadow what’s actually important about this game – NFC North ramifications.
The Vikings enter this week’s contest off a loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday, but with an opportunity to take full control of the NFC North with a win. A Vikings victory on Sunday in Lambeau would improve their record to 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the division, 5-0 in the NFC and it would give them a season sweep and tiebreaker priority over the Packers.
The Vikings defeated Green Bay earlier this season at home and a season sweep of their rivals this year would be the 1st since 2005; it would also give Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress a 3-game winning streak over Green Bay, a team he lost to 5 straight times to from 2006-2008.
But Green Bay enters this contest with incentive to win, too. They are riding a 2-game winning streak out of their Week 5 bye and a win on Sunday would improve them to 5-2 and place them just 1 game behind the Vikings in the division standings. And let’s not kid ourselves, the organization and its fan base would love nothing more than to welcome Favre back to Lambeau and then send him back to Minnesota with a loss.
Speaking of Favre, we mentioned yesterday the matchup he has with Rodgers this week because it’s similar to the one he had with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger last week. Both Favre and Rodgers enter Week 8 as top-rated passers in the NFL and atop several other statistical categories. Their performances on Sunday will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the game.
There are other intriguing storylines, however, and we’ll get into all of them throughout the week here on the vikings.com Blog. But we’ll leave you with just a few statistical nuggets to chew on while we work on more updates for the blog.
– The previous 24 matchups in this series have been remarkably even, with a combined score of 568-564 in favor of the Vikings. The average scores of those games have been 23.7 (Vikings) and 23.5 (Green Bay).
– The Packers currently rank 1st with a +10 differential while the Vikings are tied for 4th with a +7 differential.
– With a passing TD, Favre will have more TDs (13) than any Vikings QB over the past 4 years. His 12 TDs right now are tied with Gus Frerotte’s 12 in 2008.
– The Vikings and Packers have one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL, with Green Bay holding the all-time series lead 49-47-1. This will be the 98th matchup between the teams, tied for the most the Vikings have played against any opponent in the league.
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