Vikings vs. Packers 2016 final score: Minnesota holds off comeback attempt to win NFC North


The Minnesota Vikings held off a frantic comeback attempt by the Green Bay Packers to come away with the 20-13 win and clinch the NFC North. It’s the Vikings’ first division title since 2009.

With the win, the Vikings also lock up the No. 3 seed and will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. The Packers drop to No. 5 and will travel to Washington next week.

The first quarter was defined by long, grinding drives that ultimately ended in field goals. The Vikings went 10 plays and 59 yards on the game’s opening drive, with the key play being a fake punt that went for 41 yards.

Cincinnati opened as a slim 1-point favorite against Pittsburgh for their matchup, while the other AFC contest for Wild Card Weekend has the Kansas City Chiefs as an opening 3-point favorite on the road against the Houston Texans – who were left standing as the AFC South champions for this season. The Texans fell 27-20 to the Chiefs back in Week 1, losing that game as a 1-point home underdog.

The Kansas City at Houston matchup kicks off Wild Card Weekend at 4:35 p.m. ET on Saturday, with the Pittsburgh at Cincinnati matchup following at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots will have the two first-round byes in the AFC.

Jed York’s megalomania might be so great that the answer is yes, but at the end of Jim Tomsula’s tenure, the stadium’s still standing, the Niners don’t have the worst record in the league, and some of the players experienced positive development. You were their Uncle Buck, Jim Tomsula. Hell, you even had your giant pancake moment.

But even though Uncle Buck proves he’s not a slovenly, incompetent danger to others as everyone fears, that doesn’t change the end of the movie. He doesn’t move into his brother’s house. He’s not asked to stay with the kids for another week. He doesn’t get an extension as the family patriarch.

Uncle Buck just goes home.

Aaron Rodgers is playing better than you think


One productive half against the Chicago Bears could not realistically suppress all the panic surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offense. The concerns draw from a yearlong decline in production. A recent column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggested Rodgers had fallen from the ranks of the greats as a result.

Since the start of the 2003 season, home teams have covered the spread at a 48.8 percent clip. That’s hardly surprising for weekly readers who have heard this point reiterated ad nauseum, but bettors may not realize than the edge in picking the road team only exists because of divisional rivalries.

After a slow start to the season, my system picks rebounded with a 4-1 performance in Week 7. Using Bet Labs data analysis software, I’ll look to continue that success with a new system that has gone.

The Browns’ best chance to win a game in 2016 comes this Sunday when they host the Jets. FPI gives Cleveland a 39 percent chance to win that game. The Browns’ chance to win is 33 percent or lower in seven of their eight games after Sunday.

FPI gives the Browns a 6 percent chance to lose all of their remaining games. That’s three times more likely than any other team. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams each have a 2 percent chance to lose out.

Part of the Browns’ ugly projection comes from what would be a tough schedule for any team. But that’s only part of the story.

Cleveland currently ranks 22nd or worse in offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency.

In 1987, the Bears had six quarterbacks throw at least 11 passes: McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Mike Hohensee, Sean Payton (the current Saints coach), Steve Bradley and Jim Harbaugh. Of course this was the strike season, which explains the situation.

That Bears team also made the playoffs, going 11-5 and losing in the divisional round to Washington. McMahon played quarterback in the playoff game.

Technically, the Browns have not been eliminated from the playoffs. So there is hope they could be like those Bears teams. Right?

But this week’s starter is a mystery.

Kessler is in the NFL concussion protocol and McCown still is trying to come back from a broken left collarbone. It’s possible Hogan will be the fourth different starter this season. Hogan played Sunday in Cincinnati and did OK given the circumstances, completing 12 of 24 passes for 100 yards and running for 104 more.

It marked the second time in a non-strike season a team has had six players throw a pass in the first seven games. The last: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, when they went 0-14.

One other thing: If Hogan starts, he’ll be starting QB No. 27 since 1999.

Given Packers’ losses, maybe Brett Favre’s next visit should be in offseason


Wis. Brett Favre said Sunday that hes not sure when hell be back to Lambeau Field. The way the Green Bay Packers seem to play when hes in the building, perhaps itd be best if he stayed away for a bit, even if he and the organization are on good terms these days.

Sundays game marked the second straight year Favre has been honored at halftime of a regular-season game. And it was the second straight time the Packers lost, as they followed up last years Thanksgiving night loss to the Chicago Bears with a 30-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Favre, who played 16 of his 20 NFL seasons in Green Bay, came to Sundays game to receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring and see his name unveiled as part of the Packers ring of honor. Unlike many other NFL stadiums, the Packers reserve their ring of honor at Lambeau Field for Hall of Famers. Favres name is next to his former teammate and defensive end Reggie White, in the southeast corner of the stadium.

Adams left the game in the third quarter after a hit from Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. The team announced he was being evaluated for a concussion. On his way out of the locker room Sunday night, Adams said he did not have one, but that changed Monday, when the Packers issued their first injury report in advance of Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

The quick turnaround might make it difficult for Adams to get cleared in time. He was one of three receivers to show up on the Packers’ injury report. The others — Randall Cobb (back) and Jared Abbrederis (quad) — also were new injuries. Cobb was on the report last week because of a neck injury but played 53 snaps and caught seven passes for 53 yards, including a touchdown against the Cowboys.

The Packers also have issues at running back, where James Starks won’t play this week after undergoing surgery Sunday to repair a torn meniscus and Eddie Lacy remains hobbled by a sprained left ankle; and cornerback, where they could be without their top three — Sam Shields (concussion), Damarious Randall (groin) and Quinten Rollins (groin).

Coach Mike McCarthy seemed more concerned about those two spots than receiver.

“I think obviously the stress points of our game-day roster for Thursday will be the running back position and the corner position,” McCarthy said Monday. “Any time you’re dealing with your 53-man roster, how you’re going to forecast how you’re going to line up with the 46, you’ve got two positions that need attention and, frankly, these injuries that we have, they’re not of long-term IR nature. That’s all part of a normal season. You’ve just got to work through it.

“It’s Monday. We’re still gathering information. I don’t know if we’ll have it sorted out until Tuesday, maybe Wednesday.”

The Packers will promote rookie running back Don Jackson from the practice squad, according to a source. They will need to clear a spot on the active roster Tuesday before they can make that move. The plan is for Jackson to be active Thursday night against the Bears so they’re not left with just one natural halfback, as they were against the Cowboys.

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