5 Reasons why the Vikings will win / Packers will win

The moment so many Vikings and Packers fans have waited for has arrived: The Week 1 matchup between revamped Minnesota and Brett Favre-less Green Bay at Lambeau Field in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.

The moment so many Vikings and Packers fans have waited for has arrived: The Week 1 matchup between revamped Minnesota and Brett Favre-less Green Bay at Lambeau Field in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.

1. Adrian Peterson: The Vikings' star running back rushed for 1,341 yards in his first season, established the league's single-game rushing record by going for 296 yards against San Diego, earned offensive Rookie of the Year honors and was named MVP of the Pro Bowl.

But Peterson rushed for just 45 yards before leaving with an injury in his first game at Green Bay and struggled the rest of the 2007 season. He will live up to the All-Pro hype in today's game.

2. Jared Allen and defense: In Pat and Kevin Williams, the Vikings already had what is perhaps the league's most feared defensive tackle tandem. Now they've added defensive end Allen and his 15½ sacks last season in an offseason trade with Kansas City.

Allen wants to make an impression on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, saying in an interview with during training camp that he hopes to "put my helmet square in the back of his spine." Allen wasn't quite as outspoken this week, saying that sentiment applied to whatever quarterback he happens to be playing against.


3. Packers injuries: Green Bay might be without injured starting center Scott Wells, linebacker A.J. Hawk, wideout James Jones and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Even if Wells and KGB play -- Wells is questionable and KGB is probable -- their effectiveness could be minimal.

4. Pack's patchwork O-line: With Wells questionable and rookie Josh Sitton having been ruled out with a knee injury suffered Aug. 22, the Packers figure to start Daryn Colledge at left guard, Jason Spitz at center and Tony Moll at right guard against the Vikings' mammoth "Williams Wall," adding more pressure to Rodgers' first career start.

5. Tarvaris Jackson: Vikings QB Jackson looked as if he had made significant strides during the preseason. He completed 15 of 22 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and an impressive 127.1 passer rating in four-plus series.

Why the Packers will win

1. Aaron Rodgers: Levelheaded quarterback Rodgers isn't going to let a swarm of outside pressure and some predictable pregame yapping ruin the moment the 2005 first-round draft choice has waited three years for -- his first NFL start.

Rodgers, 24, showed a few signs of cracking at the height of the Brett Favre controversy. Once Favre was traded to the New York Jets, Rodgers recovered to have a good preseason, providing evidence to skeptical Packers fans that the team's front office might know what it's doing after all.

2. Greg Jennings: History has shown NFL receivers have blossomed and thrived during their third season. Packers wideout Jennings had 12 touchdowns and close to 1,000 receiving yards (920) during his second season a year ago and is expected to increase those numbers this year.

Jennings has 11 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown in four career games against the Vikings -- all Packer victories.


3. Missing Madieu: The Packers and tight end Donald Lee could have a field day -- specifically in the middle of the field -- with the absence of Vikings safety Madieu Williams. Signed in the offseason as a free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals, Williams injured his neck during training camp and won't be back until Week 4 at the earliest.

4. Swept Vikings in '06, '07: The Packers routed the Vikings 34-0 at Lambeau Field on Nov. 11, 2007, last season en route to an NFC North Division title and a spot in the NFC championship game. Green Bay also beat Minnesota at the Metrodome earlier that year and swept the season series for the second consecutive year.

5. Tarvaris Jackson: The 2006 second-round draft pick showed potential but struggled during his first full season as Minnesota's starter a year ago, which included missing four games because of injuries.

Jackson suffered a knee injury during the preseason this year, immediately calling into question the QB's durability. He missed the 2007 blowout at Lambeau because he was hurt and was 10-of-20 passing for 50 yards and one interception in a 9-7 loss at Green Bay in 2006.

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