While I have heard many people, including some Packers like Charles Woodson say the Packers would be better off not getting a bye in the playoffs, I don’t buy it and they shouldn’t be selling it.
To not get a bye the Packers would have to lose to the Vikings today. How is losing good for your team? It’s not. A resounding win and a week to get healthier is clearly the way to go. One less game to win on the road to the Super Bowl.
The Packers are playing good football right now and need to keep that momentum going. The Vikings however, are also playing well, having won three straight since losing to the Packers in Lambeau.
I think the Packers will play full tilt even with a playoff spot assured even if they lose. I think it will still be a very tough game. No team has ever swept it’s division games two years in a row so the law of averages is also against the Packers.
I think the return of Clay Matthews makes the difference in this game. He is a tremendous player against the run, which gets overlooked because his pass rush abilities get all the attention. Matthews missed the game when Adrian Peterson gained his 210 yards in Green Bay.
I’ll say Matthews and the Packers’ defense deny Peterson his 2,000 yard season as the Packers eke out a 24-23 victory.