Minnesota and Green Bay will meet for the third time this season, thanks to Minnesota’s win in the same game last week. This is the fifteenth playoff matchup since 1978 where teams who played in the final regular season game turn around and play again in their first playoff game. The team that won the season finale is 7-7 in the playoffs.
Of course, the team that hosted that rematch went 11-3 in the playoffs (5-1 when the host had lost the season finale). Green Bay comes in as a heavy favorite (9 points), and has several things in their favor–better passing offense, and being an outdoor team going against a dome team. That didn’t matter in 2004, the last time these teams got together in the postseason, but that was several moons ago.
Here is the tale of the tape:
Minnesota Vikings: 10-6 record, +2.1 SRS (13th), 5.4 yards per play (17th), 5.2 yards per play allowed (11th), +4 Turnovers (11th)
Green Bay Packers: 11-5 record, +3.5 SRS (tied for 11th), 5.5 yards per play (14th), 5.2 yards per play allowed (13th), +12 Turnovers (7th)
The most similar matchups to these teams match up pretty well with Minnesota, though the Packers are a better team than the average comparable. The home team won 6 of the 8 most comparable matchups, though many were close. Two very memorable games show up on the list. [See Seattle-Washington and Houston-Cincinnati for the methodology].
1. Pittsburgh 31 at Tennessee 34 (OT), 2002 AFC Divisional Round. Is Christian Ponder worse than Tommy Maddox? The Steelers and Titans engaged in a shootout
2. Oakland 13 at New England 16 (OT), 2001 AFC Divisional Round. What rule will this game provide us?
3. Washington 20 at Philadelphia 6, 1990 NFC Wildcard. The first divisional matchup here, the Redskins won on the road a few months after the Body Bag Game in Philadelphia.
4. Dallas 17 at Carolina 26, 1996 NFC Divisional Round. The SRS ratings for these two matchups are very similar; the feel and perception is not. Carolina was a second year expansion team that came in as a home underdog against the defending Super Bowl champs.
5. Buffalo 21 at Pittsburgh 40, 1995 AFC Divisional Round. Pittsburgh emphatically shut the door on Buffalo’s run as the AFC’s playoff power by jumping out to a 20-0 lead.
6. NY Jets 16 at New England 37, 2006 AFC Wildcard. Another divisional matchup, the Patriots had the superior passing attack and rolled over a team that had beaten them at New England in the regular season.
7. Philadelphia 10 at NY Giants 20, 2000 NFC Divisional Round. The Giants were not viewed favorably entering the postseason, but swept Andy Reid’s first playoff team before advancing to the Super Bowl.
8. Washington 24 at Minnesota 7, 1992 NFC Wildcard. By power rating, this was similar. The Vikings had to start Shaun Salisbury at quarterback, though. Not exactly the same, and we don’t even need texted pictures to know that.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]