Packer Report pundits predict ...

By a 5-3 vote, our staff sees the Packers emerging with a tough victory over Minnesota.


Final record: 9-7

Playoffs: Yes, as a wild card.

The season will end: With a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Super Bowl matchup: Cowboys over Colts.

Monday's prediction: Vikings 20, Packers 10.

Monday's breakdown: The Packers have too many questions at this early stage of the season. Fill-in right guard Tony Moll is going to have a long night and Ryan Grant hasn't carried the ball in a game since January. It won't be Aaron Rodgers' fault, but he'll have a rough debut against a superb Vikings defense.


Final record: 10-6.

Playoffs: Yes, as NFC North champion.

The season will end: In the NFC championship game against Dallas

Super Bowl matchup: Cowboys over Chargers

Monday's prediction: Packers 23, Vikings 17.

Monday's breakdown: The Packers to take an early lead with a steady mix of running and passing. Because of Minnesota's formidable defensive line, the Packers will have to use short passes to Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson, mixed in with downfield shots to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.


Packers record: 9-7

Playoffs: Yes, advancing to divisional round as a wild-card team.

Super Bowl matchup: Dallas over Pittsburgh.

Monday's prediction: Vikings 24, Packers 17.

Monday's breakdown: Aaron Rodgers will do fine in his debut, but unfortunately he'll be facing probably the toughest defense he will all year. Ryan Grant will be rusty and might even put the ball on the ground a time or two. And Adrian Peterson will go for more than 200 rushing yards if Vikings' coach Brad Childress will let him.


Record: 9-7.

Playoffs: Yes... barely. But they'll sneak in as a wild card and lose on the road in first round.

Super Bowl prediction: Dallas over Jacksonville.

Monday's prediction: Green Bay 28, Minnesota 27.

Monday's breakdown: In what could be a theme for the season, Green Bay will struggle in the trenches. Offensively, they'll have their hands full opening holes for Ryan Grant, and Aaron Rodgers will need to get rid of the ball quickly if he wants to stay upright. Fortunately, Rodgers has plenty of options to exploit the Vikings' secondary. Defensively, Green Bay has to show they can stop — or at least slow down — an opponent's ground game. Adrian Peterson will be a big test for them. Maybe Green Bay can trade a second-round draft pick for a run-stuffing, pass-rushing defensive tackle, like maybe Cleveland's Corey Williams. After much back-and-forth in the Brett Favre-retirement turned Rodgers inauguration game, look for an interception by the Packers to set up a winning field goal by Mason Crosby in a too-close-for-comfort Monday nighter.


Final record: 8-8.

Playoffs: No.

The season will end: With Aaron Rodgers doing OK and the line play being the reason for no playoff berth.

Super Bowl matchup: Pittsburgh over Dallas.

Monday's prediction: Vikings 27, Packers 20.

Monday's breakdown: Aaron Rodgers has a chance to establish himself as the NFC North's best QB, but Adrian Peterson will run away with the show, preventing Rodgers from winning his starting debut.


Final record: 11-5.

Playoffs: Yes.

The season will end: The Packers coast through a lackluster division and get to the NFC title game before bowing out to a hungrier Cowboys team.

Super Bowl matchup: Chargers over Cowboys.

Monday's prediction: Packers 20, Vikings 17.

Monday's breakdown: It won't be pretty, but Aaron Rodgers grits out a low-scoring win over the Vikes. Minnesota should be able to keep Ryan Grant in check without stacking multiple men in the box, which puts the onus on Rodgers. He'll have to dissect a formidable Minnesota defense under a prime-time stage — in his first start. No easy task. But if this summer is any indication, pressure doesn't get to Rodgers. And ultimately, he's miles better than his counterpart, Tavaris Jackson.


Final record: 9-7.

Playoffs: No.

The season will end: The Packers will miss out on the playoffs in the last week of the season. They'll beat the Detroit Lions in the season finale but will find themselves eliminated from the postseason.

Super Bowl matchup: New England over Dallas.

Monday's prediction: Packers 17, Vikings 13.

Monday's breakdown: Yes, the Vikings have really helped themselves on defense and they are smarting from a 34-0 humiliation the last time they came to Lambeau Field. Still, I look for the Packers to rally behind new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings will be stacking the defensive line to stop Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson, daring Rodgers to beat them. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the passing game — especially quick slants to relieve the pass rush pressure on Rodgers — will serve the Packers well and start Green Bay's season in winning fashion. I expect Donald Driver to hang on to the football and for Greg Jennings to have a solid game. I also look for the Packers' defense, despite injuries and personnel shuffles along the line, to have enough juice to make it a long night for Viking quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.


Final record: 11-5.

Playoffs: Yes, the Packers will repeat as NFC North champions.

The season will end: The Packers will take it one step further in 2008 and advance to the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., and win. Why? Why not? Nobody in the NFC really sticks out to me and the Packers are talented, as a former Packers quarterback named Favre once said. The Packers will have to be fortunate in terms of injuries, plus the NFC favorite, the Dallas Cowboys, haven't won a playoff game since 1996.

Super Bowl matchup: Packers over Chargers.

Monday's prediction: Packers 20, Vikings 17.

Monday's breakdown: The Vikings seem to be the popular pick in terms of of winning the NFC North and perhaps advancing to the Super Bowl. The Vikes have a great defensive line and phenomenal second-year running back Adrian Peterson. Turnovers, as always, will be the key. Aaron Rodgers and the offense will score enough points to win and the defense will be good enough. This game may come down to special-teams play, just like last year's opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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