In a battle of two 1-0 NFC North squads, the Minnesota Vikings will travel to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.
It continues to be a mystery whether Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play a week after engineering an incredible 24-23 comeback victory over the Chicago Bears despite injuring his knee in the first half.
What isn’t a mystery is the Vikings have a relentless pass rush led by outside linebacker Anthony Barr, who broke Rodgers’ collarbone last season with a devastating hit.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy needs to ask himself, “Is it worth mortgaging your entire season by putting your best player in position to be pummeled by a modern-day Purple People Eaters defense?”
Fantasy owners and Packers fans should believe in benching Rodgers, even if it means sacrificing one game.
If McCarthy makes the right move and rests Rodgers, he’ll have to understand backup quarterback DeShone Kizer will not be picking up the first win of his career. He was terrible in Cleveland and will remain as such in green and gold.
The Vikings should find themselves beneficiaries of great field position in this contest, be it by turnovers forced or holding the Packers to three-and-outs.
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins will prove to be worth every guaranteed penny of his contract. He has the weapons in receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, running back Dalvin Cook and tight end Kyle Rudolph, so generating points should not be a difficult task.
If Rodgers plays, the heightened risk of worsening the injury could make things problematic. Maybe McCarthy should consult Nike for advice on whether or not he should sit Rodgers.
Just do it.
Final score: Vikings 31, Packers 13
Thursday Twitter pick
The Baltimore Ravens appeared to have an exceptional defense in their 47-3 win over the Buffalo Bills, but that proved to be a mirage when they lined up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. It didn’t help that Cincinnati actually fields something better than a junior varsity offensive line and Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley suffered a bone bruise in the first half.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has his team at 2-0 and has given Cincy fans something to talk about other than when to inevitably put Lewis back on the hot seat if (but more likely when) this team slumps to the finish line.
Best of the rest
Carolina Panthers 23, Atlanta Falcons 17
The Panthers’ patchwork offensive line should be able to buy quarterback Cam Newton enough time to exploit a Falcons’ defense without two of its rising stars -- middle linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal.
Washington Redskins 27, Indianapolis Colts 20
Maybe Washington running back Adrian Peterson isn’t hovering near the “E” in his gas tank.
Houston Texans 24, Tennessee Titans 13
One way or another, Blaine Gabbert is taking snaps at quarterback for the Titans, and that has disaster written all over it.
Philadelphia Eagles 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
In the battle of “Philly Special” versus “FitzMagic,” give me the defending Super Bowl champions.
Kansas City Chiefs 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 23
It’s going to be exciting to watch Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes build a rapport with an offense loaded with weapons.
New York Jets 24, Miami Dolphins 19
The bad thing about the Jets potentially starting 2-0 is it will encourage more teams to tank once their season unravels.
Los Angeles Chargers 37, Buffalo Bills 9
The Chargers’ defensive front will wreak havoc against the junior varsity lineup Buffalo decided to field for this season.
New Orleans Saints 34, Cleveland Browns 17
The game might be closer if Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was not about to be cut or traded.
Detroit Lions 29, San Francisco 49ers 22
Lions rookie running back Kerryon Johnson may see more carries with last week’s starter, LeGarrette Blount, questionable to play.
Los Angeles Rams 38, Arizona Cardinals 6
Rams running back Todd Gurley II should easily gash the Cardinals defense for 100 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
New England Patriots 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
In a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, the Jaguars may struggle if their best offensive weapon, running back Leonard Fournette, isn’t healthy enough to go.
Denver Broncos 28, Oakland Raiders 17
If Raiders head coach Jon Gruden can’t get his team on the right page, then “Chucky” will be in for a nightmare season.
New York Giants 17, Dallas Cowboys 7
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should’ve snuck free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant a contract while they were out partying at the Beyonce concert.
Seattle Seahawks 24, Chicago Bears 23
Seahawks wide receiver Brandon Marshall could be in line for a huge game against one of his former teams.
Thursday Twitter pick: 0-2
Overall record: 8-8
Perfect picks: 0
Contact Shane Dunaway via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyHome_Shane.