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ABOUT THE PACKERS (11-5): Green Bay did not have the same motivation as Minnesota last week, with the Packers' postseason spot already assured. They could have earned a first-round bye with a victory, but the “win or go home” mentality that will be there this week was not on display in Minneapolis. Rodgers is working with a battered receiving corps with Randall Cobb (ankle) questionable and Jordy Nelson (hamstring) limited. Greg Jennings caught a pair of touchdown passes last week in his best game of the season and could get a lot more attention from the Minnesota secondary on Saturday. Stopping Peterson will be the No. 1 goal for the defense. The MVP candidate shredded Green Bay for 409 yards in two meetings this season.
Texans' defense: J.J. Watt spearheads the Houston defense, which was dominant for the early part of the season but slipped to seventh in the NFL with its lackluster finish. Watt, who returned a Dalton interception for a TD in last year's playoffs, finished the season with a league-high 20.5 sacks and seems to be a lock for Defensive Player of the Year. The Texans, however, struggled on both sides of the field down the stretch and have not seemed to recover from a 42-14 thrashing at New England in Week 14. Houston allowed 110 points in its last four games.
Bengals' defense: Cincinnati finished sixth in total defense and has not allowed more than 20 points in its last eight games. The key has been its standard four-man rush, which has sacked or put pressure on the quarterback 26.5 percent of the time over the past eight contests, second only to Denver in efficiency. Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson have combined for 24 sacks on the season for this improving unit.
Dalton was sacked 17 times in three games from Weeks 14-16 and twice in two quarters in Week 17 before resting in the second half. The Texans tied for fifth in the NFL with 44 sacks this season and sacked Dalton four times last season in the playoffs at Reliant Stadium, leading to three interceptions in their 31-10 rout.
Schaub’s 1st playoff start: In his nine-year NFL career, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has thrown for 21,944 yards and 120 touchdowns. He has three 4,000-yard seasons. He has won 44 regular-season games. This will be his first time to start in the playoffs.
Line movement: The Packers opened -7.5 and were bet up to -8 on New Year's Day, but by Wednesday, Vikings money had pushed the number back down to -7.5. The total opened 46 and has been bet up to 46.5.
* Vikings are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
* Packers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following a loss.
* Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings in Green Bay.
* Over is 4-0 in Packers’ last four playoff home games.