The football gods hate the Vikings. Always have, always will. The latest punishment from the football gods comes in the form of Patrick Mahomes, with those in power deciding to put the superstar quarterback's kneecap back in place just in time to play the Vikings on Nov. 3.
Naturally, Mahomes will not play when the Packers face the Chiefs on Sunday night. It's no guarantee that he's ready for the Vikings next week, but we all know he'll be back just in time to torture Vikings fans (and Xavier Rhodes).
Green Bay has a great chance to improve to 7-1 against the Mahomes-less Chiefs, keeping them one game ahead of the 6-2 Vikings as the calendar turns to November. If they lose, things are knotted up in the NFC North, but let's assume the Cheeseheads win to enter November with a one-game lead in the division.
FiveThirtyEight's methodology predicts the Packers finish 12-4 and the Vikings 11-5. It gives Green Bay a 61% chance to win the NFC North compared to 33% for Minnesota.
Three more losses on Minnesota's schedule?
It definitely isn't an easy remaining schedule, with back-to-back road games against the Chiefs and Cowboys, a trip to Seattle against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, and three tough division games against the Lions, Packers and Bears.
Green Bay gets the Mahomes-less Chiefs, the struggling Chargers (2-5), and a bye between tough games against the 49ers (6-0) and Panthers (4-2). Then they get a couple of cake walks against the Giants and Washington.
According to Tankathon, the Vikings have one of the 10th most difficult remaining schedule, while the Packers have the 17th hardest. But that doesn't factor Mahomes being out, so Green Bay's schedule is actually easier than meets the eye.
Plus, the Packers already have a head-to-head win over the Vikings. That's why The Week 16 border battle at U.S. Bank Stadium is probably a must-win game for the Vikings if they hope to win the division.
Two months of football remain and anything could happen. An injury to Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins or Aaron Rodgers could derail either team, but so long as the key cogs remain healthy, both teams are destined for double-digit win totals with the division race coming to the wire.
As of now, Green Bay has the edge. Vikings fans, meanwhile, can hope Matt Moore can do his best Mahomes personation at Lambeau Field on Sunday night.