Sunday Night Football should be a great one this week. Featured in this matchup are two division leaders in the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. For the Saints, after dropping the first game of the season in a wild 48-40 shootout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have rattled off five victories in a row and are playing like a team expecting to make a postseason run.
For the Vikings, there have been some major inconsistencies. They lost in a shocker, 27-6 to the Buffalo Bills in week 3, but have also beaten the likes of the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. In a NFC North division, where all four teams are essentially within a game of one another, the Vikings will hope to end the Saints’ winning streak. We will find out on Sunday when the Saints (5-1) travel to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the Vikings (4-2-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 pm ET.
The point spread comes in with the New Orleans Saints as 1.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under on total points scored is 53.5.
Saints Look To Keep Rolling
The Saints have been playing some great football and it all starts with the quarterback. On the season, Drew Brees is 170 of 220 for a 77.27 passing percentage, with 13 touchdowns and an amazing 0 interceptions thus far. His leading receivers have been Michael Thomas (53 catches, 588 yards, 4 touchdowns), Benjamin Watson (23 catches, 230 yards, 1 touchdown) and running back Alvin Kamara (40 catches, 362 yards, 1 touchdown). Speaking of Kamara, he also leads the team with 363 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on 79 carries.
The Saints offense has become even a little more dangerous given the return of Mark Ingram, giving Sean Payton a two-headed monster in the backfield.
Offensively, they rank 6th in total yards (409.8 per game) and 2nd in points scored per game (34). The problem, though, on the defensive side, the Saints rank 17th in opponents total yardage (366 per game) and 26th in points allowed (27.2 points per game). The Saints defensive leaders are Demario Davis (33 tackles), Cameron Jordan (5 sacks) and Marcus Williams and Justin Hardee (1 interception each).
Minnesota Looking To Prove They Can Beat The Tough Teams
While the Vikings sit at first in their division, one knock on them has been that they have only beaten mostly mediocre teams (49ers, Cardinals, and Jets). Beating the Saints Monday would go a long way to silence those critics. To help them do so, they will turn to quarterback Kirk Cousins. On the season, he is 210 for 300 for 2,162 yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His leading receivers this year have been Adam Thielen (67 catches, 822 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Stefon Diggs (48 catches, 468 yards, 3 touchdowns).
the ground, Dalvin Cook has struggled to stay healthy, meaning Latavius Murray has gotten the bulk of the work. Thus far he has 69 carries for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Minnesota ranks at 14th in points per game (25.3) and 13th in yards per game (380.4). Their defense has certainly been better than the Saints, though, as they rank 11thin opponents’ yards per game (345.9) and 14th in points allowed per game (23.6). Their defensive stat leaders are Harrison Smith (29 tackles and 2 interceptions), Danielle Hunter (8 sacks).
Saints Win On The Road
With only a 1.5 point spread, it essentially is a pick’em game. The Saints have some extra motivation in this one. After the Minnesota Vikings beat them after a last-second missed the tackle in last year’s divisional playoff game, the Saints probably had this matchup circled on their calendar. The Vikings defense is not as good as it was then, but their offense is better. For the Saints, with the way they are playing, they are probably better than they were at that time last year. As a result, I am taking Brees and the Saints to win this one and cover the spread. It should be an exciting game with lots of points (don’t be afraid to bet the over), but I think ultimately the Saints walk away victorious.