Indianapolis Colts vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Pick

Indianapolis Colts (0-1) -2, 43 at Minnesota Vikings (0-1), 1 pm Eastern Sunday, CBS
by Zman of Predictem.com

A couple of NFL playoff hopefuls who both lost their season openers meet when the Indianapolis Colts visit the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome.

NFL bookmakers are listing Indy as two-point road favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 43 .

The Colts, the favorites to win the AFC South Division for the sixth straight season this year, opened their new stadium with a dud, losing Sunday night to Chicago 29-13 as nine-point home chalk. The game also stayed under its total of 43 by a single point.

Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning missed the entire pre-season, and it showed Sunday night. Manning went 30/49/257 and a TD passing, but just missed on what would have been at least a couple of big plays. And the veteran QB, renowned for his adeptness at running the Colts’ intricate offense, had to waste several time-outs to avoid having the play clock run out.

Indy got outrushed by the Bears 183-53, and let the Chicago defense score nine points on a fumble return and a safety.

Minnesota opened its season with a 24-19 loss at Green Bay Monday night. The Vikings were unable to cover the spread as two-point road underdogs, and the game snuck over its total of 37 despite a 10-3 score at the half.

The Vikings outrushed the Packers Monday night 187-139, and held a 32-28 time-of-possession advantage. But a few minutes after pulling to within 10-6 with a field goal early in the 3rd-quarter, Minnesota gave up a punt return for a touchdown, and Green Bay held on from there.

Minnesota QB Tarvaris Jackson again showed Monday night that while he’s a great athlete, and a big-play threat, he still lacks the accuracy needed to keep drives alive. Jackson went 16/35/178 passing Monday night, with a TD and a costly INT, and ran for 65 yards, but missed several open receivers, and at key times.

These two teams last met four years ago, with the Colts coming out with a 31-28 win in Indy.

On the injury front, Colts RB Joseph Addai is listed on early reports as
questionable and probable for Sunday’s game after leaving Sunday night’s
loss to Chicago after getting hit in the head. TE Dallas Clark also left
Sunday’s game, with a knee injury, and is listed as day-to-day (aren’t we
all?) and C Jeff Saturday is expected to be out about six weeks with his
own knee injury, suffered in Indy’s final exhibition game.

Last year, Indianapolis went 9-7 against the spread, and 4-4 ATS as favorites on the road. Minnesota, meanwhile, went 7-7-2 vs. the numbers last year, and 1-1 against the spread when dogged at home.

Also, the totals went 7-9 in Colts games last season, which averaged 45 total points per, while the O/Us went 8-7-1 in Vikings games, which averaged 42 points.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Indianapolis 6th in the league at 24.0, Minnesota 16th at 20.9. Sagarin’s current NFL home-field advantage figure is 3.2.

Zman’s Pick: The Vikes didn’t look half bad last week at Green Bay, a tough place to play. The Colts looked horrible at home vs. a decent to good Bears team. Even without that tidbit of info, we’d still like the Vikings at home to win vs. Indy. Take the point and look for the Vikings to win straight up.