Minnesota at New Orleans Pick 12/25/20
Minnesota Vikings (6-8 SU, 6-8 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-4 SU, 7-6-1 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Friday, December 25, 2020 at 4:30PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: Fox/NFL Network
Point Spread: MIN +7/NO -7 (BetOnline - AWESOME live betting platform! 35% Crypto reloads!)
Over/Under Total: 52
The Minnesota Vikings come to the Superdome for a Week 16 NFC matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Neither team had a pleasant time of it last week, each absorbing losses. For the Saints, it was an understandable loss, falling to the red-hot defending champion Chiefs, 32-29. At 10-4, there is still a lot on the table playoff placement-wise, and they look to get back on the right track this week. The Vikings fell, 33-27, to the Bears at home on Sunday, falling to 6-8 and likely ending their run for a playoff spot. Can they give the Saints a sweat on Sunday, or will the Saints pounce?
Expecting a Better Saints Squad This Week
There were some bad signs on Sunday, and it didn’t help that they took some knocks on the line of scrimmage, with a few guys leaving the game. In Drew Brees’ return to action since a rib injury, he was uneven, despite a nice late surge, going 15-for-34 with a pick. I would expect him to be better this week after shaking the rust off on Sunday. And even with a lot of things not really clicking team-wide, they still gave the Chiefs a good game, coming up only a few points short.
Some may notice that since the Saints rejoined the ranks of contenders a few years ago, they respond pretty well to urgent situations. After a 10-2 start with the lead for the top-seed in the conference, the Saints have now dropped two in a row, having lost to the Eagles the previous week. If they had just continued winning, maybe the Vikes could sneak in here as an overlooked dog, but that won’t be the case this week. The Saints should be eager to atone for losing two in a row as they try to avoid a late-stage slide that could send their whole season off the rails.
Vikes Running Out of Steam?
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Vikings righted the ship to some degree with six wins in eight games. But with back-to-back losses, their playoff chances have been reduced to almost nil. Going into Tampa the previous week was maybe too much to ask, but for them to come up short at home to a Bears team they had already beaten on the road and never look the part of the winner for the whole game was upsetting.
Sometimes, when a team makes a run and then just sort of peters out, they can tumble far. Not that this will now happen with the Vikings in the final two games of the season, but this campaign has been a draining one, to say the least. They have a do-everything back in Dalvin Cook, plus a loaded pass-catching corps that can do a lot of damage, along with a QB who can be prolific. But Cousins has been off-the-mark this season, not impressive in timely situations, and not taking the best care of the ball. Working behind a subpar line has also come with bad consequences and thrown off the continuity of an offense that should be a lot more foolproof than it is.
It also seems like the Vikings’ defense is getting worse as the season goes on. With an offense that often sputters, the Vikings’ defense of a few seasons ago could have helped absorb that better. But the fact that they’re solidly below-average across all areas makes them a burden that’s been too heavy for this team to carry. Against a New Orleans offense looking to right the ship, this group could be up against it. They’re bad against the run. They’re bad against the pass. They don’t make an impact and struggle to execute big plays. And when you need a clutch play that can help you cover the spread, don’t hold your breath waiting for this side of the ball to deliver.
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Daylight for the Vikes
It seems like just as it was coming into plain view how good the Saints’ defense is, they started receding. In the last two weeks, we see a team that has been imminently exploitable against the run, with the Chiefs and Eagles really pounding them on occasion the last two weeks. And those teams aren’t necessarily powerhouses on the ground. With Cook in fine form, this looms as a potential matchup problem for the Saints. Then again, Minnesota’s whole offense always looks good on paper—at least before the game.
Beyond that is just the fact that the Saints may have peaked. They have a 41-year old quarterback who has been battered more of late and showing the effects. The New Orleans formula for success has gone a bit flat. Not having Michael Thomas again takes some effervescence out of this offense, and now they’re a little banged-up along their offensive line. It’s like part of you wants to defer to the Saints’ urgency, combined with the sliding form of the Vikings. But then the Saints haven’t really been passing the eye-test lately, have they?
Lay the Points on the Home Favorite
The Vikings are dangerous and sometimes more appealing in the role of underdog, as opposed to the home-favorites they were last week. I just see the Saints being in a little better shape this week. Last week, they were coming off three straight road games with Brees just getting back into the fold. Nice and dug in at home now with a lot on the line; I see Brees and Company being too much for Minnesota on Friday. I’ll take the Saints.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the New Orleans Saints minus 7 points. Bet your Week 16 NFL picks FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie Sportsbook! (Must use bonus code PREDICT100 to get the bonus credited!)
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