Minnesota Vikings (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date and Time: Sunday, September 21, 2014, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
TV: FOX, DirecTV - 712
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Minn. +9.5/N.O. -9.5
Over/Under Total: 51
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Two NFC teams that right now are the talk of the National Football League, for all the wrong reasons, will clash in an early game Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings travel to play the New Orleans Saints in their home opener in the Superdome on Fox.
The Vikings are not only the hottest topic on the sports-radio airwaves, but on the news channels across the dial as well, while everybody and their brother debate whether or not running back Adrian Peterson should be playing or not following his indictment for neglect on his son. The A.P. saga has totally overshadowed the Vikings strong opener at St. Louis, and last weeks 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots in the home opener has allowed the media to put almost the entire focus on the Vikings off the field issues all day, everyday, and completely off the team and their exploits.
It sounds kind of demented, but I bet there are many inside the Saints organization right now that are actually happy to be playing the Vikings this week and the media sideshow they will bring to the Superdome come Sunday. With the focus on the Peterson saga, maybe people around the league and Saints fans in general will somehow forget how bad the Saints have played so far this season.
New Orleans became the first victim of the Cleveland Browns last week, giving up a game-winning 29-yard field goal with three second remaining to drop a 26-24 heartbreaker. After coughing up a big lead in their opener at Atlanta, the Saints are hoping to somehow find the homefield magic inside the Superdome in what will be an eagerly anticipated opener on Sunday.
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Oddsmakers are also anticipating a rebound for the Saints in a rather big way, setting the opening point spread for this contest with New Orleans as large 9.5-point favorites. After finally setting an opening number late Monday (following the news that Peterson was reinstated), the spread has gone down at a few offshore sportsbooks on the Web to minus -9, while a few others have gone up to -10 (5Dimes), so it looks like action is coming in on both sides in the early going. The over/under total opened at 51 and has yet to move in early action.
The Saints have nobody to blame for their 0-2 start but themselves. While they did allow Matt Ryan to throw for 445 yards in the opener, the Saints defense hasnt been terrible or costing them games. And the offense has moved the ball very well as youd expect, but two turnovers in each game have been enough to lose the turnover battle in both games and with the other unit still struggling the end result has been two really disappointing road losses for the NFC South hopefuls.
Without Peterson in the backfield last week, the Vikings didnt stand much of a chance. The backups only had 19 carries for 54 yards, and Matt Cassel was sacked six times and threw 4 interceptions in the Vikings lopsided loss. With A.P. back this week it should open up the offense more no doubt, but stopping the Saints from taking out all of their offensive frustration on the Vikings defense is what should be keeping head coach Mike Zimmer up at night.
Historically, the Saints have won three straight against the Vikings including the last meeting in 2011 (42-20 in Minnesota) and the one that the Vikings just cant seem to forget, the NFC Championship game in 2010 (a 31-28 win in OT).
But Vikings fans should be happy to note that they are 3-1 ATS in their last four visits to the Superdome, and that the defense usually takes the day off when these two team meet because the over is 6-1 in the last 7 overall meetings and 4-1 in the Superdome.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: You almost have to wait the rest of the week to see how this game and the point spread will turn. Peterson playing will make a huge difference, but will he still be playing come Sunday if the Vikings bow to the pressure? Too many questions and too many other games on the board with better value make this one a no play for me this week.