New York Giants (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-7 SU, 4-8 ATS), Week 14 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 12, 2010, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn. TV: FOXby Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: NYG OFF/MIN OFF
Over/Under Total: OFF
The New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings are on opposite sides of the playoff picture. The Giants, at 8-4, are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The Vikings, at 5-7, are barely hanging on to any hopes of a spot in the playoffs. A road game in the NFL is always tough, especially against a talented team like the Vikings, so this game won’t be easy at all for the Giants. That is assuming Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is healthy enough to play on Sunday. He sprained his throwing shoulder and had to leave the game last Sunday, although Tavaris Jackson filled in and led the Vikings to a 38-14 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Favre threw just one pass, and it was an interception, before leaving the game with the shoulder injury. Jackson came in and went 15-for-22 passing for 187 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 16 carries for 107 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings had 210 rushing yards as a team. Wide receiver Sidney Rice, playing in his third game of the season after sitting out the first half of the season with an injury, had five receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings turned the ball over four times and forced five turnovers, four of which were fumble recoveries.
The Vikings, who won 17-13 at Washington the week before, have now won two games in a row and all of a sudden have some confidence and momentum. Their playoff chances are very slim, but winning their last four games is the only possible way the Vikings would even have a remote chance at sneaking into the playoffs, so they can’t afford to lose this game to the Giants if they want to prolong their season.
After starting the season 6-2, the Giants lost two games in a row to the Cowboys and Eagles and fell out of first place. But since then, they have won two games in a row at home over the Jaguars and Redskins to get back into a tie for first place with the Eagles at 8-4.
In their 31-7 win over the Redskins on Sunday, the Giants dominated in the running game with 197 yards. Brandon Jacobs ran for 103 yards and Ahmad Bradshaw had 97 yards. Both running backs had two touchdowns. Giants QB Eli Manning didn’t have a great game, as he was 15-for-25 passing for 161 yards and an interception. With wide receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks both out with injuries, it wasn’t Mario Manningham who stepped up as the No. 1 receiving option. Instead, it was Derek Hagan who led them with seven receptions for 65 yards.
There’s a chance that Nicks and Smith could return on Sunday. Favre is questionable but chances are that he will play.
The key for the Giants will be to stop Peterson and the Vikings running game. If they can do that, it will limit the effectiveness of the play action. If the running game works for the Vikings, Favre will be able to throw play action passes to Rice in man coverage, which could burn the Giants secondary. The key for the Vikings will be the same. They need to get Peterson going to score some points.
The Giants are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 road games. They are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win. The Vikings are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games but 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall. The Vikings are 0-5 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with a winning record.
The Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five games at Minnesota. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these teams and the road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Vikings appear to have renewed interest/energy now that Childress has been fired. There was no betting line at time of print, but I am confident that Minnesota will win this game convincingly and get the money here.