Sunday Night Football flexed its third-straight game for next weekend, and for that, we thank them! Not only will the Minnesota Vikings be battling for playoff positioning and the New York Giants for their playoff lives, but it will be a showcase of two of the league’s best offensive players.
If the NFL gave out an MVP award for non-quarterbacks, Adrian Peterson and Odell Beckham Jr. would be the top contenders. Without Peterson, the Vikings might have the worst offense in the league. His 1,457 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns account for almost 35-percent of the Vikings’ total yardage and majors scored this season.
The Giants defense was well on its way to getting shredded by Lamar Miller on Monday night, before the Dolphins inexplicably stopped handing him the ball. The Vikings have shown a far greater commitment to getting AP his carries, so he’ll have ample opportunity for a big game on the big stage.
Other than Miami’s incompetence, the reason New York was able to win on Monday was the same reason they’ve been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season; Odell Beckham is insane! The second-year phenom posted his sixth-straight 100-yard game with a 166-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece. Watching the one-man highlight reel battle against a top-ten pass defense will be worth the price of admission.
The Vikings used to rank even higher against the pass, but injuries along the defensive side of the ball have cost them, and they’ve been picked apart in the last two weeks by Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer. As long as good Eli Manning shows up, the Giants offense should find some success, even without much of a run game to aid them.
Beckham isn’t the only reason the Giants have made for such interesting television this year. Their inability to hang on to a fourth-quarter lead, while frustrating for the New York faithful, has been undeniably entertaining. Against the Vikings, however, that may not prove to be a problem. Minnesota has only came back from a fourth-quarter deficit once this season and they laid a huge egg in that spot last Thursday, fumbling the ball before Blair Walsh could attempt a game-tying field goal in a 23-20 loss to Arizona.
The Vikings and Giants have both been good betting this year: Minnesota is 10-3 ATS and New York is 7-5-1. Right now, the Vikings should be favorites in this one, but this weekend’s games have a chance to greatly influence this line, especially if the Giants can knock off the previously undefeated Panthers.
The Vikings are trending downward, but they have a great matchup here. They should be the play, as long as that line doesn’t go past six. The Giants are 3-0 ATS as underdogs of 6.5 points or more this year.
Straight-up pick: Vikings.
(Photo Credit: Joe Bielawa [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)