Vikings v Saints – Stats, Odds, Insights, & Predictions

NFL Game Of The Week: Vikings v Saints – Stats, Odds, Insights, & Predictions

October 26, 2018

By Lindsay
NFL Game Of The Week: Vikings v Saints – Stats, Odds, Insights, & Predictions

This week’s NFL game of the week is a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Round playoff between the Vikings and Saints. 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-1) $1.96 at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-2-1) $1.88

AU: Monday, Oct. 29, 11:20am ET. U.S. Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, MN (66,665)

U.S.: Sunday, Oct. 28, 7:20pm CST.

The New Orleans Saints will walk into the Vikings’ fortress with the sting of defeat fresh in their hearts. In the most memorable single play of last season, the Saints were up 24-23 against the Vikings in Minnesota, 10 seconds away from a ticket to the NFC Championship game. The Vikings have the ball 60 yards away from a TD – about 30 yards from field goal position – they have one play left to gain the yards and get out of bounds to stop the clock.

The then Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum gets the ball, surveys the field and finds Stefon Diggs on a high throw. With Diggs’ back turned to the defence as he catches the ball in the air, he’s an easy tackle for Saints Safety Marcus Williams – and making the tackle ends the game. Instead, Williams misses a helpless Diggs completely. Diggs turns and runs to victory.

A tough way to end the season for the Saints, and a tough memory they will carry on their shoulders into our game of the week. If the sequel to such a moment isn’t enough in itself, this game has a number of additional storylines backing it up.

Take the quarterback matchup – Brees vs Cousins – both in the running for MVP. Brees’ accomplishments this season are well-known (he broke the all-time career passing yards record), but Kirk Cousins has quietly thrown 13 touchdowns, only 3 interceptions, over 2,000 yards and 70% completion. Cousins’ move to the Vikings this off-season was well-publicised, inking a lucrative deal when many pundits weren’t sure if he was the real deal. If Cousins hasn’t already proven his doubters wrong – he could put the argument to bed with a big performance Sunday.

Cousins’ WR1, Adam Thielen, has been even more impressive. The former undrafted free agent is on-pace to have one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history. If he gains 100 receiving yards in this game, he will break the record for most consecutive 100+ yard receiving games by a player.

History-defining storylines aside, the key to this matchup is which offensive unit can establish the running game. Both teams’ run defences are top 5 in the league, so it won’t be easy. The Saints have a two-headed monster in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram (a monster that will do its damage catching passes as well).

The Vikings, who struggled to get yards on the ground, have found some balance through the emergence of Latavius Murray. If Murray can overcome the league’s best rushing defence, Cousins will exploit the leaky Saints’ secondary. On the other hand, if the Saints’ athletic line-backers can nullify Murray, the game is theirs.

This game is also about momentum. Both sides have it – and it’s a fleeting commodity in sport. And when two forces in great form meet, stats don’t matter. Anything can happen.

2018 Regular Season New Orleans Saints Minnesota Vikings
Record 5-1 4-2-1
Divisional Standings 1st (NFC South) 1st (NFC North)
Total Offence Yds/G (Rank) 409.8 (6) 380.4 (13)
Rushing Offence 108.3 (16) 87.4 (27)
Passing Offence 301.5 (6) 293.0 (8)
Total Defence Yds/G (Rank) 366.0 (17) 345.9 (11)
Rushing Defence 72.3 (1) 89.7 (5)
Passing Defence 293.7 (28) 256.1 (16)
Points Scored/Game 34 (2) 25.3 (14)
Points Allowed/Game 27.2 (27) 23.6 (14)
Time of Possession/Game 28:30 (29) 30:10 (18)
Sacks Allowed 9 (3) 19 (20)
Sacks Made/Game 21 (4T) 13 (27T)
Total TDs Scored 24 (4) 20 (11T)
Penalties Against/Game 6.3 (9T) 6.3 (9T)
Turnover Differential -1 (18T) +3 (8T)

Our Tip 

This is sure to be a close game, so don’t overthink it. The home team is good value for an outright win.

Vikings @ $1.88

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