The Minnesota Vikings will begin their playoff journey when they host the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. The game is scheduled for 4:40 EST on Sunday, January 14 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The game will be broadcast on Fox. Oddsmakers view the Vikings as 4-point favorites with an over/under of 45 points.
Vikings vs Saints NFL Betting Odds & Vegas Game Preview
The Saints advanced to the Divisional Round after surviving their Wild Card game against the Panthers 31-26. The New Orleans rushing attack was held in check, but Drew Brees responded accordingly by throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, the Saints were slowed in the 2nd half and needed their defense to come up with a stop late in the game to hold off the Panthers.
Meanwhile, the Vikings begin their playoff journey needing just two wins to become the first team to ever play the Super Bowl on their home field. Minnesota finished the season 13-3, winning 11 of their last 12 games. Despite being the no. 2 seed, many view them as the team to beat in the NFC.
These two teams met in Minnesota back in Week 1, with the Vikings winning 29-19. Of course, a lot has changed since that game. For the Vikings, Case Keenum has taken over at quarterback for Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook has been lost for the season. Meanwhile, it’s well established that the Saints started the season slowly. More importantly, their backfield tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara had yet to emerge.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Saints +4
This is a tough game to call, but I think there’s value in taking the underdog Saints. I think New Orleans is just as capable of going to the Super Bowl as Minnesota. Also, as impressive as the Vikings have been this season, I’m not sure they’re built for the playoffs as much as the Saints. Most importantly, I’m not convinced either team will win this game by more than a field goal. That leads me to lean toward the Saints.
Obviously, the Vikings are led by their defense, which is the best in the NFL. They’ve been particularly good at home this season. However, the Saints are the best offensive team still alive in the NFC. The New Orleans offense is also much improved from when they faced the Vikings in Week 1.
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Aside from being one of the top scoring teams in the league, the Saints are top-5 in both passing and rushing yards. Few teams the Vikings have faced this season have the kind of balance the New Orleans offense has. The Panthers chose to shut down the run but were hurt by the passing game. The Vikings may need to make a similar choice.
Of course, I’m not expecting the Saints to march up and down against the Minnesota defense all day. However, the Saints have too good of a quarterback and too many playmakers to be kept under wraps for 60 minutes. The New Orleans offense will make some plays and put points on the board, which is why I don’t think the Vikings will be able to create much separation and win by a comfortable margin.
This will put pressure on Minnesota’s offense, knowing that defense alone won’t win this game. The Vikings are also quite balanced offensively but much less explosive than the Saints. The New Orleans defense has also been a little underrated all season despite having to endure several injuries. Again, that points to the Vikings not being able to build a comfortable lead.
To be honest, this game feels like it should be a PK. My only concern in leaning toward New Orleans is that the Saints have lost their last three road games. However, I believe the Saints are the more balanced team and have the playmakers to do damage against the Minnesota defense. With New Orleans being 4-point underdogs, I feel good about leaning toward the Saints in this game.