The Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1) host the Miami Dolphins (7-6) this weekend in an inter-conference battle between two teams desperately fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 16th at U.S. Bank Stadium and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Vikings listed as a 8-point home favorite. That line has moved by a full point after early betting, as Minnesota is currently available at -7. The total for this matchup is 44.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 15 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Vikings vs Dolphins Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Miami won their second straight game last weekend in miraculous fashion, pulling off one of the greatest last-second plays in the history of the NFL. Trailing New England 33-28 with basically no time left on the clock, the Dolphins performed a series of laterals before Kenyan Drake got the ball and eluded several Patriots defenders en route to a game-winning touchdown. They certainly haven’t had much time to sit back and enjoy the “Miami Miracle”, as the victory has kept them right in the thick of the AFC wildcard race. QB Ryan Tannehill played will in Week 14, passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 attempts. WR Kenny Stills also had a big game, racking up eight catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. Stills was also involved in the game-winning play, as he received the inital pass from Tannehill before lateraling the ball to DeVante Parker. Overall, Miami is currently averaging 21.4 points per game (22nd overall) on 310.5 yards of total offense.
The Dolphins haven’t played well on the other side of the ball through their first thirteen games, allowing opponents to score 25.6 points per game (25th overall) on 401.1 yards of total offense. They have been especially bad against the run, giving up an alarming 139.5 yards per game on the ground (29th overall).
Minnesota lost their second straight game and dropped back to .500 on the season in Week 14, falling 21-7 on the road to Seattle. The Vikings were anemic on offense yet again, as they have now scored just 17 points over their last two games. The recent struggles ended up costing offensive coordinator John DeFillippo his job, as he was fired earlier this week. QB Kirk Cousins didn’t play well against a struggling Seahawks secondary, throwing for just 208 yards and a single touchdown. The dynamic receiving duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs struggled as well, as they combined for only 136 yards and failed to find the end zone. It will be interesting to see if they can turn things around on Sunday against a below-average Dolphins defense. As a whole, Minnesota is currently averaging 21.7 points per game (20th overall) on 354.4 yards of total offense.
The Vikings have been much better on defense for much of the year, giving up an average of 22.4 points per game (11th overall) on 323.6 yards per game of total offense. They are really doing a nice job against the pass, holding opponents to only 215.6 yards per game through the air (5th overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Miami +7
I know it’s important not to overreact to the Dolphins upsetting New England last weekend, but I definitely think they offer some decent value in this particular spot. Minnesota has really struggled as of late, losing two straight and three out of their last four. Although I certainly am not expecting Miami to pull off a second straight upset, I do think that they can certainly stay within striking distance for four quarters. Tannehill has looked good since returning from injury while Kenny Stills had a breakout performance last weekend after voicing some complaints with his role in the offense in early December.
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The Dolphins are a solid 8-5 ATS through their first thirteen games of the season. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Minnesota is only 5-9-2 ATS over their last 16 games. They are also only 2-4 straight up in their last six games overall.
I think this one might be a little bit higher scoring than most people are expecting, as Kirk Cousins should have a rebound performance after a tough couple of weeks that culminated in the firing of his offensive coordinator. Thielen and Diggs are way too good to be slowed down by a sup-par Miami defense that just got torched by New England through the air, but Miami should be able to counter nicely with a rejuvenated Tannehill. I think the Vikings will win this one by between 3 and 6 points, so I’m taking the free touchdown and rolling with the road underdog – give me the Dolphins.