NFL Betting Preview Week 15: Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams
Sunday, December 16, 2012, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Edward Jones Dome – St. Louis, Missouri
Opening Line: St. Louis -3 (+100)
Current Line: St. Louis -1 1/2 (-130)
Opening Total: 38 1/2
Current Total: 39
Opening Money Line: Rams -140 / Vikings +120
Current Money Line: Rams -140 / Vikings +120
The 7-6 Minnesota Vikings and 6-6-1 St. Louis Rams meet Sunday in St. Louis with both teams in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Currently, the 8-5 Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears hold down the two wild card spots in the NFC. The Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Redskins are a game behind, and the Rams are a game and a half behind.
The Rams have beaten the Vikings 7 of the last 10 times they have played but Minnesota won the last meeting 38-10 in St Louis in 2009. The teams have only played 4 times since 2001.
Minnesota is coached by Leslie Frazier. The Vikings won at home last week against Chicago 21-14 to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Vikings still have an outside shot at winning the NFC North but they would have to win out and hope Green Bay and Chicago lose at least 2 games in the last 3 weeks. The Bears and Packers play each other this week in Chicago. Green Bay is 9-4 this season, and will clinch the division with a win. Minnesota is 5-7-1 ATS and the total is 5-8 this season.
The Vikings are averaging 328.8 yards per game on offense, including 172.6 passing yards and 156.2 rushing yards. Minnesota is last in the league in passing, but third in rushing. The Vikings are being outscored 22-21.8 this season. Minnesota is -5 in turnovers this season. The Vikings have forced 31 sacks and allowed 28 this season. Minnesota is 66/177 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Minnesota is allowing 352.5 yards per game including 237.2 passing and 115.3 rushing yards. The Vikings have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Christian Ponder has completed 62.6% of his passes for 2,396 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 47 carries, 183 yards and a touchdown. He has been sacked 28 times this season.
Running back Adrian Peterson has 265 carries, 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns along with 38 catches for 211 yards. Barring injury, he will easily win the NFL rushing title. He needs 506 yards in the last 3 games in order to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing yards record of 2,105 yards. Only 6 players in NFL history have rushed for over 2,000 yards, and none since Chris Johnson in 2009. Peterson needs to average 133 yards per game to break 2,000 yards and 169 yards per game to break the all time mark. Peterson tore his ACL on Christmas Eve last year, and it is amazing he is rushing even better than he did before the injury. He is probable with an abdominal injury. Toby Gerhart will also get a few carries.
Leading receiver Percy Harvin is out for the season with an ankle injury. Harvin had over 1,300 receiving, rushing, and kick return yards. He had 3 receiving touchdowns, plus a rushing and kick return touchdown each. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 45 catches, 412 touchdowns and 8 touchdowns. Michael Jenkins has 34 catches, 360 yards and a touchdown. Devin Aromashodu, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, and Gerhart will also get a few catches but none of those players have more than 15 catches. Four Viking defensive players are listed as questionable, including 3 defensive backs.
St. Louis is coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have won 3 straight games to get back into the playoff race after a stretch where they went 0-4-1. The Rams won at Buffalo last week 15-12. St. Louis is 9-4 ATS and the total is 7-6 this season.
The Rams average 324.3 yards per game including 212.1 passing yards and 112.2 rushing yards. St. Louis is being outscored 22-18 this year. The Rams are -1 in turnovers. St. Louis has forced 39 sacks and allowed 31 this season. The Rams are 69/193 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, the Rams are giving up 336.1 yards per game, including 225.8 passing yards and 110.3 rushing yards. St. Louis has 4 defensive touchdowns this season.
Quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 59.7% of his passes for 2,877 yards with 15 touchd0wns and 10 interceptions, along with 32 carries for 113 yards with a touchdown. He has been sacked 31 times this season. Running back Steven Jackson has 214 carries, 836 yards with 3 touchdowns, along with 32 catches for 207 yards. Jackson is probable with a foot injury. Daryl Richardson has 88 carries for 461 yards, along with 19 catches for 124 yards. Receiver Danny Amendola has 51 catches, 576 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a foot injury after missing the Buffalo game. Chris Givens has 36 catches, 584 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Brandon Gibson has 40 catches, 537 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Lance Kendricks has 32 catches, 332 yards and 2 touchdowns. Austin Pettis has 21 catches, 177 yards and 2 touchdowns. Seven Rams’ defensive players are listed as questionable or out Sunday.
Minnesota is 5-0-1 ATS on turf, 3-7 after gaining less than 250 yards, 2-5-1 overall, and in NFC games, 2-5 after a cover, and after allowing 15 points or less, 4-11-1 after rushing for 150 yards or more, 2-7 after a straight up win, 3-12-1 in Week 15, 0-4 in road games. The over is 6-1 in this series recently, and the last five in St. Louis have gone over.
St. Louis is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win and after rushing for less than 90 yards, 6-0-1 at home against teams with losing road records, 6-1 against teams with winning home records, 5-1 in NFC games, 4-1 overall, 6-2-1 on turf, and 2-8-1 in Week 15. The favorite has covered the last six times in this series, and the home team is 5-2 ATS. The Rams are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against the Vikings, including 4-1 in St. Louis.
Minnesota is 1-5 on the road this season with the only win coming at Detroit. The Vikings will just try to pound the ball with Adrian Peterson as they really have no passing game, especially without Harvin. The Rams aren’t exactly explosive on offense either. This could be a low scoring game that will likely be decided by a late turnover. This is almost an elimination game, as the loser will face a very difficult, if not impossible, climb to the playoffs. I think the Rams win a close game at home.
Our best NFL picks will help you crush the bookmakers. Make it a truly happy holiday season with our handicappers.