The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams through the firs two weeks of the 2010 season. The Vikes will try to get on track this Sunday against one of the League’s perennial losers, the Detroit Lions. Wiseguys are adding Minnesota as one of their football picks to their betting portfolio.
According to our NFL lines page, Minnesota opened as 10 point home favorites. The line is currently scattered between 11 and 13 points, but many books are listing the game at 11 ½ points. The Lions are getting about 60% of public action, which means the wiseguys have been backing the Vikes. Following their lead seems like a good play this week as the Vikings are poised to break out of their funk in a big way.
Minnesota hasn’t been as bad as most people think. For one thing, they’ve played two good teams. There’s no shame in losing 14-9 at New Orleans on the night the defending champs raised their banner. The defense played well, holding the Saints to just over 300 total yards. Adrian Peterson ran the ball with energy, but Brett Favre just wasn’t in sync with his receivers, minus his favorite target Sidney Rice. The following week Minnesota lost a home game to the Miami Dolphins, 14-10. They outgained the ‘Fins 364-226, but 4 turnovers cost them the game. One Favre fumble was recovered in the endzone, which means the defense only gave up one score. Peterson ran effectively, but a questionable off-tackle call on 4th and goal was snuffed out by Miami. Why not give Peterson the ball and let him run north-south?
Even with an 0-2 record, the Vikes have a lot to build on. Peterson is still one of the elite runners in the League. Favre is still a Hall of Fame quarterback. The offensive line is good. They have a great tight end. The receiving corps is undeniably thin, but Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin have enough skill and speed to stretch a defense. The offense will only get better. On defense, the front 4 might be the best in the NFL. The linebackers are underrated. And while the secondary is the weakest element of the defense, they’ve played well so far, holding opponents to 167 yards per game. This is a good football team, and they’re hungry for a win.
Detroit, on the other hand, is not a good football team. They’ve been competitive in their first two games, though. They deserved the win in Chicago, but the letter of the NFL law cost them the game. They covered the spread against Philadelphia, too, but they shouldn’t have. The Lions were down 18 points with 6:00 minutes to play, but scored 2 garbage touchdowns to lose by a field goal.
The Lions don’t have the playmakers or the defense to compete against Minnesota. Matthew Stafford is still out with a shoulder injury, which means Shaun Hill will be the quarterback. Advantage, Vikings. Jahvid Best is a talented runner, but he’s still a rookie. The offensive line is questionable at best. Calvin Johnson is a great receiver, but with the personnel around him, teams should be able to significantly diminish his effectiveness. That leaves the defense, which has been abused. They’re giving up 436 yards a game, and 4.5 yards per carry. Playing Minnesota and Peterson on the road – that adds up to trouble.
I have a feeling Detroit is going to run into a buzz saw in Minneapolis this Sunday, and wiseguys seem to have the same feeling. The Vikes have the defense to shut down Best and force Hill into bad turnovers. The Lions rush defense is porous, and Adrian Peterson should have in the neighborhood of 150 yards. And Favre has too much pride to let this season get away. Look for Minnesota thump the Lions and head into their bye week with momentum.
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