Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans
Sunday, December 23, 2012, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas
Opening Line: Houston -7 (-115)
Current Line: Houston -9 (+110)
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Texans -375 / Vikings +315
Current Money Line: Texans -380 / Vikings +330
The 12-2 Houston Texans have already clinched the AFC South title and can clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win Sunday over the 8-6 Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are tied with 4 other teams at 8-6, the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. One of the Redskins, Cowboys or Giants will win the NFC East, so the other four teams are fighting for likely one playoff spot. Minnesota currently holds the sixth spot, but if the Giants win out they will jump ahead of Minnesota regardless of what the Vikings do.
Minnesota has won 2 straight games under coach Leslie Frazier, including a 36-22 victory on the road at the St. Louis Rams last week. Minnesota is 6-7-1 ATS and the total is 6-8 this season.
Houston is coached by Gary Kubiak. The Texans are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the league. Houston has won 7 of their last 8 games including 29-17 last week at home against the Indianapolis Colts to clinch the division title. Houston is 9-5 ATS and the total is 7-7 this season.
This is only the third meeting between the Vikings and Texans. Minnesota has won both meetings including 28-21 in 2008 in Minneapolis.
The Vikings are averaging 328.3 yards per game on offense, including 168.1 passing yards and 160.2 rushing yards. Minnesota is last in the league in passing, but fourth in rushing. The Vikings are outscoring teams 22.8-22 this season. Minnesota is -3 in turnovers this season. The Vikings have forced 35 sacks and allowed 30 this season. Minnesota is 69/189 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Minnesota is allowing 358.2 yards per game including 244.9 passing and 113.3 rushing yards. The Vikings have 5 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Christian Ponder has completed 63.1% of his passes for 2,527 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 51 carries, 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 30 times this season.
Running back Adrian Peterson has 289 carries, 1,812 yards and 11 touchdowns along with 38 catches for 211 yards. Barring injury, he will easily win the NFL rushing title. He needs 294 yards in the last 2 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 94 yards per game to break 2,000 yards and 147 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 groin 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 48 catches, 434 touchdowns and 8 touchdowns. Michael Jenkins has 35 catches, 371 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 19 catches. Five Viking defensive players are listed as questionable, including 3 defensive backs.
Houston is averaging 386.8 yards per game on offense, including 244.8 passing yards and 142 rushing yards. The Texans are outscoring teams 28-20 this season. Houston is in the top 11 in all offensive categories, including #3 in scoring. The Texans are +15 in turnovers. Houston has forced 42 sacks and allowed 20 this season. The Texans are 81/206 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Houston is allowing 325.9 yards per game, including 232.4 passing and 93.4 rushing yards. The Texans are in the top 7 in total defense, against the rush, and in points allowed. Houston has 5 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has completed 64.7% of his passes for 3,555 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 20 times this season. Running back Arian Foster has 325 carries, 1,313 yards with 14 touchdowns, along with 36 catches, 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Justin Forsett and Ben Tate will also get some carries.
Receiver Andre Johnson has 93 carries, 1,360 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Owen Daniels has 56 catches, 662 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kevin Walter has 37 catches, 455 yards and 2 touchdowns. James Casey has 31 catches, 313 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Garrett Graham has 25 catches, 243 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eleven defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Minnesota is 5-11-1 ATS after rushing for over 150 yards, 2-5-1 in road games against teams with winning home records, 5-13 after a straight up win, 5-13-3 against teams with winning records, 4-13 after allowing 90 rushing yards or less, 1-4 after scoring more than 30 points, in road games and on grass.
Houston is 8-1-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 7-1-1 after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 19-5-2 on grass, 15-4-2 after rushing for more than 150 yards, 17-5 at home against teams with winning road records, 6-2-1 at home, 11-4-1 after a cover, 8-3-1 after gaining 350 yards or more, 17-7-2 overall, 13-6-1 after a straight up win, and 1-4 in Week 16.
Minnesota has virtually no passing game, especially without Harvin. They will just feed the ball to Peterson. Houston knows this and will put 8 or 9 guys in the box. Teams have been doing this all season and the amazing Peterson keeps slicing through defense after defense. Houston has only allowed two 100 yard rushers all season, including Vick Ballard for the Colts last week. It will be difficult for the Vikings to win on the road against such a good team. The Vikings keep it close for a while but Houston pulls away late.
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