Miami at Minnesota
Time: NOON CT, CBS
Spread: MIN -9
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Minnesota Vikings are 6-6-1 and in second place in the NFC North. This week, it hosts the Miami Dolphins as 9-point favorites on CBS. The game will air at Noon (CST) and has an over/under of 44.5 points according to NFL Oddsmakers at 5dimes.
Though the Minnesota Vikings are in contention for a Wild Card berth, it has lost the past two games to the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, and it has lost four of its last six overall. Last week it fell 7-21 to the Seahawks, as it gave up 18 points to Seattle in the final quarter. Kirk Cousins struggled as he threw 20 of 33 for completion for 208 yards, with one touchdown, while incurring two sacks.
The Minnesota backfield did not help much, with Dalvin Cook rushing 13 times for 55 of the 77 rushing yards accrued. The Vikings defense did hold Russell Wilson to 50 percent completions and came up with an interception, but Seattle obliterated Minnesota with its ground game, picking up 214 yards on 42 carries. It will need a much strong effort with its defensive pressure against the Miami Dolphins this week.
Defense has not really been the main problem for Minnesota this year: It has, overall, been fair.
The Vikings hold teams to 22.4 points per game, but its offense generates less than that, 21.7. Moreover, the last two weeks it has held opponents to just 22.5 points per game, but it has mustered just 8.5 points per game itself—struggling to reach the end zone in every way imaginable. Cousins has been strong this season with his 98.4 passer rating, but his nine interceptions and 32 sacks are troubling and offset the massive 269.0 yards he picks up per contest.
Moreover, the backfield generates just 4.1 yards-per-carry with its top two rushers averaging about that. Latavious Murray has 470 yards on the season and Cook is good for 367, but Murray attempted just three carries last week for a whopping four yards. Cousins has had some success, but overall this is a weak offense that cannot manage to make good on a rather fair defense. Overall, it spells a middling record and there are not many teams in fear of the Vikings in any potential postseason matchups. It has struggled down the stretch of this season after the 1-1-2 start that basically spelled the beginning of a mediocre season in Minnesota.
The Miami Dolphins are 7-6 this season but have posted just a 1-5 mark on the road. It is in second place in the AFC East, trailing New England by two full games. Miami has won its past two, including last week in a big win over the division-leading Pats. Miami won on a 52-yard run by Kenyan Drake, as it double-lateraled on the final play to emerge with the narrow victory as time waned. Drake finished the game with just 24 yards due to the nature of the play, but his biggest play was saved for last and the Miami backfield rushed for 189 yards on the strength of Frank Gore’s 92 yards on 12 carries and Brandon Bolden’s 60 yards on just two attempts.
Ryan Tannehill was exceptional in completing 14 of 19 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He was sacked four times for a total loss of 36, yards though. Tannehill, in his 7th season out of Texas A&M, is listed as questionable for this game, but it really should read “probable” because Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports Coach Adam Gase to have said Tannehill is a go “unless something crazy happens.”
Tannehill has been sensational this December thus far. He has completed 30 of 43 passes (69.8 percent) with an average of 9.35 yards per catch, six touchdowns, and just one interception. As Tannehill goes, so go the Dolphins, too. In wins, he completes 71.8 percent of his passes, but he is good for just 60 percent in losses with a QB rating of 74.4 in the Dolphins’ defeats this season.