Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Time: 3:30 PM EST
Spread: NO -6.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day at 3:30 PM (EST) on FOX. The Saints s enter having lost its last two, and it is 6.5-point favorites on its home field. The over-under is not yet set according to the latest odds released by bookmaker 5dimes.
The New Orleans Saints are 10-4 and in first place in the NFC South, but it must get back on track after losing back to back matchups against the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The Saints surrendered 32 points last week while managing just 29 itself, but ordinarily, its defense is a strength. The Saints are limiting teams to just 21.2 points per game this season, which ranks among the top-10 most stingy defenses. The offense ranks top-10 in scoring at 28.2 points per game, with a rush attack that ranks No. 7 in yardage at 131.8 yards per game.
The Saints have a bottom-third pass offense even with Drew Bree’s still being relatively consistent and great. Brees has 2,430 yards on 70.5 percent passing with 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has barely been sacked once per game (11 sacks in 10 games played) and his passer rating is an outstanding 107.4. Alvin Kamara is the key to the offense, though. The running back leads the team in rushing yardage at 777 yards this season with 10 touchdowns, and he also leads the team in receiving yards with 80 catches for 739 yards and five receiving touchdowns (which ranks No. 2 on the team behind Tight end Jared Cook).
Kamara leads the team in receiving first downs with 34 and he leads in rushing first downs with 49. Latavious Murray ranks No. 2 in carries (134), yardage (584), and No. 3 in touchdowns with four. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill has functioned mostly as a No.3 backfield option and is just shy of 400 yards with his six touchdowns and No.3 ranking 27 first downs. Hill has also caught six passes for 74 yards.
The Minnesota Vikings are just 6-8 and trail the Green Bay Packers by five games for the NFC first place spot. The Vikings trail No. 2 Chicago by just one game though, and Minnesota has lost its last two outings with Ls coming to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
The Vikings possess the eighth-worst defense, which allows 27.7 points per game, while it has a middle of the pack offense generating 25.7 points, good for a differential of -2.0. The Vikings rank No. 5 in rushing yardage at 147.7 per game, but its pass attack lingers at No. 18 generating just 239.4 yards per contest.
Of course, it is largely by design that the team is this imbalanced between the rush and pass. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been successful throwing the ball, and he has completed 67.6 percent of his passes, but Cousins also tallies 5.7 yards-per-carry on his 27 rushing attempts, and both the lead running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison has experienced success with good consistency. Cook averages five yards-per-carry with 15 touchdowns and a team-best 87 first downs.
Mattison has a 4.5 yard-per-carry average and 339 yards on 75 carries. Ameer Abdullah has not seen a lot of touches but fared well in the mere seven he got. This backfield has the depth to continue to improve into the type that can remain a top rushing unit for many seasons to come.
Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are the top-2 receivers with 1,182 and 771 yards, respectively. Running back Dalvin Cook ranks No. 3 in yardage and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr rank No.4 and No.5, respectively, as pass options for Cousins. With three non-wide receiver options in the top-5 pass targets on this team, it is at least a more unconventional pass attack when the Vikings are not making their bread and butter with the run.