NFC Playoff Betting — Vikings-Niners: Minnesota Fans Kissin’ Cousins Right Now

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NFC Playoff Betting
Divisional Round Game
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA

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San Francisco 49ers -7
Minnesota Vikings +7

Over 44 points -110
Under 44 points -110

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings seemed like a team without a game plan. And they were not able to repeat as NFC North champions. It also spoiled the first year of Kirk Cousins’ three-year, $84 million contract.

Of course, much of that had to do with injuries to Dalvin Cook that killed what head coach Mike Zimmer wanted to do, which was punish opponents with the ground game. The Vikes finished a dismal 30th in the league in rushing.

Zimmer looked forward to a healthier Cook in 2019. And he also reached out and gave Gary Kubiak, who had taken a two-year break from coaching, a job as assistant head coach and offensive “advisor.” Kubiak, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Denver Broncos, brought with him the “zone blocking” concept, which the Vikings offensive line took to rather quickly.

Through the first three games, the Vikings ran the ball 61% of the time. The receivers were getting frustrated because they weren’t getting the ball enough.

Then Kirk Cousins heaved it up 36 times against the Chicago Bears, only to be sacked six times on the way to producing only six points.

So some tweaks were made, in which Cousins was encouraged to get out of the pocket a little more, through roll-outs, and to work play-action when the situation called for it.

Well, even though Cook’s number suffered for it, and the Vikings dropped below 50% in their run play percentage, Cousins started to come on like a freight train.

Over the last twelve games he’s played, he has completed 69.7% of his passes, with 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and more than eight yards an attempt. And the team has won nine of those twelve games.

And BetAnySports customers know that none of those was as important as last week, when the defense did a good job of bottling up Drew Brees, while Cousins made the biggest completion of his career – a 43-yarder to Adam Thielen – that brought the ball inside the five-yard line in overtime and led to a TD pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph that broke the Saints’ hearts yet again.

For a guy who had been saddled with a rap for losing on the big stage – indeed, Cousins was 0-9 SU and ATS on Monday Night Football, for instance, it was a bit of vindication, to say the least.

And now it’s on to the Divisional Round game against the NFC’s #1 seed, the San Francisco 49ers (4:35 PM ET on Saturday), as Cousins and the Vikings hope some of the confidence they gained from a win in the hostile Superdome will carry over.

Cousins’ numbers stand up pretty well. When he is able to work off play-action, he has registered a QB rating of 123.5, with almost ten yards an attempt (9.7, to be exact). And getting the extra time to throw with rollouts and other wrinkles has enabled him to get 8.8 yards an attempt when he is able to get at least 2.5 seconds to throw.

At the same time, he’s been efficient against blitzes, completing 69% for 8.6 yards a throw and seven TD’s without an interception.

Things could really work well for him if Cook is providing sufficient support in the backfield, because San Francisco’s defense has sometimes faltered in defending play-action passes, allowing a 112.9 QB rating. Cook does not even have to have a monster game; just good enough that the Niners have to account for him.

We think he’ll do that. Take the points.

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