NFL Playoff Pick & Prediction: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

Last Updated: 2018-01-12

The final playoff game of the week is a rematch of a Week 1 encounter between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are now favored by 5 and the total is up to 46.5, as this game has the highest percentage of over bets among the four games.

New Orleans comes into this off off a 31-26 non-covering victory over the Panthers in a game that Carolina shut down the New Orleans running game, but Drew Brees was able to put enough points on the board for the Saints to hold off the Panthers for the win. Now, Brees will face a tougher task, going up against Minnesota’s defense, which is ranked in the top two of all the major categories.

The Saints were 4-4 on the road this season, scoring 25.9 points and allowing 18.2, which are both lower than their overall numbers, as New Orleans is a bit lower scoring when they are on the road. For the season, the Saints are a +6.6 on offense, scoring 6.6 more points than opponents allowed, and surprisingly, a +1.3 on defense.

New Orleans was a solid running team during the season, averaging 4.5 yards against teams who allowed 4.2 yards and Brees was as good as ever, completing more than 70% of his passes and having a higher yards per attempt figure than opponents allowed.

The Saints were solid on defense, but were below average in rushing defense, while being a better team against the pass. How that plays into Minnesota’s hands remains to be seen, but the Vikings like to run the ball and had close to a 50-50 mixture of runs and passes. The Vikings aren’t the greatest rushing team around and averaged .2 fewer yards per carry than their opponents allowed.

Minnesota’s defense allowed 6.3 fewer points than opponents scored and they were even better at home, while they scored 2.0 more points than their opponents allowed. The Vikings didn’t allow 20 points in an home game this year, as the 19 points New Orleans scored against Minnesota opening week were the most the team surrendured in front of the home fans.

The Vikings aren’t a public pick, with more than 60% of the bets coming on on New Orleans, but they are getting a bit of action from the sharper players, who are responsible for pushing the line up to five.

Going to have to take the Vikings in this spot, as I trust their defense more than that of New Orleans and it’s impossible to ignore how much better they’ve played at home this season.

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