Don’t look now, but the Minnesota Vikings are actually tied for the second-best record in all of professional football. They’ve done this very quietly, as other teams like the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten more attention. But right now, this looks like yet another case where a former assistant of Sean McVay has found some NFL success.
Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers, Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals have all come from McVay’s staff. Kevin O’Connell has the Vikings at 6-1, which puts them firmly in command of the NFC North and greatly aided by the struggles of the Green Bay Packers.
On Sunday, Minnesota will take on the Washington Commanders, who don’t get a whole lot of respect but are sitting at the 500 mark at 4-4. The kickoff will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern time at FedEx Field in Landover, MD.
In the football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, Minnesota is laying points as the road team.
Minnesota Vikings – 3 (-115)
Washington Commanders + 3 (-105)
Over 43.5 points -108
Under 43.5 points -112
We keep saying that the Vikings have vaulted to the top of the division rather quietly. But last week’s victory seemed indicative of the kind of season it’s been for them.
There was not a lot of room for comfort for this Viking squad, and the Arizona Cardinals had some very similar stats, matching the Vikings with 25 first downs and gaining just about the same number of yards from scrimmage. But in the 34-26 Minnesota win, the Vikings ran for 171 yards, and Kirk Cousins had 17 of those yards on a first-quarter touchdown scamper.
Dalvin Cook, when healthy, can be a dominant force coming out of the backfield, and he had 109 yards for the Vikings. With 561 yards, he is ninth in the league. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen both had six receptions apiece, combining for 165 yards. And TJ Hockenson, one of the more talented tight ends in the NFL, is on his way from Detroit, the result of a trade that beat the deadline on Tuesday.
So hey – maybe things are looking up for this team at the football betting sites, even as it sits 3.5 games ahead of the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.
The Commanders had lost four games in a row, then won a dreary 12-7 decision over Chicago before winning the next two for a three-game winning streak that has brought their record to 4-4. We don’t know whether it would be unfair to credit this to the insertion of Taylor Heinicke into the lineup in place of the injured Carson Wentz. But Heinicke, who started almost all of last year, has completed 67% with 7.5 yards per attempt and has looked steady at the controls.
When it counted last week, he came up big. The Commanders were down 16-10 to Indianapolis when Heinicke took the ball with about two and a half minutes remaining and drove his team 88 yards up the field, handling the last yard himself on a plunge.
So you’ll sell this Washington team short at your own risk, right? Yeah maybe. More to the point, maybe we SHOULD sell the Vikings short.
Sure, they have a 6-1 record. But they are 3-4 against the pointspread, and they’ve played just two teams with a winning record. One of them, the Philadelphia Eagles, beat them soundly in a prime-time affair. They also beat the Miami Dolphins, who had a substitute quarterback at the controls.
Yeah, there’s a substitute here too. But he’s formidable and very comfortable with these teammates. This might be a pretty good situation to take the points.
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