Monday Night Football is always an exciting prospect, especially when two teams of this quality square off from the NFC. Sunday was a wild day, and the first week Monday doubleheader should bring the week to an exciting finish. Yesterday, I went 2-1 with my selections and we’ll be looking to finish off the week strong to further line our pockets for Week 2 of NFL action.
Tonight we’ll take a deeper look at the Vikings and Saints as they are slated to meet in Minnesota. Both of these squads performed below expectations in 2016, but they do possess the talent for big improvements this year.
It’s no secret that New Orleans has one of the most high-octane offenses in football, while the Vikes will present a tough contrast with their stout defense. This should make for must-see viewing on Monday evening, and as always read on below for a detailed game breakdown and betting analysis.
Saints vs. Vikings Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints +3 (-105)
@ Minnesota Vikings -3 (-115)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Saints vs. Vikings Pick:
While many people only look at the Saints and see an explosive offense, that really should no longer be the case. They’ve made some big improvements to their defense, and as a result should fix almost all of their problems from last season. Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore came as advertised in the pre-season, and he’ll likely be glued to Stefon Diggs in Monday night’s contest. Minnesota doesn’t have the most dynamic offense, and their O-Line will certainly have their hands full trying to prevent Cameron Jordan from roaming in the backfield. The Saints will get a bunch of pressure on Sam Bradford and could force him into many mistakes. It’s also worth mentioning the Saints have bolstered their run defense too. Dalvin Cook is a talented young runner for the Vikes, but don’t expect Kareem Hunt numbers or anything like that! The Saints defense will make a point in Week 1.
On the other side of the ball, huge storylines surround Adrian Peterson’s quick return to Minnesota – but for the first time, as an opponent. Peterson is going to get fed the ball a lot on Monday night, and I expect him to consistently move the chains. The Vikings have struggled with their run stopping ever since they lost Sharrif Floyd, and this unit looked lost in this regard in the pre-season. Peterson and his teammate Mark Ingram should be able to find consistent yardage on the ground.
Where the Saints really do their damage is through the air though, and even though the Vikes do defend the passing game quite well – it’s tough to truly stop Drew Brees. He will be without wideout Willie Snead, but the rangy Michael Thomas is still there and should be able to find some space with Xavier Rhodes covering him. You can also expect Sean Payton to get creative and use his pass-catching backs to further pick on a suspect Vikings’ linebacking crew. There are still some big questions about Minnesota’s 2017 defense after losing veterans Captain Munnerlyn and Terrance Newman from their secondary. Overall, the Saints offense is just too deep and will be able to move the football on Monday.
The Saints are ready for their return to prominence. They are loaded offensively, and made key improvements defensively, and frankly – are better than Minnesota in every aspect of the game. Expect Brees and co. to throw all over the Vikings, and A-Pete to open things up with his bruising blend of running. Look for the Saints to send a message in Week 1 with an outright road victory.
PICK = Saints +3 (-105)