Vikings (6-6) at Buccaneers (7-5)
Minnesota has a 33-22 lead in the series where the former NFC Central rivals have only met four times since 2011 as they have split those four meetings. Minnesota has won the last two as the Vikings toppled Tampa Bay, 34-17, in 2017 when Vikings quarterback Case Keenum fired three touchdowns and passed for 369 yards in the victory.
The Vikings have won five out of their last six games to even their record at 6-6 and push themselves into wild card contention. Tampa Bay has lost two in a row by the identical scores for 27-24 to both the Chiefs and Rams while dropping three out of four over the last month.
Vs. The Spread:
As the Vikings have started to rise on the high seas with their 5-1 run in the last six games, the OVER has been very good too them as they have toppled the number in five of their last six. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 1-6 ATS on the road in Tampa Bay. The OVER is also a likely play for the Bucs who have been OVER in four of their last six and eight of the last 12 vs. the Vikings. Tampa Bay is 4-10 ATS in it’s last 14 games against the NFC North.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Minnesota Vikings||+6½ (-101)||+245||O 52½ (-112)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-6½ (-119)||-290||U 52½ (-108)|
Minnesota needed an overtime field goal to knock off Jacksonville, 27-24. Kirk Cousins threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns as Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 121 yards and a TD. Dalvin Cook ran for 120 yards on 32 carries. Minnesota collected for Jaguars turnovers as safety Harrison Smith picked off journeyman Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon to set up Bailey’s field goal.
The Buccaneers joined the Panthers in having the last bye weeks of the season after a 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago. The Buccaneers trailed 27-10 going to the fourth quarter before Tom Brady led two fourth quarter touchdown drives. The Bucs pass defense was shredded by Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 432 yards as he found Tyreek Hill 13 times for 269 yards and two scores.
When the Vikings have the Ball:
Dalvin Cook has put together a Pro Bowl season behind 1,250 yards over 11 games as he is netting 5.0 yards per carry and has scored 13 rushing touchdowns. The Tampa Bay run-stop has been stellar as it ranks third in the NFL in giving up only 72.4 yards as New Orleans and the New York Giants are the only teams who have rushed for over 100 yards on Tampa Bay this season.
Neutralizing Cook will make Minnesota have to throw to win, but quarterback Kirk Cousins has 12 interceptions and has been sacked 25 times. The Buccaneers secondary relies on making the big play, but patience and time to throw will neutralize the unit’s quickness to a certain extent. The Bucs defensive front has five players with double figures in quarterback hits as William Gholston leads with 17 while Jason Pierre-Paul checks in with 8.5 of the Buccaneers’ 34 sacks.
When the Buccaneers have the Ball:
Tampa Bay knows that the Vikings can be had through the run or the pass as Minnesota is 24th in the NFL in total defense. The Vikings defense has improved some since it gave up Tom Brady has the matchups on the outside as Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney with the fleet of the injured Mike Evans, Chris Godwin – who had 10 pins took out of a broken hands this week – and Antonio Brown. Dantzler comes off a huge game in the win over Jacksonville as he had an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery, all firsts.
This could be a day where Rob Gronkowski comes back with another big day as he had a 106-yard performance vs. Kansas City or running back Ronald Jones, whose use was limited vs. the Rams and Chiefs because Tampa Bay was playing from behind. Minnesota’s pass defense.
NFL Betting Predictions
Winner: Tampa Bay 34, Minnesota (+6½) 30
Over-Under: OVER 52½