Early Sunday afternoon highlight game in the NFL on tap here, as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Carolina to play the defending NFC Champions. We are all aware what happened to the Panthers once they made it to the Super Bowl, but lost in that game is how well they played up to the Super Bowl. The Panthers were rolling over teams and entered the Super Bowl as the favorite, until then of course, the Denver Broncos’ defense suffocated Cam Newton and the offense. Newton couldn’t get anything going, not anything like he had going in the regular season. The Broncos had two weeks to plan for the Panthers and it definitely showed on the field. When you give the best defense in the league two weeks to prepare for an offense that is what happens.
The Vikings are going to throw a hardnosed defense at Cam and company in Week 3. It’s been a series of unfortunate events for the Vikings on offense, though. First it was Teddy Bridgewater that had his season ruined before it even started. And then last week Adrian Peterson was in a ton of pain as he was carried to the back. It was ultimately determined that he tore his meniscus and would have to be put on the IR. Tough pill to swallow for the Vikings on the offensive side of the ball. The injury not only sent Peterson to the IR, but it may have signalled the end of his career as a Viking.
If it’s the end of the line for Peterson in Minnesota, it was a memorable one where he set several records, including the single-season rushing record. It’s a surprise that Peterson started the season with the Vikings to begin with. His best years as a running back are certainly behind him, but it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of contract he attracts in the future. The Vikings were in a desperate state following the Bridgewater injury, forcing them to acquire a new quarterback.
Sam Bradford was that guy, and for a week, he’s been hailed as the big man on campus. Bradford probably hasn’t felt this way since he was a student at the University of Oklahoma. Vikings’ management seems confident in him, and it may have rubbed off on him against the Packers. Bradford played an excellent game, despite getting no protection from his offensive line. For a week, Bradford outplayed Aaron Rodgers. He will try and do it to another superstar this week, Cam Newton.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers NFL Betting Odds:
Vikings +7 (-110)
vs. Panthers -7(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Panthers Pick:
Bradford made his first start as a Viking last week on Sunday Night Football. A lot of money was on the Packers, with the perception that Aaron Rodgers vs Sam Bradford is of no comparison. Bradford stepped up in the pocket and showed a lot of composure and confidence. He didn’t blow the top off the world, but he made enough plays when it mattered. The Vikings, with their elite defense, just need a quarterback that doesn’t make the critical mistakes. So far so good for Bradford in Minnesota. It’s only one game, though, so it is best to look at him with caution still. Nevertheless, Bradford has never had a defense like this to help him out.
The Vikings had some serious issues protecting him, though. Bradford took a few big shots, including a shot to his hand that looked worse than it actually was. Life isn’t going to get any easier for Bradford against a formidable Carolina defense. He’s going to have to do it this week across the country on the east coast, too. Through the first two weeks, the Panthers are 7th in the NFL in terms of total team defense. They’ve allowed an average of just 198 yards per game through the air.
The Panthers are 1-1, after opening up the season with a 20-21 loss to the Broncos, and then blasting the 49ers away, 46-27. The points with Minnesota looks like an attractive option in this one. After all, it isn’t going to be often you get 7 points with a top-flight defense. However, this looks like a letdown spot for them. The Vikings are coming off this big win to open their brand new stadium, over rival the Green Bay Packers, on Sunday Night Football. I see the Panther defense getting to Bradford, just like the Packers did. But only this time he will make some mistakes on the road against a better defensive unit. Carolina is coming off an easy task at home last week. This will probably be a close one in the first-half, but the Panthers should pull away to win by 10 points.
PICK: PANTHERS -7 (-110)