The Minnesota Vikings are one of few teams who had a standout performance in Week 1. Sam Bradford looked like a budding HOFer against the Saints, but how much of it was real, and how much of it was phony? It was what I consider the best start of his career in the NFL. Bradford passed for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. All of his passes hit with pinpoint precision, something I haven’t witnessed since he played in college at Oklahoma. He tweaked his surgically repaired knee in that contest, so something to monitor before kickoff.
Let’s hold up for a minute, though, this was against one of the worst defenses of the last few years. So, was it more a reflection of how bad the Saints’ defense is? I think it’s a little of both. Bradford isn’t a bad quarterback, but he isn’t that elite. He had wide receivers running free all over the field.
In any event, I will give Bradford a ton of credit for performing the way he did on MNF. We may not find out how legit that start was this week, however. Bradford is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Steelers. He aggravated his knee, the same knee he had surgery on a few years ago. According to reports, the chances are favorable that he’s going to be getting the start, though. For the amount of criticism he got in previous years for being a porcelain doll, Bradford is a pretty tough football player. Regardless, his knee will be something to keep an eye on as this game goes on.
The Steelers had an easy matchup against the Browns in Week 1. The Browns covered the number, but it was only because of a 4th and goal backdoor. The Steelers won the contest by a score of 21-18, not as close as the score indicated, though. Antonio Brown went nuts on the Browns’ secondary, as he accumulated 11 receptions for 182 yards.
It’s pretty typical for Brown to have monster games, and the Vikings have to find a way to nullify him. The fact that Martavis Bryant is back after surviving his year-long suspension helps him out even more. Le’Veon Bell was there for the opener, after threating to holdout. He took only 10 carries in a limited capacity for 32 yards. This should be an entertaining Week 2 matchup. Head below for our free Vikings vs. Steelers pick.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds:
Vikings +6 (-110)
vs. Steelers -6(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Steelers Pick:
The Steelers really didn’t look like they were too interested against the Browns. Yeah, they won the game, but they almost played bored. This is the week where they will have to be focused and ready to play. I hope after watching Bradford shred the Saints’ defense, the Vikings have their attention. The Steelers had the benefit of playing a rookie quarterback making his first ever regular season start. DeShone Kizer passed for 222 yards with a touchdown and interception. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great either. Just about what you expect from a rookie.
Bradford has thrown at least 3 touchdowns in three straight games. The last guy to do that with the Vikings was Warren Moon in 1995. Don’t look now, but Bradford has been a fantasy juggernaut, and a machine for the Vikings. After Teddy Bridgewater went down, this was the best case scenario in Minnesota. The Steelers were average defending the pass in 2016, allowing an average of 242.6 points per game for 16th in the NFL. This isn’t the Troy Polamalu defense in Pittsburgh from ten years ago.
The Vikings had a stout defense helping them out a year ago, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. They finished 3rd against the pass and return another capable unit in 2017. The Saints ran for just 60 yards on Minnesota. I envision a 3 or 4-point game, probably in favor of the Steelers, but I like the Vikings to keep this contest close with their defense. I would lean with the points for this Vikings vs. Steelers pick. This pick is made with the assumption that Bradford starts. Check his status before locking a bet in.
PICK: VIKINGS +6 (-110)