The Minnesota Vikings will host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. Here is the game preview, the betting odds and a final score prediction.
And then there were eight. That is the amount of teams still alive to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LII being held in Minneapolis. It’s divisional round weekend in the NFL and we’ve got some fantastic games on the slate. Perhaps the best will be the one between the No. 4 New Orleans Saints and the No. 2 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoffs.
Kickoff from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will be at 4:40 p.m. ET on Jan. 14. FOX will have the national broadcast with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. The winner of this game will face the winner of the No. 6 Atlanta Falcons at the No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017 NFC Championship game. Where that game will be held has not been decided up to this point.
New Orleans is the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs and is fresh off a win in wild card weekend over the division rival Carolina Panthers, 31-26. The Saints won the NFC South for the first time since 2011 and are in the NFC playoffs for the fist time since 2013. This team is absolutely Super Bowl caliber. Though the No. 4 seed, some might view the Saints as the favorite to come out of the NFC.
Minnesota is the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Vikings were on bye last week, but will play at home this week against a team they already beat in Week 1 of the season. To be fair, the Saints and Vikings are completely different teams since they last played in September. The Saints now have a defense and the Vikings are winging a ton of games with Case Keenum as their starting quarterback.
Point Spread: Minnesota -4
Moneylines: Minnesota -190, New Orleans +180
According to OddsShark, the Vikings will be laying four points at home to the visiting Saints. The associated moneylines for this game are Minnesota -190 and New Orleans +180. This game’s over/under comes in at a combined 45.5 points.
With both teams being solid defensively, we’re going to go with the slight under in this game. That will because neither team will want to turn the ball over, meaning we might see more of a ground-and-pound defensive-minded game. Both teams will score, but don’t expect a prototypical dome shootout involving the Saints offense. The Vikings defense is that good.
No doubt that this game will live up to the hype. It will be all tied up at 17 heading into the fourth quarter. Both teams will have a costly turnover that will result in a touchdown. Drew Brees and Keenum will have a pair of touchdown passes on the afternoon. This one obviously is going down to the wire.
With a chance to win the game inside of four minutes left, Keenum will get picked off by NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year front-runner Marshon Lattimore. Though he won’t have a great return, that will be enough for Brees to orchestrate the game-winning drive. Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram Jr. will have the greatest run of his life, finding pay dirt on a 45-yard scamper.
Keenum will have one last shot to tie the game down 24-17 with two minutes left, but a strip sack by Saints All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan will seal the deal for the Saints. Minnesota’s playoff woes will continue, as the Saints get ready for an NFC Championship.
Pick: Saints 24, Vikings 17