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On Sunday, January 14th, the (11-5) New Orleans Saints will be on the road to take on the (13-3) Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Vikings 24.5 – Saints 24.2 with an over/under of 48.8.
2017-18 Statistics (32 total teams):
Yards per game: Saints 391.2 (2nd) > Vikings 356.9 (11th)
Points per game: Saints 28.0 (4th) > Vikings 23.9 (10th)
Turnover margin: Saints +7 > Vikings +5
Fewest yards allowed per game: Vikings 275.9 (1st) > Saints 336.5 (17th)
Fewest Points allowed per game: Vikings 15.8 (1st) > Saints 20.4 (10th)
The Vikings are coming off their bye week and should be well rested for their game against New Orleans. The Vikings have been one of the NFL’s feel good stories finishing (13-3) despite losing their quarterback Sam Bradford to injury. Case Keenum has filled in admirably for Bradford and the Vikings are led by the NFL’s number one defense. Minnesota (+130) ranks 5th in the NFL in point differential. The Saints were able to defeat their arch rival Carolina Panthers 31-26 at home to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The victory marked the third time this season the Saints have defeated the Panthers. Carolina outgained New Orleans 413-410 in total yardage and dominated the time of possession. Drew Brees was 22-33 for 376 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Carolina completely shut down Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in the running game as the Saints totaled just 41 rushing yards. Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. both had 100 yards receiving and the latter caught a touchdown pass. The Saints had trouble containing Cam Newton but ultimately executed down the stretch to secure a second-round playoff appearance against Minnesota. The Saints (+122) rank 3rd in the NFL in point differential.
The Vikings finished the season by winning eleven of their last twelve games. The Vikings defeated the Saints 29-19 in New Orleans to open the season but much has changed since then. Case Keenum has been great for the Vikings but quarterbacks making their first playoff appearance have not fared well over the years. Drew Brees proved last week he could put the team on his back even when they are unable to run the football. I expect Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to have more of an impact even against the league’s best defense. This will be a close one but I like the Saints to pull off the road upset.
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