Sept. 11, 2017 – Saints vs. Vikings
If you’re looking for a classic “good offence vs. good defense” battle in Week 1, this Monday nighter between the Saints and Vikings fits the bill.
Sure, the Adrian Peterson storyline will dominate pre-game talk, but the narrative for this one is about how a good Viking D will handle the Drew Brees-led New Orleans’ offense. Last season, the Saints finished as the league’s second highest scoring team…which meant squat in terms of playoff relevance, as they booked a 7-9 regular season record.
When looking to place the blame for their blah campaign, you need not look any further than the defense. They were leaky early and stayed leaky all year. They just never got things sorted, consistently struggling to get stops. Unless a few of the young guys really step up, I don’t see them taking a real step forward.
The good news, at least for Week 1, is they’re not facing an explosive offense…not by a long shot. With Sam Bradford behind centre, there’s going to be another heavy dose of the “dink and dunk” approach they rolled out last season. This isn’t a unit that puts a lot of stress on a secondary, often putting the ball into the hands of their receivers within a few feet of the line of scrimmage. They’re not built to play catch-up, but a by-product of being so conservative is they don’t throw many picks (Bradford threw just five last year), so you can’t rely on them to beat themselves.
The line in this matchup is Minnesota -4. I like the Saints getting the points. The Viking run defense isn’t stout; it’s their pass defense that grades out as top-tier. Look for New Orleans to have some early success on the ground, as the Vikings won’t be able to bring extra help down, or they’ll suffer the consequences of Brees finding the best matchup. I see the Saints putting up some points, giving them a great shot at starting the new season with a win.
We’ll take the underdog.
NFL Pick: New Orleans +4
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