Here we are…at the game I’ve been looking forward to on the schedule for two months, hoping the Vikings season would still be meaningful by the time Santa Clause came to town.
Unfortunately, while technically still alive to make the playoffs, the Vikings chances of playing in the postseason are next to impossible.
Going into tomorrow, the Vikings will need to win their next two games while requiring the Cardinals to lose their last two. The Bears will also need to lose one of their last two games. If that happens Minnesota wins that three-way 8-8 tiebreaker. No idea how.
According to the New York Times there is a 3% chance of this happening.
But it can’t start unless the Vikings win Friday…so…
Merry Christmas Minnesota! I’m predicting an upset.
The Vikings come into this game as a big underdog. They are playing a Saints team transitioning back to Drew Brees at quarterback and looking to stay alive for the top seed in the NFC after a close loss to Kansas City last week.
This is not gonna be your standard X’s and O’s prediction for an upset…but logical no less.
The Vikings are young. They conceivably have a lot of single guys on the team. Maybe not a lot of stress about not being with the wife and kids on Christmas Day. No worries at all about traveling to New Orleans. Probably looking forward to being in a little bit nicer weather for a day or two. Maybe in the mood to play fast and loose…Tis the season to be young.
The Saints are old. Their wives and kids have been bitching all week about how husband/daddy has to work on Christmas Day. The wives are in the background complaining to the husbands about the NFL even having a game that day. And why are you the only team playing? etc. The dads are starting to get sick of it and are feeling guilty at the same time. They start to focus on reducing the negativity at home versus what they’ll need to do on Sunday.
Everyone on the Saints offense will watch film on the Vikings a little bit at the beginning of the week…see how bad their defense is and take the game for granted. (Everyone except for Drew Brees who will watch every last bit of tape made available to him.)
An easy victory.
So while the rest of the film remains on, no one will be watching anymore. Instead they’ll choose to think back to the extra family stress this Christmas Day game is putting on them, and ways they can cope with what’s going on at home.
Maybe they’ll need to call their agent or manager to have them lineup a few extra gifts for the holidays to try to smooth things over. Maybe they’ll need to make arrangements with baby sitters for some alone time with the misses on new year’s eve to make it up to her…and what if the manager or agent isn’t available right away? That means they’ll be waiting on a call back or a returned text, stressing out with each passing minute…Nervous they’ll have to take care of it on their own. It’s a busy time of year. Those agents have lives and families too.
Speaking of which, what about those in-laws who are coming over to see the family Christmas Day afternoon? Ya know, spend the day with their daughter’s family, see the all the gifts the kids got, eat a nice dinner, etc…Might need to text or call them and get that out of the way. But what do you say? What do you write? You can’t just tell the wife to tell them you’re sorry you won’t be around, she’s already pissed at you. Maybe, I need to call my agent back and have him get a little something extra for my wife’s parents too, shit…
Whatever the case may be, the Saints minds will not be on the easily beatable Vikings until game-time.
It’s beautiful. Advantage Minnesota.
When the Vikings were 1-5 and traveled to Green Bay to play the number one team in the NFC I predicted a close game and a Vikings victory.
This game feels similar to me in so many ways.
I like Dalvin Cook to get the ball 30+ times. The coaching staff is gonna wanna ride Cook’s motivation of showing Alvin Kamara who the best running back on the field is on Friday.
The defense will give up it’s fair share of points, but if the offense controls the ball with Cook, and limits Drew Brees’s opportunities on the field, look for the Saints quarterback to grow a little impatient, get tired of dinking and dunking, and force a couple deep balls that aren’t at the top of his arsenal anymore down the field.
It’s a method and strategy that Mike Zimmer has executed successfully against Brees in the past, both in 2017 and 2019.
As a result, I’m predicting at least one interception for Harrison Smith and maybe another INT from somebody else back there as well.
The key will be if the Vikings are able to take advantage of those two turnovers. Too many times the Vikings are up one score and get the ball back with the chance to make it a two possession game to seal the deal, and fail miserably.
If they take advantage of that extra possession Friday, they’ll walk out of New Orleans victorious. If they don’t, the Saints will win a close one.
All that said, easy pick, Minnesota (+7.5) over New Orleans.
(Over 50.5 total points is my 3 unit lock of the year.)