Minnesota Vikings (6-6 6-6 ATS) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5 6-6 ATS)
The Vikings and Buc are fighting for their playoff lives and they hook up in an NFC matchup in the Sunshine State this Sunday. The Bucs are a 6.5-point home favorite in this game with the total at 51.5.
Even though in losing three of four games the public has slightly backed the Bucs in this game, as they opened as a 6-point favorite and as of Wednesday are a 6.6-point favorite.
If the season ended today the Vikings and Bucs would each make the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
The Vikings have won two in a row and five of their last six games. However, they have only beaten one team this season and their last two games, coming facing teams that have five combined wins, have been close.
The Bucs have hit the skids as of late losing two in a row and three of their last four games. They almost beat the Chiefs in their last game and they are rested after coming off a bye week.
These teams have not met since the 2017 season.
Vikings Eek By
In their last game, the Vikings beat the 1-win Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24 in OT. Minnesota missed two extra points and a game-winning field goal in regulation and on top of that barely won even after forcing four turnovers.
Kirk Cousins has elevated his play as of late with three TD in each of his last three games to go with just one pick. His main targets are rookie Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, who have combined for 2,010 receiving yards.
Dalvin Cook is the league’s second-leading rusher and he has rushed for at least 115 yards in two of his last three games.
The Bucs’ defense leads the league against the run but is giving up an average of 255.8 passing yards per game. The team does have 34 sacks and will face a Minnesota offensive line that gave up four sacks in their last game.
What is Up In Tampa?
The Bucs were flying high before losing three of four games. They have lost their last two games by identical 27-24 scores and the bye week came at a good time.
Tom Brady is having a good season, but the INT has been an issue. He has two in each of his last two games but head coach Bruce Arians continues to call the deep play. Brady has the weapons but needs to avoid the pick.
Ronald Jones is the team’s leading rusher and ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards. Two games back he was stuffed and when Tampa went down big early in the last game his duty was limited. However, in the last game, which was a loss to the KC Chiefs, he rushed for 66 yards on only nine carries.
The Minnesota D has not been great against the run or the pass on the season. The Vikes have to contain the run and pick off Brady, as that has shown to be a recipe for success against the Bucs.
The Vikings are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games, games as an underdog, and facing teams with a winning record.
Bucking the trends in this one, as I still believe in Brady and the week off will work wonders for Tampa. I see them making a statement in this game with a resounding win where Brady will play well, and his team will cover the spread.
PICK: Buccaneers -6.5