The first game of the Saturday NFL slate will feature the Indianapolis Colts heading to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. After we break down the game, we’ll go over my best bet for the action.
Before their bye week last weekend, the Indianapolis Colts had lost three straight games, including a 54-19 blowout loss to the Cowboys. The 4-8-1 Colts have one of the worst statistical offenses in the NFL and lead the league in average turnovers a game.
Matt Ryan has thrown 13 interceptions this season to go along with his 13 touchdown passes and has not gotten much help from his offensive line. The Colts allow a QB sack percentage of 8.75%, which is 27th in the league and has caused the veteran quarterback to make some questionable decisions while facing pressure.
Injuries and the lackluster offensive line play have also led to the Colts not being able to fully utilize running back Jonathan Taylor. The Colts running back has only been able to find the endzone four times this season. We’ll see if they can find success against a below-average Minnesota run defense.
The Vikings enter this week fresh off a divisional loss but still possess a 10-3 record on the season. Minnesota’s defense got exposed last weekend by the Detroit Lions offense, as they allowed 330 pass yards and 134 rushing yards. On the season, the Vikings' pass defense has been a glaring weakness for the team, ranking dead last in the league in passing yards per game allowed and average yards per pass.
The most interesting match-up in this game will be the Vikings' stellar pass offense against the Colts' pass defense. On the season, Indianapolis is third in the league in passing yards per game allowed; however, in their last game, they allowed 220 yards and three passing touchdowns. Kirk Cousins is averaging 246.4 yards a game, so we’ll see if the Colts' secondary can get back on track this week in this tough match-up.
The Minnesota Vikings are currently -3.5 point favorites, and I’ll be backing them in this one. Minnesota has proven they might be a bit of a fraud despite their record, but they’ve also shown they can beat inferior teams this season, especially at home. When favored this season, the Vikings are 5-2-1 ATS, and when they play at home, they are 6-1 straight up.
Minnesota’s weakness certainly is their pass defense, but the Colts' passing offense is one of the worst in the NFL. Although it’s a weakness, the Vikings' defense is also forcing 1.5 turnovers per game which is seventh in the league. That high-level ability to force turnovers will cause significant issues for Matt Ryan and the Colts offense.
It hasn’t seemed to matter how good an opponent’s passing defense has been for Justin Jefferson to find success. The Vikings throw the ball the fifth most in the league, and even with their good numbers, the Colts' pass defense proved they could be exposed in their last game. Unlike the Colts' offense, the Vikings have done an excellent job at protecting the football on offense, so I think they can control the game from the start and put up enough points on offense to keep the game out of reach.
Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)