Vikings vs Redskins – NFL Pick for November 12th
My run through the 2017 NFL season has not gone as planned (3-7), but I did get back on the winning trail last week by backing the Rams. Los Angeles brought solid value at -180 on the road and ended up destroying the hapless New York Giants.
The road back to .500 is still a long one, so I’ll have to find another safe zone to build a winning streak this week. That should come with the Minnesota Vikings, who head to D.C. to take on the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota has a lot to play for, as they hope to storm out of their bye week and get a big road win. The Vikings are certainly trending in the right direction, as they’ve won four straight games and sit atop the NFC North all by themselves at 6-2.
Washington remains alive for a wild card bid in the NFC, but no longer has a realistic shot at taking the NFC East crown. Not only are the Redskins a middling 4-4 at the moment, but they’ve lost both of their games against the division-leading Eagles, who own the league’s best record at 8-1.
The Redskins look like a fine team to target this week, but it’s fair to point out they carry EVEN odds at Bovada to get a home win, and they did just knock off the Seattle Seahawks in week 9.
However, the ‘Skins have been fairly erratic this year (per usual), so I find it tough to believe they’re going to come out and take down a strong defensive team for the second week in a row.
While the matchup breakdown should show you that, the Redskins aren’t exactly healthy at the moment, with key players like Trent Williams and Jordan Reed in doubt for this contest.
In what is virtually a pick’em, I love the Vikings on the surface going into this game. The Redskins have not had a reliable running game in 2017, while Kirk Cousins has had some difficulty finding consistent success against strong defenses.
Cousins produced mixed results last week, largely because his offensive line left him pressured or sacked for much of the day. That has to be a very real concern this week, as Minnesota can certainly get after the quarterback (9th in sacks).
The Vikings really don’t have a glaring weakness defensively, which makes it tough to see Cousins and co. piling on points in this one.
In what is shaping up as a defensive battle, the Redskins will have their work cut out for them against a Vikings defense that comes in ranking 7th against the pass, 3rd against the run, and 3rd in points allowed per game.
You could argue that the Redskins have two clear edges (and they do), as they’ll be playing in the comfort of their home stadium and they also boast superior quarterback play. It’s true that Kirk Cousins is better than Case Keenum in terms of talent and production, but Keenum has actually been solid all year long, and is also backed by a more dominant defense.
Minnesota has also stuck with the ground game, even after Dalvin Cook was lost with a knee injury. Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray combine to help balance Minnesota’s offense out, while Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph provide enough weapons in the passing game to keep defenses honest.
The Redskins could key in on Keenum and hope he turns the ball over, but the numbers don’t exactly add up. Washington’s run defense (16th) is merely a middle-of-the-pack unit, while their pass defense (17th) hasn’t been much better.
Vegas clearly is calling this one close to the chest. The Redskins are mild home underdogs in a game with a -1.5 spread. That being said, the Vikings are red hot, have the better defense, and, even with Keenum under center, might even have the more stable offense when looking at this matchup.
The best part is that I get more value with the Vikings, who have a nice -120 line. If I wanted to take some risk and ride with the Redskins, I’d at least hope to get paid for it. Instead, I’ll roll with the favorite at almost the same price.