Matchup Analysis: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Vikings 21, Saints 29

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Minnesota Vikings Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Vikings Offense25.4 (+2.6) (8)133 (+20) (6)220 (-14) (23)
Saints Defense21.3 (-1.5) (13)91 (-21) (4)242 (+6) (19)

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense28.6 (+5.8) (4)109 (-4) (16)265 (+30) (7)
Vikings Defense18.9 (-3.9) (6)108 (-4) (13)234 (-1) (15)

Vikings Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Saints defense.

While Mike Boone looked better last week in his second start rushing for 148 yards and a touchdown, the Vikings got some good news in that they will get Dalvin Cook back for this week after missing the previous two games with a shoulder injury. Behind Dalvin Cook, it appears that Alexander Mattison may return after being questionable the last two weeks which will bring the dynamic running game back to Minnesota just in time for the playoffs. On the year, the Vikings were the sixth-best rushing offense averaging 133.3 yards per game. This is an offensive line that is built from the outside in as they feature two tremendous run-blocking tackles in Riley Reiff and Brian OíNeal.

The Saints run defense has been one of the better units of the season. They have allowed just one running back to rush for over 75 yards which was back in Week 1 where Carlos Hyde ran for 83 yards as they have not allowed a 100-yard rusher which they are the only team to do that this season. On the year, they are the fourth-best in terms of fewest yards allowed. If there is a criticism of this defense, it is that they have faced the second-fewest attempts in the NFL as teams either fall behind and abandon the run or go with a pass-heavy gameplan. This has led to a 4.2 yards-per-carry average which is in the middle of the pack in the NFL, but donít let that fool you this is an elite defense. This is a defense that has All-Pro caliber players at each stage of the run-stopping operation as Cameron Jordan on the defensive line, Demario Davis at linebacker, and Marcus Williams at safety all play significant roles in stopping the rushing attack for Minnesota.

Vikings Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Saints defense.

The Vikings passing attack has dealt with a multitude of challenges this season as Adam Thielen has been dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the season and at times Stefon Diggs has been less than 100%, but when this offense is on, it can cause matchup nightmares for defenses as Diggs and Thielen are both All-Pro caliber wide receivers. The Vikings primarily run a two-wide receiver, two tight end set as both Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith play over 60%. While the Vikings have allowed the seventh-fewest sacks on the season, this stat is often overblown as they have thrown just 466 passes. The Vikings have been sacked at 6% of the passes which is right around league average as while the Vikings have two strong tackles in Riley Reiff and Brian OíNeal, they do struggle on the interior at times.

The Saints passing defense has been an up and down unit for most of the season, but over the last half of the season, they have struggled. Since Week 11, the Saints are allowing 281 yards passing per game which is the sixth-most in the NFL during that time. There is hope on the horizon for the Saints as their major issue has been against slot receivers as we saw earlier this year where Emmanuel Sanders had 157 yards and a touchdown. The Saints claimed Janoris Jenkins two weeks ago and so far, it is paying dividends as he had an interception last week in the Saints blowout win over the Panthers. Jenkins may no longer be the player that he was, but if the Saints can find the right role for him to play along Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple, this is a defense that can quickly improve as they have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with the third most sacks with 51 this season.

Saints Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Vikings defense.

Alvin Kamara and the Saints rushing attack has been a unit that was a little disappointing in 2019. A unit that finished sixth in the NFL in rushing yards in 2018, dropped down to 16th in 2019 as the team saw a decrease in production with the loss of Mark Ingram and the replacement of Latavius Murray, and Alvin Kamara suffering some ankle and knee injuries which caused his volume to decrease from 194 carries last year down to 171 carries this year. Even with his reduced volume, Kamara was still as effective as last year averaging 4.6 yards per carry behind an offensive line that is one of the best in the NFL led by Ryan Ramczyk the All-Pro right tackle. This is a unit that is going to continue to look to establish the run as we saw last year where they ran the ball 31 times in their first playoff game.

The Vikings run defense has been a unit that has been hit or miss for most of the season and on the year rank squarely in the middle allowing 99 yards rushing per game to opposing running backs. When they are good, they are one of the best units in football, but the issue is that there has been the inconsistent play that has led to five running backs topping 100 yards this season against the Vikings and as of late they have struggled allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game over the last five games. This is a very talented defense led by All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks and two All-Pro safeties in Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris, but he problem is that the defensive line is built to rush the passer with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter who when they commit to stopping the run are able to do so, but their primary focus is rushing the passer. This ultimately puts a lot of pressure on Anthony Barr who has struggled this year at defending the run consistently. Also, the Vikings get almost no run support from their corners as Xavier Rhodes has been one of the worst cornerbacks in football this season.

Saints Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Vikings defense.

Drew Brees and the Saints offense are peaking at the perfect time. Over the last seven weeks, Brees has thrown for three touchdowns or more in six of those games and has thrown 15 touchdowns over the last four weeks. Brees is completing 74.3% of his passes and a big reason is Michael Thomas who set the reception record with 147 receptions this season. This is an offense that is going to be difficult for any team to deal with as they have allowed just 25 sacks on the year which is the third-fewest amongst any team as Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead make it difficult for any defensive end as they are one of the best pairings of tackles in football this season giving Brees time which makes it incredibly difficult for defenses to defend Thomas. Jared Cook in this offense has turned largely into a deep threat as he has a catch for 20 yards or longer in nine straight games this year and has done it in every game except for one this season.

The Vikings secondary once lauded with Xavier Rhodes as one of the best cornerbacks in football has taken a downward turn over the second half of the season as Rhodes has been a liability since Week 6 the Vikings have allowed the ninth-most passing yards per game at 265 yards per game. The problem has been defending wide receivers as they are allowing the third-most yards per game to opposing wide receivers during that time with 181 yards and the most receptions per game to opposing wide receivers with 15. This is a unit that is still strong at the coverage linebackers and safeties as they have shut down opposing running backs and tight ends as Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris are two of the best safeties in the NFL with Eric Kendricks being one of the best linebackers in the NFL this season. Ultimately, the Vikings are going with a four-man rotation at the cornerback position trying to keep guys fresh to shut down opponents but it has not been working as Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackenzie Alexander, and Mike Hughes have all struggled as of late which could open up a big opportunity for Michael Thomas in this one.

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.0)21 (+1.0)20 (+1.0)21 (+0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (+0.2)17 (+0.1)18 (-0.4)17 (-0.3)
14Jimmy Garoppolo6726353494121032.632.629.132.1
15Jacoby Brissett561834165001709.
16Ryan Tannehill6217272723018026.426.423.723.7
17Kyle Allen025412950125014.314.311.311.3

Kirk Cousins (FanDuel: $7600, DraftKings: $6100)

15@ LAC62192520711314014.814.812.712.7
16vs GB541631122110009.
17vs CHI000000000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds22342431.30.9240.117.417.417.4 (H=37)17.4 (H=46)
18PROJ-Tremblay22342471.30.8240.117.717.717.7 (H=38)17.7 (H=47)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-4.2)6 (-3.6)4T (-4.0)6 (-4.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-1.3)14 (-1.7)16 (-1.3)13 (-2.3)
14Raheem Mostert40106912240122.924.923.924.9
14Matt Breida12654011405.
15Jordan Wilkins24310131707.
15Marlon Mack251119000001.
16Dion Lewis4315680211908.
16Dalyn Dawkins16924010002.
17Christian McCaffrey0926110772015.822.819.322.8
17Reggie Bonnafon0230223904.

Dalvin Cook (FanDuel: $8000, DraftKings: $7800)

15@ LAC28927033.01604.
16vs GB000000.000000.00.0
17vs CHI000000.000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds14670.53.7330.113.617.315.5 (H=28)17.3 (H=35)
18PROJ-Tremblay12540.43.429010.714.112.4 (H=19)14.1 (H=25)

Alexander Mattison (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4800)

15@ LAC000000.000000.00.0
16vs GB000000.000000.00.0
17vs CHI000000.000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds7300.11.31004.65.95.3 (H=6)5.9 (H=9)
18PROJ-Tremblay7290.11.91404.96.85.9 (H=8)6.8 (H=11)

C.J. Ham (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3100)

15@ LAC3015033.01301.
16vs GB1700042.01201.
17vs CHI024010.0000.
18PROJ-Dodds1301.1901.22.31.8 (H=1)2.3 (H=2)
18PROJ-Tremblay1301.0801.12.11.6 (H=1)2.1 (H=2)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+4.3)27 (+5.0)28 (+4.8)27 (+5.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+9.2)29 (+10.8)29 (+9.4)29 (+10.2)
14Emmanuel Sanders6397157100027.534.530.637.1
14Kendrick Bourne384318200013.816.815.316.8
15Zach Pascal45644400004.
15Marcus Johnson45423700003.
16Tajae Sharpe396569200018.923.921.423.9
16A.J. Brown6221340149114.315.314.815.3
17Brandon Zylstra0869600009.615.612.615.6
17DeAndrew White0523100003.

Stefon Diggs (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6600)

15@ LAC4664.076014081210.012.0
16vs GB4653.057100011.714.713.214.7
17vs CHI000.000000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds4.4720.3000913.411.2 (H=17)13.4 (H=27)
18PROJ-Tremblay4.3690.30108.813.111.0 (H=17)13.1 (H=26)

Adam Thielen (FanDuel: $6200, DraftKings: $6200)

15@ LAC3333.0270130364.56.0
16vs GB5040.0001200.
17vs CHI000.000000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds3.3460.30006.49.78.1 (H=12)9.7 (H=16)
18PROJ-Tremblay3.6500.30106.910.58.7 (H=13)10.5 (H=18)

Olabisi Johnson (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3500)

15@ LAC2611.01901602.
16vs GB2421.0600000.
17vs CHI043.03400003.
18PROJ-Dodds1.7170.10002.343.2 (H=2)4.0 (H=6)
18PROJ-Tremblay1.5170.10002.33.83.1 (H=2)3.8 (H=5)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)9 (-0.8)12T (-1.0)10 (-0.9)10 (-1.2)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)16 (-0.4)12 (-1.3)14 (-0.8)12T (-1.5)
14George Kittle628667112.718.715.718.7
15Jack Doyle46522102.
16Jonnu Smith514363112.315.313.815.3
17Ian Thomas0511201.

Kyle Rudolph (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3500)

15@ LAC3533.04804.
16vs GB3621.0700.
17vs CHI000.000000.00.0
18PROJ-Dodds2.5230.23.564.8 (H=6)6.0 (H=12)
18PROJ-Tremblay2.4220. (H=5)5.8 (H=12)

Irv Smith (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $2700)

15@ LAC4232.0816.
16vs GB3332.0400.
17vs CHI021.01101.
18PROJ-Dodds2.3200. (H=4)5.5 (H=14)
18PROJ-Tremblay2.3210. (H=5)5.6 (H=14)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-0.6)8 (-0.6)10 (-0.6) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-2.1)4 (-2.1)4 (-2.7) (+0.0)
14Robbie Gould2266121213.013.0
15Rigoberto Sanchez0000000.00.0
16Greg Joseph0044444.04.0
17Joey Slye1111444.04.0

Dan Bailey (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

15@ LAC4434151516.016.0
16vs GB1111444.04.0
17vs CHI4411131313.013.0

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-3.6)1 (-3.6)1 (-4.5)1 (-4.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-4.6)1 (-4.6)1 (-8.1)1 (-8.1)
14San Francisco 49ers464650010022-2.0-2.0
15Indianapolis Colts344240000000-1.0-1.0
16Tennessee Titans383773000033-1.0-1.0
17Carolina Panthers423791000011-3.0-3.0

Minnesota Vikings (FanDuel: $3900, DraftKings: $2200)

15@ LAC10.0034533401292927.027.0
16vs GB23.0038331200999.09.0
17vs CHI21.0033740110887.07.0
18PROJ-Dodds27.6040320.80.500. (H=10)5.8 (H=19)
18PROJ-Tremblay28.003612.40.90.500. (H=12)6.4 (H=22)

Vikings vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)9 (-2.5)9 (-2.6)8 (-2.6)9 (-2.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-8.2)1 (-8.2)1 (-8.3)1 (-8.0)
14David Blough7124402051200012.312.310.210.2
15Philip Rivers6228393071300016.416.411.315.3
16Aaron Rodgers772640216013-309.
17Mitchell Trubisky026372070021010.510.56.47.4

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8500, DraftKings: $6600)

15vs IND6029303074000031.431.428.331.3
16@ TEN682738279303-3025.725.722.922.9
17@ CAR01930253301-1024.624.622.022.0
18PROJ-Dodds253629120.7120.122.722.722.7 (H=52)22.7 (H=67)
18PROJ-Tremblay243625920.9230.1212121.0 (H=45)21.0 (H=59)

Taysom Hill (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4500)

15vs IND170000021010.312.311.312.3
16@ TEN2512200021104.
17@ CAR00000024010.911.911.411.9
18PROJ-Dodds000002100. (H=7)6.5 (H=11)
18PROJ-Tremblay003002120.1222.0 (H=1)2.0 (H=1)

Vikings vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-0.7)13 (-1.0)12 (-1.2)14 (-0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22 (+1.4)25 (+4.2)22 (+1.5)26 (+4.3)
14Bo Scarbrough341965031507.
14J.D. McKissic16120441601.
15Austin Ekeler307190756208.113.110.613.1
15Melvin Gordon257280753606.411.44.99.4
16Aaron Jones52231542326028.
16Jamaal Williams216330221905.
17David Montgomery0231131000017.317.317.320.3
17Tarik Cohen042001094406.415.410.915.4

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $8200, DraftKings: $7400)

15vs IND421466055.02308.913.911.413.9
16@ TEN441180276.0300232926.029.0
17@ CAR0839232.018017.719.718.719.7
18PROJ-Dodds13570.45.9460.213.919.816.9 (H=32)19.8 (H=47)
18PROJ-Tremblay12540.36.3450.212.919.216.1 (H=30)19.2 (H=45)

Latavius Murray (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $5000)

15vs IND22929032.02004.
16@ TEN25714032.01102.
17@ CAR01761011.01407.
18PROJ-Dodds8360.31.6140.17.498.2 (H=13)9.0 (H=17)
18PROJ-Tremblay7320.31.6120. (H=11)8.4 (H=15)

Vikings vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+2.2)26 (+4.6)26 (+3.1)26 (+4.7)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-2.3)22 (+1.8)17 (-0.3)22 (+1.8)
14Kenny Golladay678658100011.817.814.817.8
14Marvin Jones71733800003.
15Mike Williams529471100013.
15Keenan Allen581099900009.918.914.418.9
16Davante Adams621613116000011.624.616.126.6
16Allen Lazard58954500004.
17Allen Robinson01297101207.316.311.816.3
17Riley Ridley0435400005.

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $8900, DraftKings: $9300)

15vs IND481212.0128100018.830.824.833.8
16@ TEN611712.0136100019.631.625.634.6
17@ CAR094.03700003.
18PROJ-Dodds8.81140.60001523.819.4 (H=38)23.8 (H=52)
18PROJ-Tremblay8.41020.700014.422.818.6 (H=35)22.8 (H=48)

TreQuan Smith (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4000)

15vs IND4511.02110008.
16@ TEN3821.01300001.
17@ CAR055.056100011.616.614.116.6
18PROJ-Dodds1.7260.30004.46.15.3 (H=6)6.1 (H=11)
18PROJ-Tremblay1.3180.200034.33.7 (H=3)4.3 (H=6)

Ted Ginn (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3600)

15vs IND1911.01300001.
16@ TEN2510.000000000.00.0
17@ CAR021.0100000121.52.0
18PROJ-Dodds1.8270.20003.95.74.8 (H=6)5.7 (H=11)
18PROJ-Tremblay1.7240.20003.65.34.5 (H=5)5.3 (H=9)

Vikings vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-2.2)7 (-1.7)6 (-2.2)7 (-1.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-5.6)2 (-8.2)2 (-7.3)2 (-8.6)
14Jesse James38212302.
15Hunter Henry43222902.
16Jimmy Graham41111601.
17Eric Saubert0111001.

Jared Cook (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $4900)

15vs IND2844.05405.
16@ TEN3643.084220.423.421.923.4
17@ CAR022.044110.412.411.412.4
18PROJ-Dodds3.5510. (H=16)11.6 (H=28)
18PROJ-Tremblay3.3440.57.410.79.0 (H=13)10.7 (H=24)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3400)

15vs IND4711.0516.
16@ TEN4200.000000.00.0
17@ CAR053.03503.
18PROJ-Dodds1.0110. (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
18PROJ-Tremblay1. (H=1)2.5 (H=2)

Vikings vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (+0.3)11T (+0.3)19 (+0.3) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (-0.3)11T (-0.3)9 (-0.7) (+0.0)
14Matt Prater0111111.01.0
15Mike Badgley1111445.05.0
16Mason Crosby33019910.010.0
17Eddy Pineiro4411131313.013.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

15vs IND2244101010.010.0
16@ TEN1155889.09.0
17@ CAR0066666.06.0

Vikings vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-2.2)6 (-2.2)16T (-2.7)16T (-2.7)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10T (-2.1)10T (-2.1)16 (-0.6)16 (-0.6)
14Detroit Lions2035410000112.02.0
15Los Angeles Chargers3934401000221.01.0
16Green Bay Packers10139510007711.011.0
17Chicago Bears1930002100669.09.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3000)

15vs IND7.0020510000115.05.0
16@ TEN28.0039750100776.06.0
17@ CAR10.0032922101141418.018.0
18PROJ-Dodds20.103522.20.70.700. (H=19)9.2 (H=31)
18PROJ-Tremblay20.003482.20.80.700. (H=20)9.4 (H=32)