Football Against the Spread Picks Feature Desperate Saints Hosting Problem-Laden VikingsJosh Bailey
The Minnesota Vikings may have gotten an emphatic win in their 2014 season opener, but they’ve got more problems right now than the winless New Orleans Saints as both teams get set for their Week 3 matchup.
While both teams are coming of losses in their respective Week 2 contests, one team in this contest looks like a virtual lock to cash in this time around if you ask me.
Now let’s find out who.
My Football Against the Spread Pick
Minnesota at New Orleans
Time: 1:00 PM
Spread: New Orleans -9.5
Preview: Minnesota (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) spanked St. Louis 34-6 to win its 2014 regular season opener in emphatic fashion and cash in as a 3-point road dog with room to spare. Unfortunately, the Vikings looked nothing like the team that won their opener in Week 2 as they got man-handled in losing to New England 30-7 as a 3.5-point home underdog.
Minnesota quarterback Matt Cassel was sacked a whopping six times and completed just 19 of 36 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown. Unfortunately, Cassel also tossed four passes to guys in the wrong uniform in the loss.
The Vikings were held to a paltry 54 rushing yards in the loss – and that statistic will be highlighted even more now that the team is dealing with the national fallout from the Adrian Peterson child abuse scandal.
Despite Cassel’s struggles – and nation-wide calls to see rookie backup Teddy Bridgewater play, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has no plans on making a change at quarterback.
"I’m going to hold the quarterback position just like every position here to the same standard, and I also said I wasn’t going to have a quick hook," Zimmer said. "Matt needs to play better. It’s pretty obvious he needs to play better."
After dropping their 2014 regular season opener 37-34, New Orleans (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) suffered its second straight heartbreaking loss in falling to Cleveland 26-24 in Week 2 while failing to cover the spread as a 5-point road favorite.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 18, 2014
The Saints have been ‘beastly’ on offense as they rank third in total offense, sixth in passing, fifth in rushing and a stellar second in scoring (29.0 ppg). Unfortunately, the Saints are also ranked in the bottom third in every meaningful defensive statistical category. New Orleans is ranked 30th in total yards allowed, 32nd against the pass, 22nd against the run and a dismal 31st in points allowed (31.5 ppg).
Despite suffering their two losses by a combined five points, the Saints to a man, say a loss is a loss, no matter how many points they come by.
"Honestly, a loss is a loss. I don’t care what the points are," safety Kenny Vaccaro said. "As a secondary I feel like we played terribly these last two weeks and it doesn’t feel like (the losses) have been by a combined five points, I’ll tell you that."
Hall of Fame-bound quarterback drew Brees echoed those sentiments.
"It’s frustrating because we expect to win," Brees said. "You can point to one play in each of these games. We’re one play in each game from being 2-0 instead of 0-2. That hurts."
Just five teams have started a regular season 0-3 and gone on to reach the postseason, with the last time coming in 1998, so this is pretty much a must-win game for New Orleans.
Analysis: With Minnesota reeling from the Peterson scandal – and New Orleans in total desperation mode – I think the outcome of this contest – and accompanying ATS pick – are a virtual lock.
Sure, Minnesota is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games and an impressive 4-2 ATS in its last half-dozen road games, but the Saints have posted a seriously consistent 35-16 ATS in their last 51 home games and I expect them to win this Week 3 matchup and win it going away.