Vikings Look to Bounce Back on Thursday Night Against Undefeated Rams
After a chaotic Week 3 in the National Football League the Week 4 action gets started on Thursday evening as the travel to Los Angeles to take on Sean McVay and the undefeated Rams.
On paper, the Vikings had a layup last Sunday as 17-point home favorites against the winless Bills, but a game sandwiched between a divisional battle at Green Bay and a Thursday night tussle with the Rams resulted in one of the bigger upsets in recent NFL history, as Minnesota did little right in a 27-6 loss to Buffalo.
Head coach will not have much time to rally the troops with the short work week, but it is hard to imagine the Vikings not bouncing back off of such a lackluster performance against an inferior opponent in U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota turned the ball over 3 times, never got their running game going and had poor field position all day. They will need to turn things around quickly if they want to compete with the best team in the league through 3 weeks.
The Rams made some big moves in the offseason bringing in Brandin Cooks from the Patriots to help add explosiveness to the offense while also acquiring Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters to add serious talent to the defense. Through the first 3 games, Los Angeles is the current favorite to win Super Bowl LIII. Unfortunately, Talib and Peters went down during their 35-23 Week 3 victory over the Chargers and will not suit up for the showdown on Thursday night.
The injuries on the outside should give the Vikings a much-needed matchup advantage with the talent they possess at wide receiver. Adam Thielen spends a lot of time in the slot, but both he and Stefon Diggs, who was basically invisible last Sunday versus Buffalo, will present a formidable challenge for the banged-up Rams' secondary. If the Rams hope to keep the Vikings' offense in check, they will need to get to quarterback Kirk Cousins on Thursday night.
The Rams are currently listed as 6.5-point favorites for the Week 4 opener and the total is up to 49.5 after opening at 47 points.
With the defense at so many disadvantages in 2018 due to modifications in the rules, it is hard to endorse the UNDER in any game with capable quarterback play and talent on the outside. With the Rams down their top two corners and the Vikings potentially without star defensive lineman Everson Griffin who is dealing with mental health issues, it is even more difficult to go UNDER the total. That being said, this is a big game where both teams should be motivated on a short week of preparation for the offenses making the OVER a dicey proposition as well. I will pass on the total.
If Los Angeles was at full strength on defense I could see them making life extremely hard on Kirk Cousins and his below average offensive line, but with the Rams down their top 2 cornerbacks and Minnesota in a bounce-back spot, I expect the Vikings to keep this one close on Thursday night.
It is has been a great start to the 2018 season that includes a perfect 3 and 0 record on Thursday night. I will put that on the line with a small play on the underdogs to get Week 4 rolling.
Minnesota (+6.5) 1 unit
Year to date record:
11-3-1 (+6 units)