The final game of the NFL Divisional Playoffs features the New Orleans Saints (11-5 Overall, 4-4 Away) at the Minnesota Vikings (13-3 Overall, 7-1 Home). The game, which will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN will kick today, Sunday, Jan. 14, at 4:40 p.m. E.T. and will determine who will play the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship. Our New Orleans plays Minnesota 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game pick offers the Vikings at anywhere from -4.5 to -5.5 and the over/under at 46.5. The Saints, who took the NFC South, have made it this far by beating the Carolina Panthers 31-26. The Vikings won the NFC North and got a bye for the first week of the playoffs. The come to this contest with a three-game winning streak.
New Orleans Overview
The Saints, who are led by veteran QB Drew Brees (72.0 COMP%, 22 TDs, 8 INTs), are fourth in the league in points per game, averaging 28.0, and fifth in rushing and passing yards per game with 129.4 and 261.8 respectively. Brees is having a fine season and has a deep group of receivers. WR Mark Ingram (104 REC, 1,245 YDs, 12.0 AVG, 5 TDs) is the team’s top receiver, while Ted Ginn Jr. (53 REC, 787 YDs, 14.8 AVG, 4 TDs) is an effective target. Two dual-threat players, rookie Alvin Kamara and veteran Mark Ingram are fine receivers and rushers. Kamara has 826 receiving yards and 728 rushing yards and a total of 13 TDs. Ingram, the team’s leading rusher who is averaging 4.9 YPA and has accumulated 1,124 rushing yards and 12 TDs, has caught 58 passes for 416 yards. This is a dynamic, multifaceted offense.
The New Orleans defense has been very good, as they have limited opponents to 20.4 per game, which is 10th in the league. They are 16th against the run, giving up 111.4 yards per game, and 15th versus the pass, allowing 224.8 yards per game. They have defended 99 passes and made 20 interceptions. Their sacks total 42, their TFL 52, and FF 19. CB Marshon Lattimore has gathered in five picks while defending 18 passes. DE Cameron Jordan, who is listed as questionable, leads the team with 13 sacks. He has also defended 11 passes and forced two fumbles.
- Drew Brees is smart, seasoned, and accurate
- Diverse offense with numerous weapons
- Defense is sound overall and solid against the pass
The Vikings are averaging 23.9 PPG (10th NFL). They are seventh in rushing yards with 122.3 per game and 11th in passing yards with 234.6 per game. QB Case Keenum (67.6 COMP%, 22 TDs, 7 INTs) has managed to play well overall. He comes to this playoff game with no postseason experience and will be tested today. He does have a very fine group of pass catchers to toss to that includes WRs Adam Thielen (91 REC, 1,276 YDs, 14.0 AVG, 4 TDs) and Stefon Diggs (64 REC, 849 YDs, 13.3 AVG, 8 TDs) and TE Kyle Rudolph (57 REC, 532 YDs, 9.3 AVG, 8 TDs). RBs Latavius Murray (216 ATT, 842 YDs, 3.9 AVG, 8 TDs) and Jerick McKinnon (150 ATT, 570 YDs, 3.8 AVG, 3 TDs) are the prime ground gainers.
This season no defense has allowed fewer points per game than Minnesota’s. They are allowing opponents just 15.8 PPG. Teams are rushing for 83.6 YPG and passing for 192.4 YPG; both of which place them second in the NFL. Although the Vikings are accomplished at keeping teams out of the end zone, their stats are primarily average or as they have 37 sacks, 14 interceptions, and 11 FF as well as 48 TFL and 69 PD. DE Everson Griffen, who is questionable for today’s game, has 13 sacks, three TFL and three FF, while safety Harrison Smith comes to this game with 78 tackles, five picks and 12 PD.
- Keenum has played well
- Fine receiving group and rush attack
- Defense gives up few points.
Three 2018 NFC Divisional Sunday Playoff Takeaways
In creating our New Orleans plays Minnesota 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game pick, we offer these three takeaways:
- Don’t underestimate Saints pass rush
- QB edge Saints
- Vikings hold home field and defensive tenacity edge
Our Sunday, Jan 14 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff Pick
The Vikings come to this playoff game rested and ready to go. The Saints bring a diverse offense to the field that should test Minnesota’s very tough D. New Orleans has some very fine defensive numbers that includes an effective pass rush. Our New Orleans plays Minnesota 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game pick is the Saints at +5.5 and over 46.5.