49ers vs. Vikings Odds, Picks, Predictions For NFL Week 12: Bet These Kirk Cousins and Deebo Samuel On Sunday
Getty Images. Pictured: Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (left to right)
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
With identical 5-5 records, the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers are firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff hunt.
Minnesota occupies the sixth playoff spot, while the 49ers are currently seventh. Both teams come into this matchup on a two-game winning streak, and it’s difficult to say who’s playing better football at the moment.
Four of the Vikings’ five losses have been by four points or fewer, while the 49ers looked impressive in a dominant 31-10 victory over the Rams two weeks ago before crushing the Jaguars. San Francisco has also allowed no more than 10 points in each of its last two games during this current winning streak.
As enticing as this game might be, I prefer to take this opportunity to learn more about both teams. Thus, I won’t get involved in the side or total. Instead, I’ve got my sights set on two player props in the game just to keep things a bit interesting.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Vikings vs. 49ers Injury Report
- DE Everson Griffen (personal): Out
- S Camryn Bynum (ankle): Questionable
- S Josh Metellus (personal): Questionable
- OL Wyatt Davis (ankle): Questionable
- RB JaMycal Hasty (ankle): Out
- DL Maurice Hurst (calf): Doubtful
- RB Elijah Mitchell (rib/finger): Questionable
Vikings vs. 49ers Matchup
|Vikings Offense||DVOA Rank||49ers Defense|
|Vikings Defense||DVOA Rank||49ers Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Can Kirk Cousins Continue to Play Mistake-Free Football For Vikings?
At times, it seems like the Vikings have done just about everything in their games except win.
This season, Minnesota is the only team in the league to hold a lead of seven or more points in each game. That’s what makes its 5-5 record such a head-scratcher.
However, one thing they haven’t had to question has been the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins. While his 58.8 Total QBR might not catch your attention, Cousins is probably in the midst of his best year in the league. Keep in mind that Total QBR incorporates all of a quarterback’s contributions to winning. Since the Vikings have struggled at times in the fourth quarter, his numbers do take a bit of a hit.
However, in terms of the parts of his game Cousins can control, I’d say he’s done a pretty good job given the circumstances. Per rbsdm.com, Cousins ranks fourth with a 71.4% completion rate among quarterbacks with at least 192 plays this season. He’s even outperformed his expected completion rate, which is listed at 69.0%.
There’s a reason why the Vikings are ranked second in offensive pass DVOA. Of all quarterbacks who’ve attempted at least 120 passes, Cousins has thrown the fewest interceptions. You’d have to go back to Week 5 to find the last time the former Michigan State quarterback threw a pick. On Sunday, he’ll be up against a 49ers defense that has forced the second-fewest interceptions this season.
Peter Panacy of NinerNoise.com recently expanded on San Francisco’s Wide-9 defensive scheme, and I suspect it’s partly to blame for why the 49ers struggle to create interceptions.
The Wide-9 scheme allows defensive ends to line up far enough away from opposing tackles to create individual matchups while eliminating the offensive line’s ability to double team the pass rushers. However, the problem is that it often takes pass rushers a little longer to reach the quarterback in this alignment. And if that’s the case, it could prove to be unsuccessful against Cousins, given that he has the second-lowest sack rate (3.6%) in the league behind only Tom Brady.
49ers’ Game Plan Could Limit Deebo Samuel
The 49ers’ impressive victory over the Rams could be a blueprint for them the rest of the season. San Francisco ran roughshod over Los Angeles with 156 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only threw the ball 19 times, and we could see a similar game plan against the Vikings.
The Vikings can be vulnerable in stopping the run as they’re 27th in DVOA in this category. If we look at the raw numbers, the Vikings are 28th in allowing 127 rushing yards per game, and that’s up to 141.3 over the last three games. Now, if we assess them per rush attempt, we’ll find that they’re at the bottom of the league in allowing 4.8 yards per carry.
With the 49ers as the home team, I’d expect them to try to control the game’s tempo, and the best way to do that would be to run the ball. Given the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, I don’t think either coach will let the opponent get too far in front in this game.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the 49ers tried to get WR Deebo Samuel more involved in the game by getting him some touches in the backfield. The 49ers have struggled with injuries at the running back position, and Samuel could help spell Elijah Mitchell, who’s questionable with a rib and ringer injury. Moreover, if Samuel gets more touches in the backfield, he might be slightly less productive in the passing game.
Even when Samuel is flanked out wide, he’ll likely be matched up with Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson has a 61.1 PFF coverage grade, but something tells me he’ll be up to the challenge. Peterson is a stickler for the details, and I like the competitiveness of a cornerback who enjoys the occasional spat with PFF when they incorrectly ding him on allowed catches that aren’t his responsibility.
49ers vs. Vikings Picks, Predictions
It’s time to pay off the tease, so I’ve got two player props in this game with Cousins not throwing an interception at -140 and for Samuel to go under 5.5 receptions (-120) for the reasons mentioned above. We could easily be in for another tightly-contested game.
After all, those seem to be the only types of games the Vikings play nowadays. At best, this game feels very much like a coin flip to me, so that’s why I’m passing on the side and total altogether. Instead, I’ve decided to split my unit of action between the two player props I outlined.
Pick: Kirk Cousins Interception Under 0.5 (-140) | Bet to: (-145)
Bonus Pick: Deebo Samuel Under 5.5 Receptions (-120) | Bet to: (-130)
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