Cardinals vs. Vikings Odds, NFL Predictions, Betting Preview: Fade Minnesota In Week 2?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray.
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- Our betting analyst also previews the NFL Week 2 matchup, complete with a pick on the spread.
|Cardinals Odds||-4 (-110)|
|Vikings Odds||+4 (-110)|
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The 2021 NFL season sure didn’t start as expected for either of these teams.
The Cardinals were road underdogs heading to Tennessee as what looked like the worst team in the NFC West, but Arizona put on a show. The Cards ran the Titans out of the arena, ravaging their offensive line and getting five touchdowns from Kyler Murray as the star QB vaulted all the way to second-favorite for MVP at most books.
The Vikings were favorites in Cincinnati but never really got the gears moving. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase lit up a remade Minnesota secondary, and the Vikings barely even got the game into overtime before losing there.
Before those surprise results in Week 1, the Cardinals were -1.5 at home in the Week 2 lookahead line. Now that line has moved three points in Arizona’s favor before starting to regress once again.
So do we trust what we saw in Week 1, or are we fading the overreaction to a small sample size?
Vaunted Vikings D Looks Average At Best
On paper, the Vikings looked like a playoff team entering the season.
The offense has plenty of weapons. Dalvin Cook is one of the league’s finest running backs, while Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are an outstanding wide receiver duo. Kirk Cousins gets a lot of crap but is consistently an above-average or even good quarterback in virtually every metric.
The defense looks even better. Minnesota retooled the defensive line after a horrifying run D killed the team last season. Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson — plus the return of a healthy Danielle Hunter — give Minnesota a loaded defensive line, and the Vikings’ remade the secondary too. Patrick Peterson, Breshaud Breeland and Mackensie Alexander were supposed to improve things mightily at corner.
So how did it all go so wrong in Week 1? It was two of the areas the team has tried and failed to address for years: the offensive line and the corners.
The line was absolutely horrendous. Minnesota had three false starts and a holding penalty on the first drive alone. The Vikings finished with eight penalties on the line, plus three others that were declined. The offense faced third and 24, 20, 24, 15, 11 and 26, and that was barely a few minutes into the second half. The Vikings spent a first-round pick on Christian Darrisaw at left tackle, but he’s been hurt and only just started practicing this week.
The corners were terrible too. Cincinnati didn’t attack Peterson much, but it didn’t have to. Breeland got lit up and said as much after the game, and the secondary didn’t look any better than last year. What was supposed to be a vaunted defense and one of the league’s finest looked average at best. Minnesota is missing Anthony Barr, and the D just didn’t click.
If the Vikings were that bad against a poor Cincinnati team, how will they do against a far more talented Cardinals squad?
Cardinals Played Up To Roster Talent Level
Unlike the Vikings, the Cardinals looked awesome in Week 1. Arizona had a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, rolling the Titans with a dominating 38-13 victory.
It was all working for the Cardinals. Chandler Jones had as good a game as any defender will have all season, racking up an incredible 5.0 sacks. Five! That’s a full season for most players, and a good one. The J.J. Watt addition paid immediate dividends, and the Arizona front seven was in the Tennessee backfield all game long. That Titans line is pretty solid too, and the Cards made it look like Swiss cheese.
The offense had everything working too. Murray looked untouchable, scrambling around in the pocket and picking apart an admittedly beatable Titans secondary. Murray threw for 289 yards and four scores and added another one on the ground, and Arizona’s many receiving weapons were on display. Christian Kirk had a pair of scores, and so did star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Rookie Rondale Moore made some explosive plays too, and that was all without even getting much from WR acquisition A.J. Green.
The thing about the Cardinals is that the talent on this team is clear. Murray is a former No. 1 pick, and Hopkins is as good as any wideout in the league. The run game isn’t too exciting but the blocking is good and there are all those passing weapons. The defense has plenty of talent too. Watt and Jones are awesome up front, and the D is stout from front to back, with Budda Baker a star safety.
The truth is that, on paper, these units are both average or above average. It’s just that the coaching has held this team back and made it less than the sum of its parts, with Kliff Kingsbury a major question mark. But Kingsbury was pulling the right strings in Week 1, while Mike Zimmer’s Vikings look more and more outdated by the year with precious little pre-snap movement or creativity on either end.
If you believe in Mike Zimmer, it’s hard not to like the Vikings here. Minnesota has been terrific outside of its division under Zimmer and even better after a loss. If you trust the Vikings, you should be grateful for Week 1 overreactions moving this line above a field goal and grab that line while it’s there.
I do not trust the Vikings.
This is a team that could have had a great season if everything on paper worked out, but it also felt like things could go the other direction in a hurry. The team was never healthy in preseason, and the entire QB room didn’t get time with the team because of COVID protocol. Zimmer and Cousins were already openly feuding at halftime of Week 1, and you have to wonder if the Vikings still believe in their QB or their coach.
The public is all over the Cardinals, and this is a classic overreaction spot. Most of our team at The Action Network is backing the Vikings. But sometimes the public is right, and I think the Week 1 reactions are spot on in this case. Something is rotten in Minnesota. This feels like a game where everything goes wrong again and all the Monday morning shows are talking about the end of the Cousins and Zimmer era in Minnesota.
It doesn’t help matters that the Vikings have usually struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks either. If Murray has a huge game against this talented defense, he could be the early season MVP favorite.
Everyone’s on the Cardinals, but I’m fading the faders and sticking with the public. Sometimes the overreaction is exactly right. Minnesota has major struggles on the line and at corner, and that’s exactly where Arizona is built to beat them. Take the Cardinals and take the points.
Pick: Cardinals -3.5 (+100) at PointsBet