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Savage: The Rams are the unquestioned best team in the league at this point. Minnesota was a close second until they dropped a home game to the Bills. Do the Vikings rebound here, or do the Rams continue to assert their dominance?
Katz: I feel like all the cool kids are jumping on the Vikings are terrible narrative after losing at home to the Bills in spectacular fashion. So from that angle, I want to like the Vikings. My problem in doing that is I have a really difficult time doubting the Rams...ever. They just score all the time. They have the best offense in football. Sean McVay runs almost exclusively 11 personnel and the ball just goes to Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, or Cooper Kupp and no one else. He has his four best playmakers and they're the only ones who touch the ball. It's just a flawlessly executed offense. I have a difficult time seeing how they lose this game and if they're going to score 28-35 points, odds are they'll cover the touchdown.
RC: I'm the biggest Rams fan there is, but to Katz's point...you would almost have to take the Vikings +7.0 here. I'm no Vikings fan, but the Week 3 v. BUF was a joke...a comedy of errors that would never happen again that way in a million years...every fumble bounced to the Bills, their own and the Vikings' ones. This line is being swayed by last week's game...punishment for letting the Vikings letting everyone down...while Rams continue to cover week after week.
Had the Vikings beat Buffalo by 14-20 last week, as expected...this line would be -4-5 or closer. Had the Vikings won like that, I think they get killed by the Rams here, but after embarrassing losses...this is when NFL teams rise up the following week. I think this is an upset alert because of what happened to the Vikings last week PLUS the Rams losing their defensive firepower at CB.
I'd never bet real money against the Rams because they are the modern day Patriots...never bet against Brady, and never bet against Goff. At 6.5 I might go Rams just because but 7.0+ is just too much in NFL terms. Last week, the Chargers (who are a lot like the Vikings in a sense), were down all game but had chances at the end to get within one score despite getting thrashed. Laying 7.0 to a good team is pretty salty.
Rabbitt: I love the vikings to cover here for something that hasn't been talked about. Talib and Peters are both out. Thats a big deal. If either one is playing, I don't see how the vikings keep up, but you can't just lose two elite cover corners in one week and be the same defense. Diggs and Thielen should be running pretty free in the secondary. The only question is how much time the vikings oline gives cousins. Probably not enough to win, but enough to cover.
Skol: I’ve never been so confident that I want to pass on a game. I think it’s pretty clear the Vikings were gearing up for the Rams prior to the Buffalo game last week. Seems like it’s always a good idea to take a team that got beat as bad as the Vikings did last week, but who knows how this team responds to the Griffen issue. He’ll be missed on the field but is also a leader on the team. The dark clouds we predicted for the Vikings are circling. The Rams on the other hand not only have had a cupcake schedule but haven’t left California all season. I think the Rams are good but I’m not in the camp that the rest of the season is a formality leading to a Rams SB parade. Ultimately I don’t think this game will be close. I feel either the Vikings respond to adversity and win by 10 or the Rams stomp the Vikings and their Super Bowl odds get more ridiculous than they already are. I think I’m laying the 7 in our weekly picks and nowhere else.
RC: Anyone into the Teams travelling west for west coast night game have issues theory here? 11:30pm Central start time/game ends at 3:30am for the Vikings' body clocks?
Savage: Good point on the CB injuries, I probably should have led with that. Peters is questionable but sounds like he's unlikely to go. Does anyone have a sense of whether Sam Shields can still play after a year and a half out of football? If he can, he's an overqualified backup and could be a decent fill-in. One thing working in the Rams favor is the Vikings really only have two reliable WR's, so they might not be able to exploit the sudden lack of corner depth.
I like the Vikings at +7. I'd say they're worth a bet at +7.5, and it looks like the line is drifting in that direction. I think the Rams D is being overvalued a bit because they shut out Sam Bradford in week 2. The Raiders moved the ball pretty well against the Rams in week 1 and the Chargers were a play or 2 away from putting up 30 points last week. Now with two starting corners missing, I think the Vikings will be able to keep up with the Rams offense.
Skol: Teams that travel over 1500 miles over 2 time zones to play a Thursday Night Game are 1-13 straight up and 1-13 ATS (credit to Joe Fortenbaugh)...I think that goes back to when TNF started. Question is do you count what the Vikings did on Sunday as “playing”. If not, then the Vikings have prepped for 10 days for this game. Vikings coaches said before the Bills game that they were worried the team was not focused on Buffalo. Given the mid day steam we may see 8 by tonight and I have to flip to the Vikes in that case. I hate this team on grass but an outright MIN win wouldn’t even be one of the 5 most shocking results so far this year.
RC: Note on Sam Shields -- I've thought he's looked good in his spots this season and then played more Week 3. He looks fine.
Rabbitt: There is a difference between "fine" and "talib/peters". I think this makes the difference.
Katz: I want to think this game will be a shootout given how great the Rams are offensively and how depleted they are defensively. But this is still a Thursday night game. When I can get 7 points with a good team on Thursday night, I have to take it. I buy that look ahead narrative. The Vikings will bounce back in a big way tonight.