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2018 Vikings Schedule Discussion (Part 3 of 4)
Two handicapping enthusiasts (RC Fischer and the Notorious ‘Skol’ from our handicapping group/Vikings enthusiast) going through an NFL team’s schedule to examine the logic of betting early win total over/unders and division title bets, etc. We are going back and forth on email and the transcripts of that are below. Just casual conversation as-is, so forgive any typos, misspells, etc.
And now, a look at the Minnesota Vikings 2018 schedule in four parts (because it’s near 5,000 words total…and to build the drama!!)…
**2018 Vikings Schedule Discussion (Part 3 of 4)**
SKOL: Week 5 @ PHI - The Vikings can have revenge on their minds all they want but they are not a good team on the road outdoors. Vikings lost 21-10 in 2017 at Philadelphia as well. Maybe we get an all-time effort from the Vikings to score revenge but I can’t make that my base case scenario for this game. I have to book a week 5 loss. So that has me at 1-3-1. Yikes. I believe you are 2-3 as we head home to host Sam Bradford (hopefully at QB and not holding a clip board).
RC: If it wasn't for the THU night aspect, at home, I'd pick the Vikes with a road win here too. MIN coming off an easy game with BUF, the Rams scrapping with physical LAC. Cousins struggled with LAR last year, and the Rams D should be better this year. I don't like that McVay knows Cousins so well and halted him last year before the Rams really hit their stride. Coin flippish game to the Rams...just unlucky for MINN the game is TNF at LA -- sending MINN to 1-3 and some panic starting to set in.
I want to give Minnesota a win against Philly, but it's asking a lot...the poor Vikings will have played 3 of 4 games on the road and all the road games against the top teams in football. They're getting screwed by the schedule early...and later 'at Seattle' and 'at NE' back-to-back. Great teams are hard to beat at home...so the Vikings are very much in danger of falling to 1-4. I fall back on my 'Zimmer can't stop great QBs' and Jimmy G., Rodgers, Goff the first few weeks is a problem for any defense. Wentz not Foles + revenge + 10 days off...I'm going to give Minny the win here. I can't see Minnesota falling to 1-4, whether they beat the Rams or Eagles. Let's put them 2-3 after 5 weeks, but 1-4 is lurking for sure.
SKOL: After a tough first 5 weeks we get a couple of games to catch our breath and grab a couple of wins.
Week 6 the Vikings return home to host the Cardinals. My initial feeling here was that this was a solid win for our projected purposes. I know you are higher on the Cardinals this year than I am but with a look ahead line of Vikings (-10.5) can you make a case? I believe the line will be lower the week before the game...maybe 7.5-8? Even if the Cards are going to threaten a wild card I think @ Min is a tall order.
Week 7 @NYJ the Vikes are (-4). Of all the Vikings road games I think this is the most likely win. The Jets were talking about potentially taking the Pats down in the AFC East but the draft didn’t go their way as they most likely ended up with a QB boobie prize instead of Baker Mayfield. Boy, Mayfield’s personality (and talent) would have been such a great fit here. The Jets are the lowest rated team in Madden ‘18...who am I to argue with a Hall of Famer?
I am comfortable projecting 2 wins to bring me to 3-3-1...4-3 if you agree the we get both of these games.
RC: I like ARI as a 'tough out' all season, but you have to like MIN at home against them. Although, Bradford facing MIN will be interesting...does he know how to work that Zimmer defense or does Zimmer know how to work Bradford? Oh, who am I kidding...Bradford will tear something by Week 2 and the Vikes face Josh Rosen, and then you don’t want your rookie QB against Zimmer.
I also project Minny to beat a tougher-than-expected (this year) Jets team. The Jets just don't have the horses. I am at 4-3, and things are about to get very ugly for the Vikings due to this oppressive schedule they have.
A two-game home stand with Saints-Lions. I say that's a 1-1 stretch however you slice it. Can't beat the firepower of NO or beats NO in revenge and is spent and gets caught napping to the Lions. What say you?
SKOL: On my long ride home, I heard a podcast that listed ARI as one of the bottom five O-lines in the league. If that turns out to be true, then maybe they will be (+10.5) @ MIN. US Bank is not a place you want to travel with a bad O-line.
Another note: the Vikings announced that they will induct Dennis Green into the ring of honor this season. I thought for sure it would be during the Saints game (SNF) which I think means something...but no, they will do it in Sept vs the Bills so no sneaky lift for the ‘18 team from that.
Week 8 hosting the Saints - I initially had the Saints as the second half of my 1-1 split of home games with the 49ers. The opening line for NO @ MIN is Vikings (-4). I can’t imagine a bigger revenge spot and I want Brees and Co +4 right now. The playoff game was 17-0 at the half but the Vikings only dominated the first quarter. Ginn had a TD called back and a few plays later Brees had a tipped ball that was picked in the red zone and I believe the Saints missed a FG as well. The Saints come off a BYE, play at BAL, then at MIN followed by home vs the Rams. On paper this is the toughest part of their schedule and even with the Rams next I have to believe this Viking game is circled. I agree with your 1-1 because I think the Saints will win here but...
Week 9 hosting the Lions - Opening line is MIN (-7) and I think it’s a bargain. This needs to be booked as a solid win IMHO. I am not a Matt Patricia fan. The Lions have some talented players on defense, but Patricia has shown very little to lead me to believe that they will be put in position to succeed. We could be looking at a 3-4 win team with the poor Lions. I think one of the wins could be at home vs SEA the week before...I’m betting against two of those wins coming back to back.
So, if my accounting is correct we are both in sync at 5-4 (I allocated by 50/50 games to a win and a loss).
Now we hit the BYE week before traveling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears.
-- Part 4 tomorrow --