New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings, 9.30pm Sunday UK-time, US Bank Stadium
An NFC Wild Card weekend clash to savour.
The Giants have had a wretched run in recent seasons, and it’s brilliant to see them back in some sort of fettle. Those of us who recall Tom Coughlin’s Super Bowl teams of not that long ago see the NFL as a brighter place with a strong Giants presence within it.
Third place in the red-hot NFC East was good enough (9-and-7, 1 tie) for a playoff spot behind the Eagles and Cowboys, but the Vikings on the other hand turned the NFC North into a procession (13-and-4). The Division winners are of course therefore at home, and will be expected to prevail. Betting; Vikings 20/29, Giants 6/5. Game total points 47.5. Spread, Vikings -2.5 @ 5/6, Giants +2.5 @ Evs.
These two met just a few short weeks ago in this stadium, and it absolutely went to the wire. No surprise then to see the spread so competitive. This season’s stats tell us that Minnesota are marginally more potent on offence, but that New York look after the defensive side of things just a tad better. The Vikings are more likely to intercept, but the Giants are less likely to be intercepted.
Top offensive performers? NY have running back Saquon Barkley, and he’s certain to get plenty of carries. In the air QB Daniel Jones has targets like Richie James and Isaih Hodgins. As for Minnesota, it’s Kirk Cousins under centre, Dalvin Cook doing most of the heavy lifting, with Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson heading the receiving corps.
If we look at things incredibly literally, MIN score about 3 points per game more than their opponents today. The spread? 2.5. Go figure.
To summarise – brilliant to see NY in postseason, with a decent side, and a fair shout. MIN have home field, and plenty of incentive themselves. I’m going for a tight one, but a match that Minnesota will find a way to succeed in.
Selection – Vikings to win by 1-6 points inclusive @ 14/5, Vikings -2.5 @ 5/6, Game total under 47.5 @ 10/11