New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5): Game Picks

Jan 12, 2018

Can Drew Brees solve the Vikings defense?

Closing out the Divisional Round of the playoffs will be the Saints and Vikings in Minnesota Sunday afternoon (4:40 PM ET). This should be one of the better games with two teams playing well on both sides of the ball. This isn’t Drew Brees and Sean Payton’s first rodeo and you can be sure they’ll be ready to play. The Vikings at home are a tough matchup for any team though, and their 7-1 home record this season speaks to that (which happens to include a Week 1 win against the Saints).

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Despite playing one another at the start of the season, these are two very different teams after a full regular season. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore could both legitimately win Rookie of the Year awards. Case Keenum took over as the starting QB for the Vikings and they haven’t missed a beat after Sam Bradford’s injury. If you’re looking for stats, here’s a few to consider.

DVOA Defense Rank: Vikings (5) | Saints (8)
Passing Offense (Total Yards): Vikings (11) | Saints (5)
Rushing Offense (Total Yards): Vikings (7) | Saints (5)

These two teams match up incredibly well, but the experts are heavily leaning towards the Saints when picking against the spread. Find out why below.

More Game Picks:
Falcons at Eagles (+3)Titans at Patriots (-13.5)Jaguars at Steelers (-7)

New Orleans Saints (+4.5)

Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)


of Experts


of Experts

“I trust Drew Brees more than Case Keenum.”
Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)
“This is the hardest game to pick in the entire weekend. I think the Vikings ultimately win this game, but I think they will only win by a FG or less.”
Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Again, I love that we’re picking ATS here, because I’m not sold the Saints get away with a win. However, they’ve proven all year they can win in just about any fashion and they certainly FEEL like a title threat right now. Minnesota has increasingly looked a little less imposing with Case Keenum running the offense, too. That week one thrashing by the Vikes seems distant and I think this game is decided by a late FG, one way or another.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)
“The Saints are my pick to win the Super Bowl. Even in a game where Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram struggled, we saw vintage Drew Brees against the Panthers. The future Hall of Fame QB can still get the job done if asked to do so and finally has a semblance of a defense.”
Frank Stampfl (RotoExperts)
“Two forces collide in Minnesota this weekend as the high-powered Saints face a tough Vikings defense. I think this game will remain close enough for the Saints to cover, with the Vikings ultimately winning to remain on track for a first-ever “home game” for the Super Bowl.”
Adam Sutton (DraftStars)
“Drew Brees is much better at home, but the game is indoors so the Saints offense should be fine. That is unless the Vikings defense dominates the action. Not sure who I think wins, but the points with Brees, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram works.”
Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
“The Vikings have been truly impressive this year, and their defense will test Brees and the Saints to the limit in this game – but it will likely be too hard for the Vikings to keep up with the Saints’ explosiveness on two fronts in this one.”
David Biggs (Drink Five)
“If you want excitement this weekend, watch this game. Two very good, balanced teams. The Vikings might have the home field advantage but the Saints have far more experience. Case Keenum is going to play in his first playoff game. Although Minnesota’s defense is one of the best, I don’t think they can stop Kamara and Ingram.”
Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)
“Great job by the Vikings on a great regular season but the glass slipper is coming off their Cinderella story in the playoffs.”
Bill Enright (FFChamps)
“I might be giving the Saints’ defense too much credit relative to recent performance, but this matchup feels very even, so I want the points.”
Greg Smith (TwoQBs)
“Minny wins but the Saints cover.”
Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)
“The Saints defense has been getting great pressure on the quarterback lately and I see that continuing this week in Minnesota. Case Keenum has had a great season but will be pressured into an untimely turnover or two. Give me Brees and the potent Saints offense this week.”
Walton Spurlin (Pro Football Focus)
“Back to the defense wins championships mantra. The Saints vastly improved defense keeps them competitive in every contest, and I expect this game to come down to a field goal.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“This was a toss up for me, with the winner the clear favorite to make the Super Bowl. I’ll take the points.”
Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)
“Minnesota gives up the fewest points and yards, while the Saints are the league’s 4th highest scoring offense. Something has to give. Case Keenum has played well this season, but in what I expect to be a close game, I’ll take the points with the team with the more proven quarterback. ”
Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)
“The last time the Saints and Vikings met in the playoffs, Brett Favre was still playing. This was in the days of the bounty scandal where Brett Favre and Kurt Warner were targets for hit money in the 2009 playoffs. That was then; this is now. I think the Saints are red-hot and if they stay that way, could win the Super Bowl. It is their pass rush which continues to astonish. Yes, they nearly allowed Cam Newton a chance to rally for a late win, but they still came up with a big shutdown and won the game. Drew Brees is playing great playoff football right now and his weaponry is so diverse that even a defense as stout as the Vikings will ultimately collapse. The Vikings and Case Keenum will not be able to play from behind, so they need to keep Brees off the field with long drives. If they don’t, then Keenum cannot hope to do even as much as Cam Newton did to try and rally against these Saints.”
Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Line is getting too high, all the value is with the Saints. But the Vikings are clearly the NFC’s best team.”
Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)
“There are a lot of other players who will influence the outcome of this game, but if you can get Drew Brees plus 4.5 points against Case Keenum then I’m taking the guy who’s won a Super Bowl.”
Matthew Freedman (FantasyLabs)
“These are just a few too many points to be giving a Drew Brees-led team against a Case Keenum-led squad. Minny’s 10-point win over the Saints is practically ancient history, given that it was in Week 1, while New Orleans still had Adrian Peterson around to siphon work away from Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara (that problem has been more than fixed), and while Sam Bradford was looking lethal as the Vikes’ starter.”
Des Bieler (The Washington Post)
“The hottest team might be the Saints. They are going against a tough defense. However, the Saints’ defense is no joke either. They should be able to handle business.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)
“It was a long time ago, but the Saints lost their first game of the 2017 regular season to the Vikings in Minnesota on September 11. Of course, Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook were on fire that game and both will be on the sideline this game. Even with Case Keenum’s consistent play, I think the New Orleans defense does enough in this one to keep the Saints within striking distance and to cover the spread.”
Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)
“I’m a Packers fan, so this is probably just wishful thinking on my part, along with a wink and a nod to the Vikings’ history of self-immolation in the playoffs. Injuries have chipped away at the New Orleans defense, and even an offense as good as the Saints’ might not be able to pierce the Vikings’ defense up in Minneapolis. But the Vikings seem to have playoff meltdowns in their DNA, so …”
Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
“This game is so evenly matched all over the place that I believe it’ll come down to a turnover or 2. And I’ll take Drew Brees over Case Keenum on that front.”
Matt Schauf (Draft Sharks)
“If Terron Armstead doesn’t play for the Saints, I’d switch this pick. That is how close I expect this one to be. Keenum seems to have lost his confidence otherwise I’d take MIN by 7 or more.”
Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“This game is likely to come down to a field goal, one way or another. If there’s one game from this weekend where the teams are evenly matched, it’s this one. While the Vikings should pull it out, 4.5 points seems like too much.”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

“I picked New Orleans to reach the conference championship before the season. I’ve owned the 90,000 things I got wrong, so I’m claiming this one. It was fun to talk about Drew Brees as the “fallback option” ahead of last week’s game. He torched the Panthers while the run game struggled. This Minnesota team is deeper and strong at every level. And, the Saints don’t have to try and force the ball to Adrian Peterson like they did back in Week 1. Questions remain about Case Keenum in a big spot against a strong Saints defense. I believe the Vikings get the win, but I’ll take the Saints and the points.”
Mike Harmon (Swollen Dome)

“Unlike the Falcons that need to venture out of the dome to the fridged weather, the Saints just travel to another dome in Minnesota. The Saints have the better QB and running game which should be the difference in a game with two strong defenses. Winner of this game I expect to be coming back to Minnesota for the Super Bowl.”
Brad Richter (Going For 2)
“For a second straight week the NFL has left the best game for last and in doing so leaves us with perhaps the most difficult game to handicap. The Saints pose the best running game of any team playing this weekend by far versus the NFL’s 2nd best run & pass defense. The Wild Card round taught us that against a stout Panthers run defense Drew Brees can still win games with his arm when New Orleans needs him to. The Vikings beat the Saints 29-19 in week one but I toss that game completely as both Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook had huge games in that one and as we all know both of those players will be sideline spectators on Sunday afternoon. The wildcard here is journeyman QB Case Keenum who is in the NFL MVP discussion since replacing Bradford. I love the angle of playing the ‘over’ in playoff games played inside a dome stadium and it cashed once again last week when the Saints played at home vs Carolina. I think we get one step closer to making history here as no team prior to this season has ever played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium—the Vikings can accomplish that feat with just two more wins in the friendly home confines of US Bank Stadium.”
Staff Rankings (ScoutFantasy)
“Want to take the superior quarterback? I won’t blame you. However, the Saints lost three of their final six regular-season games, and they were closer than you think to getting eliminated by the Panthers. Keep rolling toward that home Super Bowl, Vikes.”
John Halpin (
“Love the Vikings this year.”
James Hatfield (Hatty Waiver Wire Guru)
“The Saints are probably happy facing the Vikings in the temperature-controlled U.S. Bank Stadium as opposed to meeting the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, and they have every right to be, as indoors works to the advantage of their high-powered offense. But playing indoors versus a Vikings defense (that I won’t bet against) is far from satisfying. This should be a close game, and I fully expect Drew Brees to keep it close, but I lack the confidence in him keeping it close enough to cover the spread. The only way I see this game getting out of hand is if Michael Thomas exploits Xavier Rhodes, or the Saints defense exploits Case Keenum. Otherwise, this will be the game of the week.”
Robert Waziak (Pyromaniac)
“In their eight games at home the Vikings have only let up 8 total TDs, the Vikings defense is on par with the Jags defense this year and playing at home gives them a distinct advantage. Xavier Rhodes will most likely shadow cover Michael Thomas and the only TDs Rhodes gave up this year were to Marvin Jones on Thanksgiving. I like McKinnon stealing the show this week, the best way to attack the Saints is through the pass-catching back. Last week they gave up 6 receptions for 101 yards and a TD to Christian McCaffrey.”
Kevin Wheeler (NFL Mock)

* Lock symbols represent the expert’s most confident game pick.

Thank you to the experts for giving their against the spread picks. Enjoy the playoffs!

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