Up until the last few weeks, the Minnesota Vikings looked like they might be one of the best teams in the NFC, but have dropped two of their last three after going on a five game winning streak. Heading into Thursday Night Football, the point spread is favoring the 10-2 Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are riding a six game winning streak and look to push that number to seven heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
Thursday Night Football: Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals
Point Spread: Cardinals -7 Over/under: 45.5 Date: Thursday, December 10, 8:25pm ET Location:University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, AZ
Last week’s blowout loss to Seattle has many believing the Vikings simply aren’t as good as their record would indicate. Teddy Bridgewater has struggled to find time to throw behind poor offensive line play despite getting huge support from Adrian Peterson and the running game. The offensive line has given up 35 sacks this season, one of the worst in the league. Without good protection, this +7 underdog Vikings offense will go nowhere against the Cardinals, who’s ranked fourth in the league in yards allowed at just 316 per game.
At the beginning of the season, it looked like the Vikings may have one of the best defenses in the league, but they have struggled against teams with winning records. They have a big task in stopping Arizona’s offense, which is statistically the best in the league. Minnesota has done well against the pass, which should match up nicely against the Cardinals’ high-flying offense. Where they could see trouble is against the run, where they’re giving up an average of 115 yards per game.
Facing the league’s leading rusher in Peterson is a favorable match up for this Cardinals’ defense who is allowing just 89 yards rushing per game. Taking the running game away will all but stifle the Vikings chances of moving the ball effectively. While Arizona has only tallied 21 sacks on the year, they could see a boost in those numbers facing a Minnesota offensive line that has done a poor job of protecting the quarterback.
While the Vikings have managed good numbers against the pass, the Cardinals are currently putting up league highs in points and total yards. While the running game took a hit with Chris Johnson’s season-ending injury, they have one of the best receiving corps in the league with Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd. Arizona simply needs to play the football they’re capable of playing to get the win against a Vikings team that is trending downward.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
This may have been a closer game earlier in the season, but the Cardinals are simply playing some of the best football in the league and look to be the most complete team right now. If Minnesota gets better offensive play than they have in the last few weeks, they could make it interesting, but it’s hard to pick against Arizona in their own house.