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NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Host Redskins on Thursday Night Football

The Vikings will host the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota looks to move to 6-2 on the young 2019 season with a victory in primetime.

Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:

Vikings 33, Redskins 13 — Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

The shackles are off Kirk Cousins. The Vikings are allowing the QB to throw deep in traditional Zimmerian running situations, like in the final minutes against the Lions last week. That's a great sign, but it's even better that Cousins has hit more wow throws in the last two weeks than any quarterback except Aaron Rodgers. Kid Cousins leads the NFL in yards per attempt, touchdown percentage and quarterback rating, partly because he's being afforded more time to throw on play-action passes. Even with Adam Thielen out on Thursday night, the emergence of tight end Irv Smith, Jr., should allow Cousins to keep the pedal down against an ordinary Redskins defense that doesn't excel at coverage or rushing the passer. In short: Kirk Cousins Revenge Game > Adrian Peterson + Case Keenum Revenge Game.

Vikings 28, Redskins 10—Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

This is the revenge game for Kirk Cousins against his former team. They decided to let him walk, and now he's lighting it up for the Vikings the past three weeks. It will stay that way here. The Vikings keep it going.

Vikings 30, Redskins 13—Tadd Haislop, Sporting News

Though he is on a hot streak, Kirk Cousins doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to these prime-time games, especially one in which all eyes will be trained on the Vikings quarterback playing against the team that let him hit free agency a couple years ago. That would matter if his former squad was pretty much any team but the Redskins. Washington is awful, and because of the mismatch its run defense faces against Dalvin Cook and Co., Cousins won't need to do much.

Vikings 35, Redskins 14 —Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

The NFL has had a string of blowouts in prime time, and I think this will be another one. The Vikings should win easily.

Vikings 30, Redskins 17—Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

Kirk Cousins returns to prime time, against the dysfunctional team that wisely drafted him but that ultimately bungled his contract situation. It would be fitting for the best three-game stretch of his career to end under the lights, but the Vikings are good enough to win even if Cousins reverts to Kurt.

Vikings 31, Redskins 10—Staff, Bleacher Report

We all have a lot of fun ribbing Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins for his inconsistent play and his problems in prime-time games, but that isn't enough for any of our analysts to get behind the dreadful Washington Redskins on the road on short rest Thursday night, even if Minnesota is giving Washington two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions.

It helps that Cousins has seemingly turned a corner. During Minnesota's current three-game winning streak, he's thrown 10 touchdown passes to one interception and has a passer rating of 142.6. Two of those performances came in what you might call "big games," with Cousins torching the Philadelphia Eagles (back when they had a winning record) and lighting up the division rival Detroit Lions on the road.

Maybe he's destined to come crashing back to earth with a hilarious stinker, but let's be real—that's much more likely to come next week in Kansas City or the following week in Dallas.

"There's plenty of potential for payback drama in this one, whether it's Case Keenum and Adrian Peterson against the Vikings or Cousins against the Redskins," Davenport said. "The thing is, only one of those players is in position to get revenge against his old team, and it isn't Peterson or Keenum. Cousins has been on fire of late, averaging over 325 yards over his past three games. Washington is also 27th in run defense, allowing over 130 yards per game. Dalvin Cook, Cousins and the Vikings roll."

Those Washington defensive issues could be problematic considering that Minnesota has been just as unstoppable on the ground. Cook leads the league in rushing yards and touchdowns, and the Vikes rank third in rushing as a team. The defense hasn't quite put it together yet, but that unit has a lot of expensive talent, and this might be the right place and right time against a Redskins offense that has averaged only 6.8 points per game over the last four weeks.

Bad teams were destroyed on Thursday Night Football when the Denver Broncos and New York Giants went up against superior opponents the past two weeks, and that also happened to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Giants in TNF games last year. Teams that finished 2018 with losing records were 1-6-1 ATS on Thursdays last season against teams that finished with winning records.

Stay away from bad teams on short rest on the road, especially against red-hot opponents.

Win Percentage: 74%, Average Score: Redskins 19.2, Vikings 28.1— FOX Sports

FiveThirtyEight's 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team's chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 88%—FiveThirtyEight.com

6 of 6 experts (two not posted yet) pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

7 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, USA TODAY Sports

10 of 10 experts pick the Vikings, SB Nation

9 of 11 experts (two not posted yet) pick the Vikings, ESPN

7 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB

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