Advertising

NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Return Home to Host the Bills

Minnesota takes on the Buffalo Bills (0-2) who have lost their first two games by double digits.

Buffalo lost 47-3 during Week 1 in Baltimore against the Ravens and surrendered a 31-20 defeat at home against the Los Angeles Chargers during Week 2.

Rookie quarterback Josh Allen will start his second career game on Sunday after he threw for 245 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against the Bolts. Allen also played in relief against the Ravens.

Let’s see what is expected from the Vikings in their Week 3 matchup:

1 p.m. ET (CBS) | U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)

This just looks ugly on paper. And it probably will on the field, too. Who knows, maybe the Bills will force two quick turnovers, one being a scoop-and-score, and go up 13-0 or 17-0. Or maybe (probably) Josh Allen's protection will break down in 2.3 seconds, and the Buffalo rookie will get sacked five times and hit a dozen others. Here's what I know: This is an awful matchup for a Bills team that has offensive line woes. If Buffalo can't establish the run again (83 yards in Week 1, 84 in Week 2), they're done. Look for Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer to play the long game, allowing the better roster to prevail without taking unnecessary risks offensively. Essentially, he won't give a turnover-starved defense any freebies.

Vikings 34, Bills 9 - Elliot Harrison NFL.com

At this time, we invite the public to make its own “retire at halftime” jokes. Chances are excellent they’ll be appropriate. The Bills’ players are not very good, but at least they’re poorly coached. Josh Allen deserves better than this for his second NFL start, and Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs and the Vikings offense should have their way. The home team will not only be salty after tying its arch-rival last week, but it will be buoyed by having a professional kicker, ex-Cowboy Dan Bailey.

Vikings 38, Bills 16 - David Steele, Sporting News

Only two games all of last season contained point spreads of 17 or higher, which is why it's fair to be leery of the 17 points the Minnesota Vikings are laying Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

That line is certainly susceptible to a backdoor, garbage-time cover from the underdog, but it's worth noting that the NFL's last five 17-point faves have all covered, dating back to 2011.

Gagnon and Davenport believe a Bills team that has been outscored 78-23 this season is in for a blowout loss, and that this is one of those cases in which Vegas just couldn't post a high enough number.

"This is a massive spread, the sort of spread I'm usually reluctant to lay," Davenport said. "Counting on 17-point victories in the NFL just isn't wise. Unless, that is, you have an angry Minnesota team seething after blowing a potential win at Lambeau coming home to feast on a Bills team so bad its players are retiring at
halftime."

Indeed, the Bills will be without freshly retired cornerback Vontae Davis, and they'll be putting all of their stock into raw rookie quarterback Josh Allen against 2017's highest-rated defense.

Still, our top picker isn't willing to lay that many points.

"The Bills are the NFL's worst team," Sobleski said. "The Vikings are one of the league's best. Minnesota is hosting this contest. Everything says a 17-spread isn't big enough. Eventually, Buffalo is going to beat the spread. It's highly unlikely they'll win, of course, but it's hard to bet against a team—even one as bad as Buffalo—when they're getting so many points."

Fair enough, but the vote still favors Minnesota.

Vikings 34, Bills 14 - Bleacher Report Staff

This should be the easiest pick on the board. The Bills just aren’t competitive.

Vikings 30, Bills 10 - Michael David Smith Pro Football Talk

Vegas is daring you to take the Vikings giving 16.5 points. But the home team was too distracted by the aftermath of the Week Two tie, and they surely aren’t taking the bumbling Bills as seriously as they should. While the Bills won’t win, they’ll cover. Barely.

Vikings 35, Bills 20 - Mike Florio Pro Football Talk

This will be the first road start for Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen. He did some good things last week in his first start at home, but this is a major test. It won't be pretty behind his line. The Bills are also bad on defense. The Vikings win in a blowout.

Vikings 37, Bills 10 - Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 78 percent, FiveThirtyEight

5 of 5 experts picked the Vikings, USA TODAY

8 of 9 experts picked the Vikings, SB Nation

8 of 8 experts picked the Vikings, CBS Sports

10 of 10 experts picked the Vikings, ESPN

Advertising