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NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Road Underdogs at Saints

The Vikings (6-8) are nearly unanimous road underdogs against the Saints (10-4).

ESPN's Dan Graziano is the only national expert with a Norseman instead of a Fleur-de-lis under his or her name this week.

Minnesota will try to keep afloat its playoff hopes with a victory but still needs help.

New Orleans can clinch the NFC South for the fourth consecutive season, an impressive run that has followed three straight seasons of going 7-9 from 2014-16.

After dropping five of their first six games of 2020, the Vikings rallied to win five of the next six. Consecutive losses, however, means the best Minnesota can do is finish a weird and trying season at 8-8.

Here's a rundown of experts' predictions (plus scroll below for this week's playoff-clinching scenarios around the league):

Saints 27, Vikings 21 — Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

We are likely hitting the last few games of Drew Brees' career, a reality that has everyone around this Saints team tense coming off a two-game losing streak. Last week's version of Brees wasn't better than Taysom Hill, but the rust may come off against a pass rush-poor Vikings team. More importantly for this Christmas Day revenge game, Kirk Cousins' roller-coaster season looks primed to crash against a strong Saints front.

Saints 27, Vikings 17 — Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Saints have lost two straight games, but Drew Brees looked more like himself in the second half against the Chiefs. That will carry over here against a Vikings defense that doesn't rush the passer. Look for the Saints defense to get back on track as well. The Saints lost to the Vikings at home in the playoffs last year, but that won't be the case in this one. Saints take it.

Saints 26, Vikings 20 — Bill Bender, Sporting News

Be thankful for football on Christmas. The Vikings are in desperation mode after a loss to the Bears, but they are up against a Saints defense that ranks in the top against the run and pass. Drew Brees gets New Orleans back in the win column in a revenge game from last year's NFC Wild Card.

Saints 31, Vikings 17 — Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

The NFL's Christmas Day offering features a Vikings team that doesn't have much left to play for against a Saints team that's still fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. I don't see this one being close.

Saints 27, Vikings 23 — Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

The Saints won't have to worry about losing to the Vikings in this year's playoffs. The Saints will have to worry about losing to the Vikings on Christmas Day.

Look back on images from past games between the Vikings and the Saints.

Saints 31, Vikings 20 — Staff, Bleacher Report

The New Orleans Saints are coming off a rough performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, but quarterback Drew Brees was returning from a significant rib injury in Week 15. He's likely to be better acclimated for Friday's matchup with the down-and-out Minnesota Vikings at the Superdome.

Pre-game win probabilities: Saints 82% — FiveThirtyEight.com

5 of 5 experts pick the Saints (three had not submitted picks yet), CBS Sports

6 of 6 experts pick the Saints, The MMQB

7 of 7 experts pick the Saints, USA TODAY

8 of 9 experts pick the Saints, ESPN

As for clinching scenarios, this is what can happen this week:

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers NFC North division title

New Orleans Saintsplayoff berth_

Seattle Seahawks — playoff berth

What can happen in Week 16?

New Orleans Saints (10-4) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-8), Friday, 3:30 p.m. CT, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon

New Orleans clinches NFC South with:

1. New Orleans win OR

2. Tampa Bay loss OR

3. New Orleans tie and Tampa Bay tie

Arizona Cardinals (8-6) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-9), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CT, Amazon

Arizona clinches playoff berth with:

1. Arizona win and Chicago loss or tie OR

2. Arizona tie and Chicago loss

Green Bay Packers (11-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (10-4), Sunday, 7:20 p.m. CT, NBC

Green Bay clinches the first-round bye with:

1. Green Bay win and Seattle loss or tie OR

2. Green Bay tie and New Orleans loss or tie and Seattle loss or tie, as long as New Orleans and Seattle don't tie

Tennessee clinches AFC South with:

1. Tennessee win and Indianapolis loss

Tennessee clinches playoff berth with:

1. Tennessee win OR

2. Miami loss OR

3. Baltimore loss OR

4. Tennessee tie and Baltimore tie

Los Angeles Rams (9-5) at Seattle Seahawks (10-4), Sunday, 3:25 p.m. CT, FOX

Los Angeles clinches playoff berth with:

1. Los Angeles win or tie OR

2. Chicago loss or tie OR

3. Arizona win or tie

Seattle clinches NFC West with:

1. Seattle win

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) at Detroit Lions (5-9), Saturday, Noon CT, NFL Network

Tampa Bay clinches playoff berth with:

1. Tampa Bay win or tie OR

2. Chicago loss or tie

Washington Football Team (6-8) vs. Carolina Panthers (4-10), Sunday, 3:05 p.m. CT, CBS

Washington clinches NFC East with:

1. Washington win and New York Giants loss or tie OR

2. Washington tie and New York Giants loss and Philadelphia-Dallas tie

AFC

CLINCHED:

Buffalo Bills — AFC East division title

Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West division title

Pittsburgh Steelers – playoff berth

What can happen in Week 16?

Cleveland Browns (10-4) at New York Jets (1-13), Sunday, Noon CT, CBS

Cleveland clinches playoff berth with:​

1. Cleveland win and Baltimore loss or tie OR

2. Cleveland win and Miami loss or tie OR

3. Cleveland win and Indianapolis loss OR

4. Cleveland tie and Baltimore loss OR

5. Cleveland tie and Miami loss

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3), Sunday, Noon CT, CBS

Indianapolis clinches playoff berth with:

1. Indianapolis win and Baltimore loss or tie OR

2. Indianapolis win and Miami loss or tie OR

3. Indianapolis tie and Baltimore loss OR

4. Indianapolis tie and Miami loss

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North with:

1. Pittsburgh win OR

2. Cleveland loss OR

3. Pittsburgh tie and Cleveland tie

Kansas City Chiefs (13-1) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-10), Sunday, Noon CT, FOX

Kansas City first-round bye with:

1. Kansas City win or tie OR

2. Pittsburgh loss or tie OR

3. Buffalo loss or tie OR

4. Kansas City clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over Pittsburgh or Buffalo AND clinches at least a tie in strength of victory over the other club

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